At the beginning of each month, CFI posts a comprehensive list of Chinese film screenings in NYC. Here is what to see in January.
Hanson And The Beast 二代妖精 (Dir. Xiao Yang, China, 2017, 110 min)
Opens 01/05 at AMC Empire 25
Yuan Shuai (Feng Shaofeng), a debt-ridden animal-breeder, tries to get out of his financial predicament by finding a wealthy girlfriend through matchmaking dates. He unexpectedly meets and falls in love with the fox demon, Bai Xianchu (Liu Yifei), who has arrived to the mortal realm to repay her gratitude. Watch the trailer HERE.
Namiya 解忧杂货店 (Dir. Han Jie, China, 2017, 109 min)
Opens 01/05 at AMC Loews 34th Street 14
Three orphans, Xiaobo (Karry Wang), Tong Tong (Dilraba Dilmurat) and Jie (Dong Zijian), find a mysterious letter seeking advice in a derelict corner store, ending up in adventure in time and finding unexpected connections with their own past. Based on Keigo Higashino’s international bestseller The Miracles of the Namiya General Store. Watch the trailer HERE.
Goldbuster 妖铃铃 (Dir. Sandra Ng Kwan-Yue, China/Hong Kong, 2017, 88 min)
Opens 01/05 at AMC Empire 25 & College Point Multiplex Cinemas
A quirky internet star, a pair of retired gangsters, and the black sheep of a prolific family of herbalists are a few of the oddball tenants that call the dilapidated apartments of Humble Grove home. When supernatural incidents befall them all on one night, instead of running, they turn to flamboyant ghost hunter Golden Ling to perform a most unusual exorcism. Watch the trailer HERE.
Bitter Money 苦钱 (Dir. Wang Bing, 2016, China, 152 min)
Opens 01/12 at Anthology Film Archives
Anthology continues its longstanding devotion to the work of renowned Chinese documentary filmmaker Wang Bing (TA’ANG) with this week-long PREMIERE run of Bitter Money. The film follows a handful of these workers, both at work where they may labor for more than 12 hours a day and in their off-hours, as they hang around shabby dorms drinking, dreaming of home, worrying about getting paid, and trying to decide whether their jobs are worth keeping. Watch the trailer HERE.
Have A Nice Day 大世界 (Dir. Liu Jian, China, 2017, 77 min)
Opens 01/26 at Village East Cinema
A hard rain is about to fall on a small town in Southern China. In a desperate attempt to find money to save his fiancée’s failed plastic surgery, Xiao Zhang, a mere driver, steals a bag containing 1 million from his boss. News of the robbery spreads fast within the town and, over the course of one night, everyone starts looking for Xiao Zhang and his money…. Have A Nice Day marks the first Chinese animated feature ever to compete in the Berlin Film Festival. Watch the trailer HERE.
Still in Theater:
Youth 芳华 (Dir. Feng Xiaogang, China, 2017, 136min)
Screens at AMC Empire 25, Metrograph & Cinema Village
A look at the lives of members in a Chinese Military Cultural Troupe in the 1970s. Adapted from Yan Geling‘s novel of the same name and directed by Chinese helming legend Feng Xiaogang. Watch the trailer HERE.
The Liquidator 心理罪之城市之光 (Dir. Xu Jizhou, China, 2017, 124 min)
Screens at AMC Empire 25
A criminal psychologist (Deng Chao, Duckweed) and a forensic fingerprint expert (Cecilia Liu, Scarlet Heart) works together to track down a serial killer (Ethan Juan) who targets people who have been acquitted of notable crimes and uses their guilt as his modus operandi. Watch the trailer HERE.
Ex Files 3: Return of The Exes 前任3：再见前任 (Dir. Tian Yusheng, China, 2017, 120 min)
Screens at AMC Empire 25
Meng Yun and Yu Fei break up with their girlfriends and start partying. When their ex-girlfriends come back into their lives, they get tangled up in adventures. Watch the trailer HERE.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS & SERIES
5 upcoming occurrences in January at The Museum of Modern Art
One of the most riveting documentary film portraits of China was almost never seen.Fascinated by a country that remained an enigma to the West, Michelangelo Antonioni shot nearly 100 hours of film during his travels from Peking to Shanghai by way of the countryside.
Special Screening: Human Flow (Dir. Ai Weiwei, Germany, 2017, 140 min)
Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. Ai Weiwei in person.
01/04 at The Guggenheim Museum
In 2007 Ai Weiwei took part in Documenta 12 with a participatory event called Fairytale, after the Brothers Grimm who were born in Kassel, the German city that hosts the famed art exhibition. Ai invited 1,001 people from China, many of whom had never been abroad before, to travel to Germany, live in a dormitory of Ai’s design, and freely wander the city and the exhibition.
Special screening: God of War 荡寇风云 (Dir. Gordon Chan, China/Hong Kong, 2017, 128 mins)
01/05 at The Museum of the Moving Image
During the sixteenth century, Japanese pirates proliferate along the Chinese coastline. After months of battle, a Ming Dynasty commander goes head-to-head against the marauders, risking everything to bring lasting peace to the coastal cities. One of China’s most successful filmmakers, Gordon Chan returns with this lavish, detailed, and action-filled historical war epic. Watch the trailer HERE.
Special screening: Eros (Dir. Wong Kar-wai/Michelangelo Antonioni/Steven Soderbergh, 2004, 108 min)
01/06 at The Museum of Modern Art
This anthology film features three different tales of passion. In “The Hand,” young tailor Zhang (Chang Chen) is attracted to high-priced prostitute Miss Hua (Gong Li). Next is “Equilibrium,” in which stressed businessman Nick explains his problems to unhelpful therapist Dr. Pearl. Finally, “The Dangerous Thread of Things” examines the relationship problems of Christopher and Chloe, a couple on vacation in Tuscany. Watch the trailer HERE.
Special screening: Wuyong (Useless) 无用 (Dir. Jia Zhangke, 2007, China, 80 min)
01/10, 01/16 at The Museum of Modern Art
Wuyong introduces the viewer to the garment workers who often have no possible means of affording the very products they sew. Jia takes his camera to three centers of clothing manufacturing: Guangdong, Paris, and his own hometown of Fenyang. Enter activist Chinese designer Ma Ke, who relies upon hand craftsmanship for her garment production—a far cry from the Guangdong sweatshops. Part of film series Fashion Forward Documentaries. Watch the trailer HERE.
Special screening: Yi Yi (Dir. Edward Yang, 2000, Taiwan, 173 min)
01/20-21 at Metrograph
The last work of a director who should have made many, many more, the gentle and terribly humane Yi Yi observes the interplay between three generations of an upper middle-class Taipei family. Comic when dealing in the foibles of its excellent ensemble cast, yet possessed throughout by an air of unmistakable melancholy. A work as rich and as sad as life itself. Watch the trailer HERE.
On Jan. 9, 2018, the New York Film Academy (NYFA) co-organizes two celebratory events as a part of the 2018 Chinese New Year festivities. Chinese Cultural Performances will be shared directly before the opening of Shanghai Film Week, with both events taking place at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown New York.
To RSVP for the Chinese Cultural Performances and Shanghai Film Week’s Industry Panel and screenings, click here.
Opens 01/26 at Metrograph
The wuxia movie is to the cinema of the Chinese diaspora what the Western is to the United States or the samurai film to Japan—a repository of myths and cultural memory, steeped in ritual whose every variation is significant. A total art that embraces music, dance, and literature along with combat skills, the typical wuxia narrative unfolds against an ever-changing historical and political backdrop, a social-realist grounding for works otherwise attached to mystic legend and lore.
Lineup: Dragon Inn (King Hu, 1967), A Touch of Zen (Hu, 1971), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000), The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-wai, 2013), A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke, 2013), The Blade (Tsui Hark, 1995), The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015), and Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (Hark, 1983).
The series leads into the first-ever U.S. theatrical run of Hu’s Legend of the Mountain, beginning February 2.
01/27 at Anthology Film Archives; “The marathon begins at 12:30pm, and ends when everybody is dead.”
Out of print on DVD, or never available uncut and in their original language, these movies highlight Hong Kong’s approach to action filmmaking, where setpieces were constructed on location, shot by shot, then the movies were screened for rowdy midnight audiences the night before their release, their responses used as a road map for one last edit to remove all the boring parts. The result: movies that come at you screaming, full of massive, unbelievable stunts, intricate action set-pieces, insane characters, surreal comedy from another planet, and, in at least two cases, cop flicks where not even small children are safe from taking a bullet in the head.
Grady Hendrix is one of the founders of the New York Asian Film Festival, and has written about Hong Kong movies for Variety, Sight & Sound, Film Comment, and many more publications.