At 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.
Mojin: The Worm Valley 云南虫谷 (Fei Xing, 110 min, 2018)
Opens 01/04 at AMC
Following in the footsteps of blockbuster MOJIN: THE LOST LEGEND and based on the bestselling novel series, MOJIN: THE WORM VALLEY once again finds legendary tomb explorer Hu Bayi on a dangerous mission as he seeks out the Tomb of Emperor Xian, located on an island of monstrous creatures in this mystical action-adventure.
Still in theatres:
Kill Mobile (YU Miao, 90 min, 2018)
Seven friends get together for dinner, and decided to play a game where they must share all messages and calls of their cell phones. Throughout the evening, wechat messages, phone calls and APP notifications are coming out continuously. Remake of the Italian film PERFECT STRANGERS directed by Paolo Genovese.
A Cool Fish 无名之辈 (RAO Xiaozhi, 109 min, 2018)
AMC Atlantic Times Square 14 in L.A.
Cop-turned-security guard Ma Xianyong finds himself in a criminal twilight zone when two unrelated events turn his world upside down. The mysterious disappearance of his boss has implications for his financial security. Even more perilous is the abduction of his paralyzed sister who, unknown to Ma, makes a morbid deal with her captors.
Airpocalypse 天气预爆 (XIAO Yang, 106 min, 2018)
AMC Atlantic Times Square 14, AMC Puente Hills 20 in L.A.
Xiao Yang marks his directing debut with this Chinese comedy about four fallen Gods responsible for the environmental disaster that engulfs their land. When a human accidentally takes one of the God’s powers, he must train to be one of them, either to become the land’s savior or their ultimate doom.
FILM SERIES & SPECIAL SCREENINGS
The Rider (Chloe Zhao, 104 min, 2017)
Based on Brady Jandreau’s own life story and starring him and his family as fictionalized versions of themselves, The Rider is an exploration of manhood in the American heartland and what it means to have a calling. Director Chloe Zhao’s second feature amplifies one family’s true story into a tale of universal longing for purpose and identity.
Kaili Blues 路边野餐 (BI Gan, 113 min, 2016)
01/10 – 01/12
Chinese filmmaker Bi Gan’s brilliant directorial debut—which collected prizes at the Locarno Film Festival—is an audacious work that announced a major new filmmaking talent. Country doctor Chen Sheng sets out on a train journey to search for his brother’s abandoned child, only to find himself in a dreamlike world where the boundaries between past, present, and future—and between fantasy and reality—are porous. This remarkable visual achievement, which feels as singular and alien as the films of the great Apichatpong Weerasethakul, was shot in the mining village Kaili, the director’s birthplace, and incorporates poetry he’s been writing since he was a teenager.
Black Coal Thin Ice 白日焰火 (DIAO Yi’nan, 110 min, 2014)
01/31 – 02/02
Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival, Yinan’s stylish, daring, neon-lit tour-de-force is a mystery epic which begins with the discovery of a severed hand amid the coal on a factory conveyor belt. Cop Zhang (Liao Fan) follows the case, but five years later, when he’s drinking heavily and working as a security guard, the body parts are still showing up. A sumptuous nocturnal noir which has drawn comparison to David Fincher’s Zodiac, and a landmark in the Chinese crime film.
Imported 35mm Prints — Two Screenings Each
Spending his formative years in Taipei, a distinctly modern city that had swiftly grown into a metropolis in the years following the Chinese Civil War, Hou Hsiao-Hsien has always been principally an urban filmmaker, his view of the life in the concrete jungle perhaps summed up best in the title of one of his breakthrough movies: City of Sadness. As the city has changed, Hou the artist has changed with it, producing at the turn of the century one of his most radical departures, Millennium Mambo, a film that found the director searching for the digital pulse of the burgeoning era with a new freewheeling style. This daring film will play along with a trio of 21st century Hou titles, movies in which the alienation and exhilaration of life in the anonymous contemporary cityscape is distilled into unforgettable images as only this poet of urban anomie’s work can.
Millennium Mambo 千禧曼波 (119 min, 2001)
01/25 – 01/26
A stylish and seductive submersion into the techno-scored neon nightlife of Taipei, Hou’s much-misunderstood marvel stars Shu Qi (The Assassin) as an aimless bar hostess drifting away from her blowhard boyfriend and towards Jack Kao’s suave, sensitive gangster. Structured as a flashback to the then-present from the then-future of 2011, it’s a transfixing trance-out of a movie, drenched in club lights, ecstatic endorphin-rush exhilaration, and a nagging undercurrent of ennui.
Three Times 最好的时光 (120 min, 2005)
01/26 – 01/27
A stated inspiration for Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight with its triptych structure and meditations on memory, Hou’s three-part love story travels between three eras of Taiwanese history, with Shu Qi
and Chang Chen as a different couple in each. “A Time for Love” takes us to a pool hall in the 1966 of Hou’s youth; “A Time for Freedom” travels to a brothel during the 1911 Chinese revolution; and the 2005-set “A Time for Youth” revisits a mad modern Taipei much like that of Millennium Mambo, finding Qi as a singer who’s lost faith in the future.
The eighth edition of First Look, the Museum’s acclaimed festival of innovative new international cinema, will include more than two dozen programs, featuring formally inventive new works that seek to redefine the art form while engaging in a wide range of subjects and styles.
The Pluto Moment 冥王星时刻 (ZHANG Ming, 110 min, 2017)
Strange dynamics start to take shape the deeper they travel into the woods, and the less certain they feel about the direction and purpose of their mission. Zhang Ming’s sleeper standout from Cannes Directors’ Fortnight is a consistently entertaining and deft piece of storytelling, critiquing the artistic process on macro and micro levels while remaining true to its complex characters. North American premiere.
Turtle Rock 团鱼岩 (Xiao Xiao, 107 min, 2017)
Filmed in woodcut-worthy black and white, Xiao Xiao’s attentive, meditative film tracks four seasons of a family in Turtle Rock, a remote village in China named after the resemblance of a local rock formation. For the past century, the village has been home to just seven families, all of whom moved to this mountainous region to escape war to forge a very simple traditional life. Native son Xiao observes the residents as they work the land and cook food, and carry giant bamboo trunks across steep terrain. Exquisitely made and intimately observed, Turtle Rock is the debut effort of a major new talent. New York Premiere.
Better Angels (Malcolm Clarke, 92 min, 2018)
01/29 at Barnard College, The Diana Center Event Oval
Better Angels explores how the world’s two largest superpowers are racing towards economic and political conflict, yet find themselves undeniably linked and interdependent by the new reality of global economic rivalries and cultural ties. The film captures the compelling personal stories and ideological challenges of why these two countries have the world’s most important relationship. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Malcolm Clarke and producer Yi Han.