西洋镜 | Shadow Magic

Shadow Magic

Director Ann Hu’s arthouse drama tells the story of Raymond, an itinerant Englishman who is the first to bring motion pictures to China. While conservatives frown upon the Western invention, the images are a marvel to peasants and royalty alike. Raymond’s hand-cranked projector casts images that all at once threaten and amaze the Chinese audience, many of whom have a difficult time reconciling technology and tradition.

Directed by Ann Hu | Starring : Yu Xia, Jared Harris, Peiqi Liu, Liping Lü, Yufei Xing | Presented at Toronto Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival

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炮打双灯 | Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker

Red Firecracker

Nie Bao played by Wu Gang is a poor painter who finds work in the house of the Cai family, whose wealth is built on the making of firecrackers. On her parents’ demise, Chun Zhi, the daughter, takes over the business. Raised as a man to effectively run the family business, Chun Zhi falls in love with Nie Bao, and faces for the first time, new sexual desires within her. However, their love is against all odds, and leads up to a dramatic end where Nie Bao is challenged to demonstrate his love for her in an explosive contest.

Directed by Ping He | Starring : Jing Ning, Gang Wu, Xiaorui Zhao, Yang Gao, Liang Zhao | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival

红高粱 | Red Sorghum

Red Sorghum

Won Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. A stunning visual achievement, this new wave Chinese film succeeds on many levels–as an ode to the color red, as dark comedy, and as a sweeping epic with fairy tale overtones. Set in rural China in the 1920s, during the period of the Japanese invasion. The sorghum plot nearby is a symbolic playing field in the movie’s most stunning scenes. Here, people make love, murder, betray, and commit acts of bravery, all under the watchful eye of nature. Based on a novel by Mo Yan 莫言, Red Sorghum is Zhang Yimou’s directorial debut. An anonymous narrator tells the story of his grandmother, a bride-to-be in an arranged wedding with an aging leprous winemaker, and his grandfather, who was one of the sedan-chair bearers escorting her to her wedding. Along the way, a bandit forces her out of the sedan chair, and the two exchange looks after he saves her. The pair is re-united following the winemaker’s untimely death, whereupon they assemble the old winemaking crew. They endure travails with banditry, pestilence, war with the Japanese and the ongoing process of making good sorghum wine.

Directed by Yimou Zhang | Starring : Li Gong, Wen Jiang, Rujun Ten, Chun Hua Ji, Jia Zhaoji | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, New York Film Festival