At the beginning of each month, CFI posts a comprehensive list of Chinese film screenings in NYC and LA. To help you better understand China through cinema, we include films that are made by Chinese filmmakers, set in China, or tell Chinese stories. Here is what to see in May.
Shadow 影 (Zhang Yimou, 116 min, 2018)
In a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, the military commander has a secret weapon: a ‘shadow’, a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself. Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want.
Savage 雪暴 (Cui Siwei, 112 min, 2019)
Buried by treacherous conditions at the top of Mt. Baekdu, a policeman must brave the extreme weather until his transfer comes through. When a group of thieves stumbles into the station in search of safe shelter, both sides must fight for survival in this stylish action-packed thriller. Starring Chang Chen, Ni Ni, Liao Fan, Huang Jue, Liu Hua, Zhang Yicong, and Li Guangjie.
Always Miss You 下一任：前任 (99 min, 2019)
With relationship fail after relationship fail, Xinyi (Amber Kuo) believes she’s finally stumbled onto a good man; throwing herself into this new and potentially life-changing relationship, she thinks her days of being single are over. But when her teenage crush re-enters her life, she has to decide who to pick – and who will pick her.
Still in Theatre:
Long Day’s Journey into Night 地球最后的夜晚 （BI Gan, 140 min, 2018)
Bi Gan follows up his knockout debut, Kaili Blues, with this noir-tinged stunner about a lost soul (Jue Huang) on a quest to find a missing woman from his past (Wei Tang, Lust, Caution). Following leads across Guizhou province, he crosses paths with a series of colorful characters, among them a prickly hairdresser played by Taiwanese superstar Sylvia Chang. When the search leads him to a dingy movie theater, the film launches into an hour-long, gravity-defying 3D sequence shot that plunges its protagonist—and us—into a labyrinthine cityscape. An NYFF56 selection. A Kino Lorber release.
Ash Is Purest White 江湖儿女 (Jia Zhangke, 141 min, 2018)
“[In] Jia Zhangke’s enthralling new feature…a viewer feels the dislocation and momentum of accelerating change.”—A.O. Scott, NYTimes Critic’s Pick
In an industrial city in China, a young dancer named Qiao falls in love with a mobster named Bin. When a fight breaks out between rival gangs, Qiao uses a gun to protect Bin and is sent to prison for five years. A story of violent love within a time frame spanning from 2001 to 2017.
FILM SERIES & SPECIAL SCREENINGS
The Joy Luck Club 喜福会 (Wayne Wang, 139 min, 1993)
Plays May 12 (Mother’s Day) at Metrograph
Amy Tan’s bestselling novel, tracking the intergenerational passage of aspirations and expectations between four immigrant Chinese women and their American daughters, found its ideal interpreter in Wang, who lent the material an emotional grandeur, allowing every member of his peerless ensemble cast to shine in turn. The last Hollywood studio film to feature an all-Asian cast for twenty-five years, and a landmark work that finds epic scope in the most everyday of circumstances, by exploring the inner lives and cherished hopes of a San Francisco mahjong group.
Suburban Birds 郊区的鸟 (QIU Sheng, 113 min, 2018)
Plays May 12 at Syndicated
Hao (Mason Lee) is part of a team of young engineers called in to investigate a series of craters that have opened up on the edge of the city. As he and his team survey the subsiding area, a young boy, also named Hao, spends long afternoons playing with friends and making mischief until one-by-one, his playmates start to disappear.
The Film Society at China Institute offers a series of programs for Sinophiles and Cinephiles to explore the diverse and dynamic world of Chinese film! In May and June, we will feature two back to back series on Chinese Youth in the 80s and 90s to explore the radical changes taking place in Chinese society against the backdrop of exponential economic growth, and the political turmoil of 1989.
Platform 站台 (Jia Zhangke, 154 min, 2000)
Set in the director’s hometown in Fenyang, Shanxi Province, the film focuses on a group of amateur theatre troupe performers whose fate mirrors that of the general population in China as massive socio-economic changes sweep across the mainland. The film commences in 1979 with the troupe performing numbers idolizing Mao Zedong, ending in the ’80s when the shows reflect the strong Western influences pervading China. The film has been hailed as “an epic of grassroots,” directed by one of China’s leading filmmakers.
The Troubleshooters 顽主 (Jiashan Mi, 11o min, 1989)
The Troubleshooters is an absurd comedy that tells the story of three young men open a company to solve other people’s life problems. A quick-witted, perceptive and reflective film, The Troubleshooters offers a charming depiction of Chinese youth culture, as well as a wonderful panorama of a 80s’ Beijing.