有种 | Beijing Flickers

Beijing Flickers

Beijing is happening these days, but not everyone is living the golden life. Dumped, fired, evicted and abandoned by everyone (including his dog), a down-on-his-luck man finds solace with a circle of equally ill-fated friends, in this touching and lighthearted drama from independent Chinese auteur Zhang Yuan.

Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Zinuo Wang, Xiaofeng Li, Yulai Lu, Bowen Duan, Wenwen Han | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Miami Film Festival

达达 | Dada’s Dance

Dada's Dance

After her mother’s lecherous boyfriend reveals she’s adopted, incorrigible flirt Dada (Xinyun Li) skips town — with hopelessly smitten boy-next-door Zhou (Xiaofeng Li) in tow — in search of her birth mother. Framed by a coming-of-age narrative, director Zhang Yuan’s dreamy, sensual film is an evocative reflection on love, youth and disaffectation in contemporary society.

Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Xiaofeng Li, Ke Gai, Yi Liu, Tao Zhao, Qiang Chen | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, Febio Film Festival

看上去很美 | Little Red Flowers

Little Red Flowers

Qiang is a four-year-old little rebel, possessed of a pair of luminous eyes and a precociously indomitable will. His father deposits him at a well-appointed residential kindergarten in post-1949 Beijing, since his parents are often away. Life at the kindergarten appears rich and colourful, made up of a variety of cheerfully sunny rituals and games meant to train these children to be good members of society. But it’s not so easy for Qiang to adapt to this kind of carefully organized, minutely scrutinized collective life. A fierce individualist in miniature, he tries but fails to conform to the model his teachers enforce. Yet he still craves the reward that the other students win: the little red flowers awarded each day as tokens for good behaviour. But Qiang doesn’t win any flowers: he can’t yet dress himself, and doesn’t play together with the other kids. He even dares to talk back to the strict Teacher Li and Principal Kong when they try to impose some discipline on him. Gradually, his charisma and bravado start to win over his classmates: their stealthy little rebellions gain steam when he succeeds in convincing everyone that Teacher Li is a child-eating monster in disguise. When their attempt to capture her is thwarted, Qiang’s resistance develops a more disturbing dimension, and he is forcibly ostracized from his companions. Will he succumb to the adult-enforced conformity around him, or will he insist on growing up his own way, by his own rules?

Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Bowen Dong, Yuanyuan Ning, Zhao Rui, Xiaofeng Li, Chen Manyuan | Presented at Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Marrakech Film Festival, Espoo Film Festival

我和爸爸 | My Father and I

My Father and I

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

绿茶 | Green Tea

Green Tea

Wu Fang, a bookish graduate student, goes on blind dates, engaging in conversation while sipping on her signature drink: green tea. She claims she does this to find a suitable husband, but her dates seem to be more of a time killer than anything else. She frequently ditches her blind dates halfway, and spends most of her date time relating the tale of her friend’s parents. Chen Mingliang is a fast talking rascal who, after a blind date, manages to break through her reserve. Soon Mingliang encounters sultry lounge pianist Lang Lang, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Wu Fang.

Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Wei Zhao, Wen Jiang, Lijun Fang, Haizhen Wang, Yuan Zhang | Presented at Hamburg Film Festival

我爱你 | I Love You

I Love You

This story is based on a novel by Wang Shuo. A young couple have got together from first meet to marriage. DaoJi, she is very sensitive to her feeling and filled with aspiration to succeed and love…after honeymoon, they begin to go shopping at an agricultural market with basket as others. Jealousy, arguments are a relief of tedium in their insipid life. Conflicts, run away and frenzy are only ripples in dead pond.

Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Jinglei Xu, Dawei Tong, Xuebing Wang, Peng Du, Juan Pan | Presented at Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Fribourg Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

过年回家 | Seventeen Years

Seventeen Years

A modest family is destined for tragedy due to the tense rivalry between two teenage stepsisters. In a fit of rage, Tao Lan accidentally kills her stepsister. Seventeen years later, she is part of the inmates selected for a furlough during the brief New Year holiday. Chen Jie, a young female guard notices that Tao Lan stays behind and does not seem to wish to go out. She escorts the solitary Tao Lan, now a stranger to life outside prison, to her old neighborhood. Tao Lan’s house has long been demolished due to wild demolitions and new constructions in Tianjin. Late in the evening, the two women arrive at the new home of Tao Lan’s aged parents, and Chen Jie witnesses the fragile emotional exchanges of a painful family reunion…

Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Lin Liu, Bingbing Li, Yeding Li, Song Liang, Yun Li | Presented at Venice Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Gijón Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Jakarta Film Festival, Fajr Film Festival

东宫西宫 | East Palace, West Palace

East Palace West Palace

The most daring and achieved of all the ‘illegal’ independent films made in China in the ’90s – and quite probably the last, since it prompted the Film Bureau to formally outlaw unauthorised production and confiscate the directors Zhang Yuan’s passport. The street urinals of a public park in the Chinese capital have become the favoured meeting point for homosexuals. A Lan, a sensitive young writer, likes strolling in the park. During a police raid, he finds himself at headquarters suffering a ft by the book ” interrogation. The questioning of A Lan quickly transforms into an unexpected reminiscence of his tumultuous life: his childhood, parents, school, first sexual experience, obligatory state work in the countryside, and then, a slow drift into the quest for true love. These brief intimate glimpses of A Lan’s life blur the interrogating officer’s feelings for his prisoner. A strange love story unfolds.

Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Si Han, Jun Hu, Jing Ye, Wei Zhao | Presented at Mar del Plata Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, Febio Film Festival

北京杂种 | Beijing Bastards

Beijing Bastards

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

妈妈 | Mama


The film focuses on a librarian struggling to raise her mentally handicapped son in modern day Beijing while at the same time dealing with an absent and unresponsive husband. The story garnered much criticism from state-censors, who found the film too dark. While the film was originally written to end on the dour note of the mother euthanizing her son, director Zhang Yuan eventually opted for a more open-ended and ambiguous conclusion.

Directed by Yuan Zhang | Starring : Qing Yan, Xiaodan Yang | Presented at Nantes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Venice Film Festival