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 November.
Better Days 少年的你 (Derek Tsang, 135 min, 2019)
Nian finds her life at a standstill when faced by relentless bullying from her peers as she prepares for her college entrance exam. Fate brings her together with small-time criminal Bei, but before they can retreat into a world of their own, both are dragged into the middle of a murder investigation that will change their lives forever. In this dramatic thriller, Derek Kwok-Cheung Tsang paints a bleak picture of an oppressive society, in the guise of a gripping fairy-tale love story, exposing the dark world of bullying and societal pressures of achievement facing today’s youth.
My Dear Liar 受益人 (Shen Ao, 112 min, 2019)
Opens on 11/08
Wuhai (Da Peng) is determined to rescue his six year old son who suffers from asthma. At the encouragement of one of his friends, Zhong Zhenjian (Zhang Zixian), Wuhai forms a relationship with a cam girl, Miaomiao (Liu Yan), in the hopes of trapping her in a marriage.
Somewhere Winter 大约在冬季 (Wei-Ming Wang, 2019, 125 min)
Opens on 11/15
When a woman chances upon a ticket to an exclusive concert, she realizes the man who gave it to her may be the key to her life’s happiness. But when life itself throws barriers in her way, it’s up to her daughter to try and reunite the star crossed lovers.
White Snake 白蛇缘起 (Amp Wong & Ji Zhao, 98 min)
From Light Chaser Animation, one of China’s premiere animation studios, comes a visually stunning new take on a classic legend. One day a young woman named Blanca is saved by Xuan, a snake catcher from a nearby village. She has lost her memory, and together they go on a journey to discover her real identity, developing deeper feelings for one another along the way. But as they learn more about her past, they uncover a darker plot of supernatural forces vying for power, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Conceived as a prequel to one of the most ancient and enduring stories in Chinese history, White Snake presents a sumptuous tale of trickster demons, deadly mythical beasts, assassins, wuxia action, and the promise of eternal love.
FILM SERIES & SPECIAL SCREENINGS
Happy Together 春光乍泄 (Wong Kar-wai, 99 min, 1997)
Screens on 11/13 at New York Public Library – Seward Park Branch
Yiu Fai and Po Wing left Hong Kong for a great waterfall in South America, but in the end are stuck on the streets of Buenos Aires. Yiu Fai’s life takes on a new spin, while Po Wing’s life shatters continually in contrast. (Chinese dialogue, English subtitles). A 16mm film screening.
The Wedding Banquet 喜宴 (Ang Lee, 106 min, 1993)
Screens on 11/19 at Quad Cinema
Gay landlord Wai-Tung Gao (Winston Chon) agrees to marry his tenant Wei-Wei (May Chin), a struggling artist, to appease his socially conservative parents back in Taiwan and help grant her a green card. It’s a win-win until Mr. and Mrs. Gao announce a trip to America and the faux couple have to orchestrate a full-blown wedding extravaganza to keep his family from finding about the marriage of convenience—and Wai-Tung’s inconvenient live-in boyfriend Simon (Mitchell Lichtenstein). This touching and riotously funny comedy of manners set a new standard for both Asian-American and LGBTQ representation onscreen, and marked the second of many fruitful collaborations between director Ang Lee and writer/producer James Schamus. Q&A with co-writer/producer James Schamus
The Farewell 别告诉她 (Lulu Wang, 100 min, 2019, )
Screens on 11/24 at Metrograph
Writer-director Wang draws from her own life experience in this funny, frank, and heartfelt diaspora drama, a Sundance sensation starring Crazy Rich Asians’ Awkwafina. Chinese-American writer Billi, en route to a family reunion to Gangchun, must unhappily play along with her parents’ plan to conceal a terminal cancer diagnosis from her beloved grandmother. A breakout performance for Awkwafina, who reveals a real capacity for pathos in this culture-clash tragicomedy. Q&A with Lulu Wang and Alison Willmore.
Xiao Wu 小武 (Jia Zhangke, 110 min, 1997)
Screens on 11/26 at MoMA
Small-town pickpocket Xiao Wu struggles to gain a foothold in a rapidly modernizing world. While his old gang buddies have found fortune as entrepreneurs in the new marketplace, Xiao Wu sticks to his old trade and gradually finds himself deserted by everyone he once knew.
The Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) brings the best of a broad selection of Asian World cinema to Los Angeles in order to draw greater recognition to the region’s wealth of filmmakers, strengthening ties between the Asian and Hollywood film industries.
Centerpiece: Meiduo (Guan Xi, 2017)
Screens on 11/10 at ArcLight Cinemas – Culver City
Traumatized by the tragic death of a Syrian boy, war journalist Meido returns to China to shoot a documentary in Tibet. During the two-month shoot, she not only finds herself deeply entangled in a love affair with Dawa, a Tibetan man and Monk-to-be, but is forced to face her inner demons of death and destiny when she discovers a wild “wolf boy” Suo Hua in the forest. Wading through the dense mystery of Tibetan highland, Meido forges ahead against all the odds on her journey of soul- searching that breaks, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.
Official Selections: Ne Zha (Jiao Zi, 2019, 110 min)
Screens on 11/12 at ArcLight Cinemas – Culver City
A young boy, Nezha, is birthed from a heavenly pearl by the Primeval Lord of Heaven. Born with unique powers, Nezha finds himself as an outcast who is hated and feared. Destined by prophecy to bring destruction to the world, the young boy must choose between good and evil in order to break the shackles of fate and become the hero.
Signature Screening – Wu Tian Ming Tribute
One of the most important figures in Chinese film industry in the 1980s, Wu Tianming entered the Xi’an Film Studio as an actor in 1960. Wu studied in the Department of Film Directing at the Beijing Film Academy from 1974 to 1976. He was elected as the Director of the Xi’an Film Studio in 1983.
River Without Buoys 没有航标的河流 (Wu Tianming, 1984, 86 min)
Life 人生 (Wu Tianming, 1984)
The Old Well 老井 (Wu Tianming, 1987, 130 min)