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 March.
The Wild Goose Lake 南方车站的聚会 (Diao Yinan, 113 min, 2019)
When small-time mob leader Zhou Zenong (Chinese superstar Hu Ge) accidentally kills a cop, a dead-or-alive bounty is placed on his head, forcing him on the lam from both the police as well as dangerous gangsters out for the reward. Hiding out in China’s densely populated (and deeply divided) Wuhan province, Zhou becomes entangled with a beautiful, enigmatic woman, who has mysterious intentions of her own.
Made in Hong Kong 香港制造 (Fruit Chan, 108 min, 1997)
Open on March 6 at Metrograph (First U.S. Release)
The first independent film released in post-Handover Hong Kong, director Fruit Chan’s atmospheric shoestring-budget character study is a rough-and-ready piece of work shot on grainy leftover 35mm short ends in the city’s overcrowded subsidized housing projects. A raw, groundbreaking drama and portrait of nihilistic youth in the same vein as Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955), My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991), and Doom Generation (Gregg Araki, 1995), the film poses questions that remain burningly relevant as tumult engulfs Hong Kong.
Go Back to China (Emily Ting, 96 min, 2019)
Opens on March 6 at Village East Cinema
When spoiled rich girl Sasha Li (Anna Akana) blows through half of her trust fund, she is cut off by her father and forced to go back to China and work for the family toy business. What begins simply as a way to regain financial support soon develops into a life-altering journey of self-discovery, as Sasha not only learns the business from the ground up but also reconnects with her estranged family in the process. Hilarious and heartfelt, Go Back to China offers an honest look at the human cost of things that are made in China.
Now in its 49th edition, the New Directors/New Films festival is New York’s premier showcase for the work of emerging filmmakers from around the world. This year’s festival will introduce 27 features and 10 short films to New York audiences.
Tickets for MoMA and Film Society members go on sale March 9, and tickets for the general public go on sale March 12.
Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains 富春山居图 (Gu Xiaogang, 150 min, 2019)
Screens at Lincoln Center on March 28; at MoMA on April 4
Taking its title from a renowned 14th-century Chinese scroll painting by Huang Gongwang, this debut feature from Gu Xiaogang is a panoramic evocation of one year in the life of a provincial family. At her 70th birthday celebration, the aged mother of the Gu family suffers from a stroke, which precipitates her decline into dementia. Who will take care of her? The four brothers face crucial changes in their relationships to one another, as they deal with their own family problems. Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains was the closing film for International Critics’ Week at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival.
The Cloud in Her Room 她房间里的云 (Zheng Lu Xinyuan, 101 min, 2020)
Screens at MoMA on March 29; at Lincoln Center on March 31
Winner of the top prize at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam, this mesmerizing debut feature from Chinese filmmaker Zheng Lu Xinyuan is an autobiographically tinged portrait of 22-year-old Muzi (Jin Jing), a young woman drifting through her days and nights after returning to her hometown to celebrate the New Year with her parents, and unable to let go of her past.
2nd CineCina Festival Opening Film:
Love and Duty 恋爱与义务 (BU Wancang, 1931, 153 min)
Screens on March 20 at SVA Theatre
Long considered lost, Love and Duty was accidentally re-discovered in Uruguay in the 1990s and restored in 2K by Taiwan Film Institute and L’Immagine Ritrovata in 2013. It is the earliest surviving film starring Chinese legendary actress Ruan Lingyu. This year also marks the 110th anniversary of her birth.
The film will be screened with live musical accompaniment by Mønochef.
CineCina Festival announced on Mar. 6 that its organizing committee has decided to postpone the screening of Love and Duty until June 19th due to health concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit the festival website.
FILM SERIES & SPECIAL SCREENINGS
Nina Wu 灼人秘密 (Midi Z, 2019, 103 min)
After eight years toiling in bit parts, aspiring actress Nina Wu finally gets her big break with a leading role in a spy thriller set in the 1960s. The shoot is challenging—there are explicit sex scenes and the director is impatient and insenstitive—but the film proves to be a professional and critical breakthrough. Yet Nina’s psychological resolve begins to crack. In light of two family crises, she rushes back to her family home, where she dreams of rekindling a close relationship with her childhood friend Kiki while suffering from visions of a mysterious woman stalking and attacking her. As Nina clings to memories of happier times, it seems that there is one crucial memory that she is repressing. A Film Movement release
Director Midi Z and actress Ke-Xi in person for both shows in NYC.
Mulan 2020 Advance Screening (Niki Caro, 2020)
Screens on March 26 at Regal E-Walk 4DX & RPX (NYC)
“Mulan” is the epic adventure of a fearless young woman who masquerades as a man in order to fight Northern Invaders attacking China. The eldest daughter of an honored warrior, Hua Mulan is spirited, determined and quick on her feet. When the Emperor issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army, she steps in to take the place of her ailing father as Hua Jun, becoming one of China’s greatest warriors ever.