China

Ziniu Wu – Huo hu AKA Sparkling Fox (1994)

In this metaphysical adventure two very different men come to the same mountain to hunt a special fox and end up hunting each other. Read More »

Muzhi Yuan – Ma lu tian shi AKA Street Angel (1937)

In old Shanghai, two sisters, a prostitute and a singer, tried to escape from the local scoundrels with the help of a trumpet player and a newspaper seller. Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Wo de fu qin mu qin AKA The Road Home (1999)

Plot: Prompted by the death of his father and the grief of his mother, a man recalls the story of how they met in flashback. Read More »

Ziniu Wu – Wan zhong AKA Evening Bell (1989)

Five Eighth-Route army soldiers induce a isolated Japanese squad to capitulate.

Set on the end of WWII, Evening Bell follows a battle-hardened band of five Chinese soldiers struggling across a remote landscape wracked by post-armistice horrors. Stumbling from one grim aftermath to the next, they bury piles of the dead, help terrified peasants disarm landmines and save a Japanese officer from dying of exposure. When the officer leads them to a detachment of thirty-three starving Japanese soldiers, the film becomes a tension-filled standoff. In his films Wu Ziniu attempts to lead audiences below the surface of war to focus on human relationships instead of ideology. Needless to day, his approach to this genre has brought him criticism within China. (His third feature Dove Tree, about the Chinese-Vietnamese Border war, is still banned for its sympathetic treatment of the enemy.) Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Qiu Ju da guan si AKA The Story Of Qiu Ju (1992)

The Story of Qiu Ju (Chinese: 秋菊打官司) is a 1992 Chinese comedy-drama film. The film was directed by Zhang Yimou and, as in many of his films, stars Gong Li in the title role. The screenplay is an adaption of Chen Yuanbin’s novella The Wan Family’s Lawsuit.

The film tells the story of a peasant woman, Qiu Ju, who lives in a rural area of China. When her husband is kicked in the groin by the village head, Qiu Ju, despite her pregnancy, travels to a nearby town, and later a big city to deal with its bureaucrats and find justice. Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Xuan ya zhi shang AKA Cliff Walkers AKA Impasse (2021)

In the 1930’s, four Chinese spies, Chuilang (Zhu Yawen), Lan (Liu Haocun), Zhang (Zhang Yi) and Yu (Quin Hailu) infiltrate Manchukuo, a puppet state of the Empire of Japan located in China. The Japanese had bombed an internment camp in Manchukuo to cover-up the existence of the camp. The four spies’ mission is to rescue a surviving prisoner who was held at an internment camp in hopes of exposing the truth around the world. Read More »

Yimou Zhang – San qiang pai an jing qi AKA A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009)

Synopsis
Wang runs a little noodle shop in a small desert town near Jiayu Pass not far from the Great Wall. He lives in his shop with his wife and their staff. But life with Wang is far from pleasant: he’s a real skinflint who only thinks about himself, and he sometimes doesn’t pay his staff for months on end. His wife also suffers at the hands of this domestic tyrant, although a discrete affair with Li, the shy cook, helps her to bear her lot in life. Every time she needs some more rouge, Li drives his boss lady into town where they have sex. But their regular little tryst doesn’t go unnoticed. Shortly beforehand, Li’s lover purchases a gun from a Persian carpet salesman and gives it to the cook for safekeeping. Wang, she says, must die – it’s the only way they can be happy. In the meantime, a waiter named Zhao and a policeman named Zhang inform Wang about his wife’s love affair and the gun that Li keeps hidden. Read More »