Wind

随风飘散 Suí Fēng Piāo Sàn (Lost in the Wind)

by Dadren Wanggyal, 2020, running time 96'.

 

Screenplay: Medok, Danba Darjee, Tsering Thar

Photography: Liu Qibing

Editing: Hao Shaogang

Music: Wang Yuxiang

Production: Xu Chuantong, Xie Li

Starring: Tsering Drolma, Sonam Wangmo, Genden Phuntsok, Wondrok Tso, Gikshak Tsering, Tsewang Lhatso.

A gritty feminist tale that sees a single mother and her strong-willed daughter struggle for survival and dignity in a Tibetan village dominated by atavistic patriarchal traditions. Awarded Best First Feature at the 2021 Golden Rooster.

Presented as a world premiere at the Busan Film Festival and awarded the Golden Rooster for Best Debut Feature, Dandren Wanggyal's Wind is based on the novel “The Bastard Child Gelak” by Tibetan writer Alai. Shot under difficult climatic conditions in a high mountain Tibetan village, the film tells the story of Gelak, the teenage daughter of Samdan, an unwed mother. The two women live miserably, mainly on  the offerings granted by local men in return for the woman’s favours, but they suffer continuous discrimination, humiliation and injustice. However the girl proves to have a plucky and strong-willed character, she rebels against archaic rules and prejudices; she wants to free herself from men’s economic dependence and tutelage, and claiming her autonomy refuses the suggestion of looking for a husband. Supported by the indomitable acting performance of young Tsering Drolma as Gelak, Dandren Wanggyal's debut is a courageous and touching feminist tale.

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DADREN WANGGYAL

Tibetan Dandren Wanggyal, a graduate of China Media University, worked for six years as a journalist for a TV station and enrolled in the Beijing Film Institute in 2007 to prepare for directing. His debut feature film Wind (2020) won him the Golden Rooster for Best Debut. He is currently working on the post-production of his second film, A Summer for Wangmo.

FILMOGRAPHY

Wind (2020).

 
 
 

The Last Emperor

末代皇帝 Mò Dài Huáng Dì

by Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987, running time 163'.

 

Screenplay: Bernardo Bertolucci, Mark Peploe, Enzo Ungari

Photography: Vittorio Storaro

Editing: Gabriella Cristiani

Music: Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne, Cong Su

Producer: Jeremy Thomas

Starring: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ying Ruocheng, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Ryuichi Sakamoto

Maestro Bernardo Bertolucci's epic masterpiece presented on the 35th anniversary of its premiere. An unforgettable historical fresco of powerful melodramatic inspiration centred on Pu Yi, the last emperor of China. Winner of 9 Academy Awards.

 

When he is chosen by the Empress Dowager as the new imperial ruler of China, Pu Yi is only three years old and, after his initial astonishment at the majestic splendour of the palace in which he is forced to live, his only wish is to return home... Thus opens the epic and overwhelming story that Bernardo Bertolucci based on the autobiography of the last Chinese emperor Pu Yi, “From Emperor to Citizen”. A work of great historical outlook, at the same time, centred on the irony and tragedy of an exceptional individual destiny. A film that made history as the first Western production officially allowed by the People's Republic authorities to shoot inside the Forbidden City. An international co-production effort that won no less than 9 Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Director for Maestro Bertolucci. A masterpiece that marked a new season of openness and mutual interest between China and the West, which is re-proposed, in 35 mm, exactly 35 years after its Italian premiere.

 

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BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI

Bernardo Bertolucci (Parma 1941 - Rome 2018) was one of the most important and acclaimed directors in the history of Italian cinema. He made his debut in 1962 with The Grim Reaper, from a screenplay by Pier Paolo Pasolini. With works such as Before the Revolution (1964), The Conformist (1970), Last Tango in Paris (1972) and 1900 (1976) he received great international critical acclaim and with The Last Emperor (1987) he became the first Italian director to win an Oscar as Best Director. His last feature film was Me and You (2012).

 

FILMOGRAPHY

The Grim Reaper (1962), Before the Revolution (1964), Partner (1968), Love and Anger (episode Agony, 1969), The Conformist (1970), The Spider's Stratagem (1970), Last Tango in Paris (1972), 1900 (1976), Luna (1979), The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (1981), The Last Emperor (1987), Sheltering Sky (1990), Little Buddha (1993), Stealing Beauty (1996), Besieged (1998), Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (segment “Histoire d'eaux”, 2002) The Dreamers (2003) Me and You (2012).

 

Karma

日夜江河 Rì Yè Jiāng Hé (River Day and Night)

by Zheng Peike, 2021, running time 93'.

European Premiere

 

Screenplay: Zheng Peike, Yi Chen

Photography: Tian Bo

Editing: Matthieu Laclau, Tom Hsinming Lin

Music: Hsu Chihyuan

Producer: Yi Chen

Starring: Liao Yufeng, Zou Tao, Feng Jiamei

 

A waterman sees his son and the captain of his boat die in a work accident. He inherits the barge and has to drive it together with the captain's son. An intense debut between grieving process and unexpected turns of life.

 

After losing his son in a work accident while sailing on the Yangtse River, Xu Daliang, by way of compensation, becomes the new owner of the barge he has been working on. However, he also has to take care of Ma Dongshan, the son of the former captain, who also died in that accident. The boy takes up his employment as a deckhand and pursues the search for his father's body, which has not yet resurfaced from the river. In Zheng Peike's intriguing feature-length debut, these two characters embark on a journey that is both real and metaphorical, lifting anchor from a harbour of mutual resentment to a new destination of possible mutual understanding. Set in the 1990s, Karma was filmed in Nanchong, Sichuan and is acted in the local dialect. The intense Zou Tao was awarded Best Actor at the Pingyao Festival.

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ZHENG PEIKE

Zheng Peike, a graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, filmed his first feature film Karma, of which he is also co-writer, in 2021 after his initial experiences in short films. The film had its world premiere at the Pingyao Film Festival.

 

FILMOGRAPHY

Karma (2021).

One and Four

一个和四个 Yí Gè Hé Sì Ge

by Jigme Trinley, 2021, running time 88'.

European Premiere

 

Screenplay: Jigme Trinley, from the novel by Jamyang Tsering

Photography: Lü Songye

Editing: Jin Di. Music: Ding Ke

Producer: Pema Tseden, Wang Lei

Starring: Jinpa, Wang Zheng, Kunde, Darggye Tenzin, Tsemdo

Who is the poacher? Who is the policeman? Who helped the poacher? A Tibetan gamekeeper is confronted with a lethal enigma in a taut Tarantino style debut. A breathtaking thriller that captivates and surprises, set against the backdrop of a snowy forest.

Early morning, a mountain cabin in the snowy forest. Gamekeeper Sanggye, possibly coming off a bender, seems almost a stranger to his working place, guarding the territory and defending it from poaching. His solitude is interrupted by an unexpected visitor: a bloodied and wounded man who claims to be a gamekeeper on the trail of a dangerous poacher. Doubt creeps into Sanggye and the viewer: is Is this man really who he claims to be? The mystery will deepen over the course of an increasingly tense and dangerous day, in a story that racks up cinephile suggestions from Kurosawa to Tarantino, revisited in a Tibetan context.

Debutant Jingme Trinley, son of director Pema Tseden (who produces here), adapts a novel by writer Jamyang Tsering, achieving a thriller that is surprising for its control of mise-en-scene, dramaturgical timing and an acting which constantly plays on the brink of deceit. A revelation signalling a talent to be watched, rewarded at the prestigious Chinese independent film festival First 2021, where One and Four was crowned Best Film and awarded Best Director and the excellent Jinpa was assessed  Best Performance for the role of Sanggye. A European premiere, enhancing the programme of the “FanHua Chinese Film Festival”, second edition.

 

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JIGME TRINLEY

Jingme Trinley is the son of Pema Tseden, Tibet's most acclaimed filmmaker. He studied at the Beijing Film Academy. He has worked on the set of Mr. Six (2015) by Guan Hu and of Balloon (2019) by Pema Tseden. He made his debut with One and Four at only 24 years of age. The film made its world premiere at the Tokyo Film Festival 2021.

 

FILMOGRAPHY

One and Four (2021).

 

The Chanting Willows

柳浪闻莺 Liǔ Làng Wén Yīng

by Dai Wei, 2021, running time 106'.

European Premiere

 

Screenplay: Dai Wei, Meng Wenjing, Wang Xufeng

Photography: Sha Jincheng

Editing: Di Jin, Liu Xinzhu

Music: Dong Yingda

Producers: Cheng Qingsong, Sheng Yanhong

Starring: Wang Yang, Kan Xin, Zheng Yunlong, Awang Renqing, Hai Tong

The delicate shifting of feelings in a variable triangle between two opera singers and a fan painter, against the backdrop of the 1990s. A refined work that places feminine emotions at its centre.

Director Dai Wei's fourth feature film, The Chanting Willows offers a sentimental story set in a humid 1990s summer - The film is shot in 1.33 : 1, typical format of silent films, on the picturesque shores of a lake in Hangzhou's Liulang Wenying Park (to which the original Chinese title refers). Based on the novel “Orioles Singing in the Willows” by Wang Xufeng, The Chanting Willows recounts with deliberate compositional elegance the progressive changes in the relationship between Xin Yin and Tiao Chui, two girls from the Jiangnan Yue Opera troupe, inseparable friends since their childhood. When the young fan painter Gong Yushan enters their lives, generating passion in both of them, the harmony of their deep relationship breaks down. However, this crisis will lead to an awareness of the importance of their common past. A refined and sensitive female drama.

 

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DAI WEI

Dai Wei is a Harbin-born film director and producer who studied at the Media and Communication University of China and earned a master's degree at the Beijing Film Academy. She also took courses at the University of Los Angeles and in Hawaii. She has worked in television and music, organising various events. In 2006, she produced and directed her first film Ganglamedo, which is also the first Tibetan musical. Her most recent film The Chanting Willows was presented in Competition at the Shanghai Film Festival 2021.

 

FILMOGRAPHY

Ganglamedo (2006), Once Upon a Time in Tibet (2010), Once again (2017), The Chanting Willows (2021).

 

B For Busy

爱情神话 Ài Qíng Shén Huà (Love Myth)

by Shao Yihui, 2021, running time 112'.

 

Screenplay: Shao Yihui

Photography: Chen Jun

Editing: Huang Yiqiong

Music: Wen Zi

Production: Ye Ting

Starring: Xu Zheng, Ma Yili, Wu Yue, Ni Hongjie, Yemang Zhou

 

Lao Bai is a versatile, perpetually busy 50-year-old divorced man. His meeting with Ms Li and her young daughter Maya leads him to try to put his life in order. A contemporary sentimental comedy enhanced by a setting in traditional Shanghai.

 

Lao Bai, a 50-year-old divorcee, teaches painting in a quaint tree-lined district of Shanghai built in the 19th century, known as the French Concession. Alone for years, Lao Bai finally falls in love with an advertising executive, Ms Li, a 40-year-old woman who lives with her young daughter Maya and a nagging mother. But the woman tries to keep her distance. To impress her, accepting an old friend's proposal, Lao Bai organises an exhibition of his paintings and also tries to befriend Maya. This entertaining and lively affair, will not be lacking complications, mainly due to two women: Beibei, Lao Bai's dominant ex-wife, and Gloria, a rich painting student who keeps tantalising  her professor.

Director Shao Yihui crafts a sentimental Shanghai comedy that seeks to restore, in her choices of language and settings, the liveliness of the more 'traditional' side of this metropolis which otherwise symbolises contemporary China.

 

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SHAO YIHUI

Born in the northern province of Shanxi in 1991, Shao Yihui graduated from the Department of Literature and Dramaturgy of the Beijing Film Academy. Already known as a writer, she co-wrote the film Youth Never Returns (2015). She made her directorial debut in 2021, with B for Busy, for which she also wrote the screenplay. This   middle-aged romance was well received by both critics and audiences in China.

 

FILMOGRAPHY

B for Busy (2021).

 

Hi, Mom

你好, 李焕英 Nǐ Hǎo, Lǐ Huàn Yīng (Hello, Li Huanying)

by Jia Ling, 2021, running time 128'

 

Screenplay: Bu Yu, Guo Yupeng, Jia Ling, Liu Honglu, Sun Jibin, Wang Yu Photography: Liu Yin, Sun Ming

Editing: God Ye. Music: Peng Fei

Production: Li Ning, Tina Shi

Starring: Jia Ling, Zhang Xiaofei, Shen Teng, Chen He, Du Yuan, He Huan

An unexpected blockbuster for Chinese box offices in 2021, “Hi, Mom”, between hilarious comedy and heartfelt emotion, tells the story of a daughter's attempt to 'repair' her relationship with her deceased mother. A female-driven “Return to the Future” that earned Jia Ling the Golden Rooster for Best Actress.

 

Comic actress Jia Ling played the main character in this comedy, at the same time making her directorial debut and co-writing the script. On an imaginary journey, projected back in the years, young Jia Xiaoling meets her mother Li Huanying who recently died in an accident, finding her as a very young worker and completely unaware of the mother-daughter bond they have/would later have. Meeting her mother as a coeval, well aware that she has not given her satisfaction as a daughter in real life, she interferes to turn various situations in her favour and even tries to influence her future, while building a relationship of friendly and amused complicity with her. Hi, Mom, this bittersweet comedy with a back-story recalling the science fiction movie Back to the Future, turned out to be the unexpected hit of the 2021 Lunar New Year (the equivalent of our Christmas for Chinese box offices), overtaking more expensive and publicised competitors. Jia Ling's triumph led to her being recognised as Best Actress at the Golden Rooster 2021.

 

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JIA LING

Jia Ling, whose actual name is Jia Yuling, was born in the Hubei Province in 1982. Thanks to her comedy sketches, she has become a very popular figure on Chinese television. She made her first film as a director in 2021, Hi, Mom, inspired by a comedy sketch of the same title, which had premiered in 2016. The film, dedicated to the memory of the author's mother, was the surprise triumph of the 2021 Lunar New Year (the most profitable season for any Chinese box office).

 

FILMOGRAPHY

Hi, Mom (2021).

 

New Gods:
Nezha Reborn

新神榜: 哪吒重生 Xīn Shén Bǎng: Né Zhā Chóng Shēng (The New Gods: Nezha’s Rebirth)

by Zhao Ji, 2021, running time 118'.

Screenplay: Mu Chuan

Editing: Keer Zu

Music: Guo Haowei

Producer: Lu Xi

The popular figure of the Taoist deity Nezha revisited in a contemporary key, embodied by a motorbike delivery boy A heroic adventure that testifies to the creativity and success of Chinese animation.

 

Nezha, a mythological Chinese Taoist hero, is one of the most popular national cultural figures in China. Known through classic novels recounting his endeavours and from film versions in the 1960s and 1970s, he has gained a new success since 2018 thanks to the animated renderings achieved with cutting-edge technology. New Gods: Nezha Reborn is an inventive reimagining of this iconic character in a contemporary key that required a good four years to be developed. Based on previous renditions set in the past it resorts to the artifice of reincarnation: the legendary hero, now in the guise of the young motorbike enthusiast Li Yunxiang, uses his exceptional supernatural powers against the injustices of bullies. Processed in 3D, Nezha Reborn was a considerable success at the Chinese box office, so much so that director Zhao Ji has already completed a new chapter in the New Gods series, Yang Jian.

 

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ZHAO JI

Zhao Ji is an animation director who has already made three feature films as a lead author since 2019, with White Snake. His latest works are two chapters of the “New Gods” series, Nezha Reborn (2021) and Yang Jian (2022).

 

FILMOGRAPHY

White Snake (2019), New Gods: Nezha Reborn (2021), New Gods: Yang Jian (2022).

 

A Marble Travelogue

石史诗 Shí Shǐ Shī

by Wang Sean, 2021, running time 99'.

 

Screenplay: Sean Wang

Photography: Xiao Xiao, Carles Muñoz Gómez-Quintero, Sean Wang

Editing: Tao Gu, Claudio Hughes, Sean Wang

Music: Jeroen Goeijers

Producers: Jia Zhao, Wang Zijian, Valerie Montmartin, Rea Apostolides

Starring: Marianna & Sofia Erotokritou, Andreas & Vaso Erotokritou, Zhen Congda, Laurent Sebban, Wang Xiaoying

 

A documentary essay on the journey transporting white marble from Greece to China  where replicas of Hellenic art are made out of it and, conversely, on the shipment back of part of it in the form of Made in China souvenirs on sale in Aegean tourist resorts. A penetrating reflection on the global economy interconnections.

 

The journey of a block of marble from a quarry in the Peloponnese to China, where local sculptors transform the raw material into Hellenistic-inspired sculptures and columns meant to adorn the nouveau riche's manors. The waste material is then processed to obtain souvenirs, such as fridge magnets, which are sent back to Greece, where they are likely to be bought by Chinese tourists. Sean Wang's second feature-length documentary is an ironic and intelligent essay pondering over the global routes of capitalism, also offering a pertinent and unprejudiced reflection on the relationship and mutual dependencies between past and present and between West and East. A work that has been successfully presented at major documentary film festivals, from the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam to Nyon Visions du Réel.

 

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SEAN WANG

Sean Wang is a Chinese filmmaker of Hui ethnicity. He studied Television Directing at the Communication University of China and holds a Master's degree in screenwriting from the Beijing Film Academy. His first feature-length documentary film Lady of the Harbour premiered at the 2017 Amsterdam International Documentary Festival.

 

FILMOGRAPHY

Lady of the Harbour (2017), A Marble Travelogue (2021).

 
Poster_The story of Qiuju.jpeg

The Story of Qiu Ju

秋菊打官司 Qiū Jú Dǎ Guān Si (Qiu Ju sues)

by Zhang Yimou, 1992, running time 110'.

Screenplay: Liu Heng from a novel by Chen Yuanbin

Photography: Chi Xiaoning, Lu Hongyi, Yu Xiaoquin

Editing: Du Yuan

Music: Zhao Jiping

Producers: Feng Yiting, Fung Kwok Ma

Starring: Gong Li, Lei Kesheng, Liu Peiqi, Ge Zhijun, Ye Jun, Yang Liuchun

The parable of the obstinate Qiu Ju, a young woman who, in order to save her husband's honour, decides to sue the arrogant village chief. A great classic by Master Zhang Yimou, played by his muse Gong Li, who won China's first Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival thirty years ago.

Presented in 1992 at the 49th Venice Film Festival, The Story of Qiu Ju became the first film from the People's Republic of China to win the Golden Lion, along with the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress for Gong Li. It is an adaptation of Chen Yuanbin's “The Wan Family's Lawsuit”, where Zhang Yimou, alongside his muse Gong Li, used non-professional actors for the first time. The story is set during winter in a village in northern China. Due to an argument with village chief Wang Shantang, young Qinglai is injured by him and his wife Qiu Ju, who is expecting their first child, turns to policeman Li Shunlin for justice and is only refunded for medical expenses. Arguing that it is more important for the dignity of Qinglai, who was humiliated and beaten in front of the whole village, to receive an apology, Qiu Ju continues to demand it from the arrogant Wang but, as he refuses to present it, she decides to sue him.

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ZHANG YIMOU

Born in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, Zhang Yimou graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1982 and is the leader of the so-called Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers. After taking his first steps in cinema as director of photography for Chen Kaige's Yellow Earth (1984) and starring in, among others, Wu Tianming's The Old Well (1987), Zhang made his feature film debut with Red Sorghum, winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the first Chinese film to win one of the major European festivals. Triumphs followed at the Venice Film Festival, with the Silver Lion for Raise the Red Lantern (1991) and the Golden Lion for The Story of Qiu Ju (1992) and Not One Less (1999), and at the Cannes Film Festival, with the Grand Prix for To Live (1994), as well as Oscar nominations for Ju Dou (1990), the first for a Chinese film, for Raise the Red Lantern and for Hero (2002). For the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he designed the spectacular official opening ceremony of the Games.

FILMOGRAPHY

Red Sorghum (1988), Codename Cougar (1989), Ju Dou (1990), Raise the Red Lantern (1991), The Story of Qiu Ju (1992), To Live (1994), Lumière and Company (episode, 1995), Shanghai Triad (1995), Keep Cool (1997), Not One Less (1999), The Road Home (1999), Happy Times (2001), Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004), Riding Alone for  Thousands of Miles (2005), Curse of the Golden Flower (2006), To Each His Own Cinema (episode En regardant le film, 2007), A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009), Under the Hawthorn Tree (2010), The Flowers of War (2011), Coming Home (2014), The Great Wall (2016), Shadow (2018), One Second (2020), Cliff Walkers (2021), Sniper (2022).