Yi’nan Diao – Bai ri yan huo AKA Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014)

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Northern China, 1999. The grisly discovery of several corpses is made in a small town. A bloody incident during the attempt to capture the alleged murderer leaves two police officers dead and another badly injured. The surviving officer Zhang Zili is suspended from duty; he takes a job as a security guard at a factory. Five years later, another series of mysterious murders occurs. Aided by a former colleague, Zhang decides to investigate under his own initiative. He discovers that all the victims were connected to Wu Zhizhen, a young woman who works at a dry cleaners. Pretending to be a customer, Zhang begins to observe her and finds himself falling in love with the reticent Wu Zhizhen. One cold winter’s day he makes a horrific discovery. His life now in danger, he realises it is not always possible to separate guilt from innocence. Diao Yinan’s use of the characters of the ex-police officer and the femme fatale is a direct reference to classic detective films. This director’s third feature is a noirish thriller in drained colours which, whilst playfully alluding to the genre, also invites us into the lives of very ordinary people. (-berlinale.de) Continue reading

Yinan Diao – Ye che aka Night Train (2007)

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From DVD distributor trigon-film:

Wu Hongyan, woman executioner in her thirties, works at the court in the province of Shaanxi in China, where she executes women condemned to death only. In spite of her macabre job, Wu Hongyan travels every weekend to a town nearby to join parties organized by a marriage bureau. The result of her dating is mediocre, until she meets the mysterious Li Jun. But she is thousands of miles away of imagining that Li Jun’s wife is the last of the women she executed. Electrifying! Continue reading