A man rides home through a war-ridden city. A letter waits for him at home. It’s a letter written by a woman before her death. In it, she tells him that she loves him, a lifelong passion that hasn’t lessened with time, but of which he knew nothing. She recounts their short but passionate young love – to him, simply one more brief romance among many; the difficulties she had in raising their child; and their final meeting, at which he didn’t recognize her. Now that she has lost her son (the only thread linking her to the man she loved), she no longer has the strength to live on… Shaken by the letter, the man searches his memory for the nameless woman.
Directed by Jinglei Xu | Starring : Jinglei Xu, Wen Jiang, Feihu Sun, Xiaoming Su, Jue Huang | Presented at San Sebastian Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival
After Xiao Yu’s mother died in an accident, she moved back to live with her birth father who she knows little about. Gradually, they grew to know each other and to accept each other for who they are. They share the unconditional love between a daughter and a father through their happiness and their difficulties.
Directed by Jinglei Xu | Starring : Jinglei Xu, Daying Ye, Xiaoming Su, Qiu Qiu, Yuan Zhang| Presented at Toronto Film Festival
“Change has wiped out my memories. I can’t tell what’s imagined from what’s real” One central obsession, time, preoccupies all of the greatest Chinese language films of the ‘90s. Each of these films in some way makes the most radical demands on our experience of temporality, exposes the ideological underpinnings of our preconceptions about time, and insists on a vision of breathtaking, liberating alternatives. Although it played in a few film festivals, In the Heat of the Sun remains largely unknown outside of China. Jiang Wen and writer Wang Shuo (the cynical “bad boy” of new Chinese literature) collaborated on this 1994 feature about coming-of-age in 1970s Beijing. A cast made up largely of young teenagers portrays what it might have been like to be young, privileged, and completely unfettered in a Beijing largely depopulated of adult authority figures by Mao’s Cultural Revolution. The film’s politics, though, are implied — mere shadows on its margins. Jiang’s camera, wandering at will through space, and tracking and backtracking through time, embodies an absolute freedom just out of reach of the film’s principals. Ostensibly a nostalgia film about the Cultural Revolution’s “good old days”, this film is much more: a self-consciously post-modern, post-“fifth generation” dismantling of the modern Chinese realist film; an ironic, romance-drenched interrogation of the possibility of eros and passion in a totalitarian era; and a meditation on the traps and opportunities afforded by creative mis-remembering.
Directed by Wen Jiang | Starring : Yu Xia, Wen Jiang, Geng Le, Jing Ning, Xueqi Wang | Presented at Venice Film Festival
Beijing Bastards is a 1993 drama film by sixth generation director Zhang Yuan, and is one of the first independently produced Chinese films. A rock musician looks for his girl-friend who left while pregnant, trying to decide whether to keep the baby.
Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Jian Cui, Li Wei, Feihong Yu, Lala Wu, Yong Er| Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Munich Film Festival