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Hong Kong Film Festival features new films by Jia Zhangke, Zhao Liang, Xu Tong, and Yu Guangyi

Shattered (dir. Xu Tong)

The 35th Hong Kong International Film Festival begins March 20th and runs to April 5th. We’re pleased to see that several films from directors who have films in the dGenerate catalog will be presenting new works, including some world premieres like Yu Guangyi’s Bachelor Mountain and Xu Tong’s Shattered. More information on these films, and a list of other Chinese films screening at HKIFF, after the break.

dir. YU Guangyi (director of Timber Gang) “‘Guanggun’ is a trendy Chinese observance that celebrates being single, but Yu Guangyi’s latest doc sees bachelorhood as something much more complicated. Returning to the snowbound logging region of Survival Song and Timber Gang, Yu again documents the struggles – and modest pleasures – of a dying town and its people. In China’s remote north, the women abandon the village for city jobs. With only men, the elderly and the children remaining, the village faces a fundamental fight for survival beyond a changing logging industry.”

I Wish I Knew dir. JIA Zhangke (director of Dong) “As he did in 24 City, Jia Zhangke takes a single place as a jumping off point for ruminations on both fiction and reality, past and present – only this time, the place is not a former Chengdu factory, but a city as epic as Shanghai. Jia’s frequent muse Zhao Tao wanders the urban landscape in its buildup to the Expo as a thread connecting interviews with key figures and archival footage. The result is a portrait of a metropolis working its way through the trauma of history toward an anxious future.”

Shattered dir. XU Tong (director of Fortune Teller) “China’s modern history is filtered through the life of 80-year old Heilongjiang native Old Man Tang and his scattered family in Xu Tong’s intimate and interactive doc. Notable are his felonious, albeit devoted, daughter Caifeng’s scornful dismissal of the Party and son Yihong’s contrarian independence. They stand in stark, generational contrast to their father’s beliefs – beliefs that may or may not have influenced his parental decisions. Engaging and infuriating, unflattering and enlightening, Shattered puts one family in China’s larger developmental context.”

Together dir. ZHAO Liang (director of Crime and Punishment) “Intended as a companion piece to Gu Changwei’s Til Death Do Us Apart, Together transcends the making-of format to compassionately present a case for HIV-positive people in mainland China. Director Zhao Liang, whose Petition won the Humanitarian Award for Best Documentary last year, situates the plight of real-life AIDS patients inside the framework of Gu’s fiction film, where certain cast or crew members are afflicted with the disease. An unabashed call for acceptance and tolerance, Together derives its power from its very idealism: that we are all in this together.”

Yulu dir. JIA Zhangke and others

“Jia Zhangke gathered 6 young directors to make a dozen short films about 12 outstanding young people in present-day CHina. Among them are artists, an investigative reporter, an environmentalist, even an entrepreneur (in real estate, naturally), all under 40, and all living a life they want. On one level the series trumpets the arrival of a generation of ‘New Chinese’, successful people doing their own things and being mighty happy about it. On another level it is an unintended yet most apt and wry commentary on Andy Warhol’s great prophecy: ‘In the future everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes.'”

Other contemporary Chinese directors whose films will be shown at the 35th Hong Kong International Film Festival are Li Hongqi (Are We Really So Far from the Mad House?, Winter Vacation), Heiwark Mak (beside(s), happiness), Li Yu (Buddha Mountain), Wang Xiaoshuai (Chongqing Blues), Johnnie To (Don’t Go Breaking My Heart), Chen Hung-I (Honey PuPu), Wang Bing (Man with No Name, The Ditch), Felix Chong (Once a Gangster), Cheung King-wai (One Nation, Two Cities), Liu Jian (Piercing I), Law Wing-cheong (Punished), Teng Yung-shing (Return Ticket), Chen Kaige (Sacrifice), Hao Jie (Single Man), Dante Lam (The Stool Pigeon), Ruby Yang (The Warriors of Qiugang), Chang Tso-chi (When Love Comes).


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