China

Chi Zhang – Dixia de tiankong aka The Shaft (2008)

In a poor mining town in western China, stories of a father and his two children intertwine. The misfortunes of son and daughter alike unravel to illuminate the complicated relationships masked by their community’s hard exterior. Read More »

Yigong Wu & Yonggang Wu – Ba Shan Ye Yu aka Evening Rain (1980)

This film had a deep influence upon China in the 1980s, as it was beginning to come to terms with the Cultural Revolution.

Quote:
Evening Rain, a feature film co-directed by Wu Yonggang and Wu Yigong, is about the years of the Cultural Revolution. Qiu Shi, a well-known poet, is wronged during that political movement. He is aboard a passenger ship bound for Chongqing from Wuhan under the guard of a young man and a young woman. In the third-class cabin, there is a village girl who has sold herself to repay her family debt, a woman teacher who speaks out from a sense of justice, an old actor who has had a full taste of suffering, an old woman who is on her way to commemorate her son killed in the violent factional struggle, and a righteous young worker. Read More »

Yang Zhang – Pi sheng shang de hun AKA Soul on a String (2016)

A slow-simmering, Western-style action drama of blood feud, misfired machismo, and spiritual quest spread across Tibet’s rolling steppes and scorching deserts, “Soul on a String” follows the travails of a hunter led by fate to deliver a sacred stone to a mythic mountain despite motley foes at his heels. Chinese director Zhang Yang (“Shower,” “Sunflower”) eschews the thrill of propulsive duels for a discursive allegorical approach, serving up picturesque visuals, highland-dry humor, and karmic plot twists. While the nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time is sure to hamper theatrical release prospects, Zhang’s quirky blend of genre and art-house elements should ensure considerable fest play. Read More »

Bailu Feng – Bai yi zhan shi AKA Soldier in White (1949)

A heroic People’s Liberation Army nurse continues caring for wounded and getting them safely to hospital even though she has been wounded. Read More »

Xiaolu Guo – Jintian De Yu Zenme Yang ? AKA How Is Your Fish Today ? (2006)

A young man in southern China has killed his lover. He starts a lonely escape across the whole country towards his land of wonder, a snowy village at the northern border. Sitting at his desk in Beijing, a scriptwriter is writing that man’s story. It is through his characters that his life gains its weight, meaning and freedom. His imagination blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction. The snowy village lies on the quiet border between China and Russia. Old villagers fish under the ice, school children study English text about America. They endure the long winter nights waiting for the sun to come back… Read More »

Peter Chan – Tau ming chong aka The Warlords (2007)

The film is set in the 1860s, during the Taiping Rebellion in the late Qing Dynasty in China. The story, based on an unresolved crime in 1870, tells of three sworn brothers (played by Andy Lau, Jet Li and Takeshi Kaneshiro) who are forced to turn against one another due to the harsh realities of war and political intrigue. Read More »

Ji Huang – Jidan he shitou AKA Egg and Stone (2012)

Icarus Films wrote:
Huang Ji’s brave personal film is one of the most auspicious debuts in recent Chinese cinema. Set in her home village in rural Hunan province, Egg and Stone is a powerful autobiographical portrait of a 14-year-old girl’s attempts to come to terms with her emerging sexual maturity. Since her parents moved to the city to work, she has been forced to live with her uncle and aunt for seven years. Alone with her own inchoate fears and desires, she grapples with a terrifying world of sexual awakening and danger. Huang Ji’s visual sophistication, narrative fluency, and technical polish belie her youth. Cinematographer Ryuji Otsuka (also the film’s producer and editor) contributes beautifully crafted cinematic images, fearfully intimate, softly pulsing with light, saturated with complex emotional power. Read More »