Tag Archives: Mandarin

Shuqin Huang – Hua Hun aka A Soul Haunted by Painting (1995)

Based on the true story of a Chinese painter, Pan Yuliang (Gong Li), whose work was celebrated in Paris yet rejected at home. At fifteen years old, she was sold into prostitution. Her life changes when she marries a high official. Through her husband, she finds expression in western painting, and furthers her studies in Paris. Although highly respected in Paris, it wasn’t until after her death that she received the acceptance at home she so desperately sought. The film is directed by Huang Shuqin, a woman director famous for highlighting the influence of tradition on gender issues. Read More »

Xiaoning Feng – Hong he gu aka Red River Valley (1996)

Synopsis
Very much a celebration of Chinese solidarity in the face of the return of Hong Kong to their control, this costume drama begins at the turn of the century as a virginal Chinese girl flees via a raging river from being sacrificed in a religious ceremony. When she emerges, she is in Tibet where she becomes part of a local community. At the same time, a Scottish explorer and his British interpreter enter the same area and are saved from execution by a Tibetan horseman who takes them back to his tribe. Read More »

Yue Lü – Mei ren cao AKA The Foliage [+Extras] (2003)

In the summer of 1974, Xing-Yu (Shu Qi) meets and falls in love with a rebel, Si-Mong. A member of the Chinese People’s Army, her comrades immediately frown on their relationship. Her leader and childhood sweetheart, Yuan, then enlists her in a plan to betray Si-Mong in exchange for a discharge so she may return home to care for her sick father. Will Xing-Yu choose country and politics over love? Read More »

Fruit Chan – Mou sha si shui nian hua AKA Kill Time (2016)

After the death of her policeman father, Xiaomai (Angelababy) begins to look over his old journals filled with notes about the cases he investigated over the years. The mention of a purple scarf in the notes particularly catches her attention, prompting her to purchase a similar scarf from a mysterious website that claims to sell everything, as long as one can pay the price. Soon after, Xiaomai’s close friend (Rayza) is found dead, strangled by a purple scarf. All of this awakens Xiaomai’s memories of her childhood sweetheart Qiushou (Ethan Juan), whose mother was also strangled to death with a purple scarf by an unknown killer. Xiaomai and Qiushou grew up together and fell in love, but he suddenly disappeared from her life 15 years ago without a word. She begins to believe that Qiushou has returned and may be seeking revenge. Read More »

Yinan Diao – Zhifu aka Uniform (2003)

Quote:
Economic unrest roils central China’s Shaanxi Province: local factories are merging, thugs threaten managers, personnel records get lost, and workers are without protections such as health insurance. The police and much of society are surly. Xiao Jian, a mild young man whose father is ill, works in the family street stall doing pressing and tailoring. A laundered police-officer’s shirt goes uncollected, and Xiao Jian puts it on: it opens doors. Wearing it, he chats up a clerk, Zheng Shasha, and takes her out. He extracts fines from drivers who violate traffic laws. In these tough times, he’s not the only one with two identities. How long can he sustain it? Read More »

Xiaowen Zhou – Ermo (1994)

In the course of cinematic history, there have been many great quests: searches for the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, the true nature of Humankind, the essence of God, and, during this film from Chinese director Zhou Xiaowen, a 29-inch television. In Ermo, a somewhat better- constructed cousin to Zhang Yimou’s The Story of Qui Ju, we follow the obsessive struggle of one woman (Alia) to earn the money to buy the biggest television in her village. There’s no sacrifice she won’t make, an attitude that her aging, impotent husband (Ge Zhijun) is incapable of understanding. In his view, money is for building houses, not buying gadgets. Read More »

Wenguang Wu – Jiang Hu: Life on the Road (1999)

Synopsis

Jiang Hu features “Yuan Da” (Far and Wide), an amateur entertainment troupe that roams the countryside around Beijing and neighboring provinces, providing corny programs to local people. The film is full of socio-ethnographic information, as the camera witnesses the routine operations of the troupe and its members’ interactions. Sometimes tension is revealed when members confess to Wu their worries and complaints in a hushed voice. Read More »