New York is Jam-packed with Great Chinese Films This Month, Here’s What to See

Call yourselves lucky, New Yorkers. So much to see this month: “New Noir: Chinese Crime Films;” Jackie Chan’s 1995 revival; Christopher Doyle’s homage to Hong Kong; Feng Xiaogang’s ‘Youth;’Wang Nanfu’s ‘I am Another You;’ and more….

Official still of ‘Black Coal Thin Ice’

Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street

Black Coal Thin Ice《白日焰火》 (Dir. Diao Yinan, 110 min, China, 2014)

Friday, September 22, 7 PM

Thursday, October 5, 2PM, 4:30PM, 7PM, 9:30PM

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. Screens as part of the series New Noir Chinese Crime Films, part of the Creative China Festival which features art, film, and design programs from September – November. Watch trailer HERE.

The Coffin in the Mountain《心迷宫》 (Dir. Xin Yukun, 119 min, China, 2014)

Saturday, September 23, 7 PM

When a burnt body is discovered in the vicinity of a mountain village, the search is on to discover how it got there. Xin employs a chopped-up timeline to deepen the mystery in his riddle of a film, an unflinching depiction of provincial imprisonment which begins with Zongyao (Wang Xiaotian), the son of the village chief, struggling to free himself from family ties before opening up to multiple perspectives in a series of surprising metamorphosis. Screens as part of the series New Noir Chinese Crime Films, part of the Creative China Festival. Watch trailer HERE.

The Dead End《烈日灼心》(Dir. Cao Baoping, 139 min, China, 2015)

Sunday, September 24, 7 PM

Based on a novel by Xu Yigua, nail-biting morality play The Dead End focuses on three men—cop Deng Chao, cab driver Guo Tao, and recluse Gao Hu—haunted by shared guilt over their role in an unsolved crime. When Deng’s new boss revives the cold case, however, they find they have more to worry about than their consciences, and the co-conspirators will have to try to maintain their composure as the net of the investigation draws tighter and tighter. An acute study of men under impossible pressure, with Dostoevskian undertones. Screens as part of the series New Noir Chinese Crime Films, part of the Creative China Festival.

Hong Kong Trilogy《香港三部曲》 (Dir. Christopher Doyle, 90 min, Hong Kong, 2015)

September 22 through September 27

For years Hong Kong was the beating heart of Chinese pop cinema, but reunification with the Mainland in 1997 upset the delicate balance that had fostered the city’s genius, and it has been a city in transition ever since. Who better to track that transition than Christopher Doyle, longtime residents, Wong Kar-wai’s frequent cinematographer, and a man with a sure-shot eye for the telling detail? Doyle creates sweet, richly textured, free-flowing portraits of a bevy of unforgettable characters, here just in time for the Umbrella Movement’s anniversary. Watch trailer HERE.

Youth《芳华》(Dir. Feng Xiaogang, 137 min, China, 2017)

Opens on Friday, September 29 [CANCELLED]

Official still of ‘Youth’Following his acclaimed comedy ‘I Am Not Madame Bovary,’ popular Mainland director Feng Xiaogang plunges into the still-painful memory of the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, telling a decades-spanning tale that begins with a People’s Liberation Army arts troupe touring the provinces. Watch trailer HERE.

Sunshine Cinema, 143 E Houston Street

Rumble in the Bronx (Dir. Stanley Tong, 106 min, USA, 1996)

September 22 & 23

Still: ‘Rumble in the Bronx’

The 1995 film that brought Jackie Chan to the American consciousness sees him as a Hong Kong police officer visiting New York to celebrate his uncle’s wedding but runs into trouble with the criminal underworld. Watch trailer HERE.

Quad Cinema, 34 W 13th Street

I Am Another You (Dir. Wang Nanfu, 80 min, USA, 2017)

Opens on September 27

Official still of ‘I Am Another You’

Eating garbage, dodging police, and hitching rides with strangers, award-winning Chinese filmmaker Nanfu Wang (‘Hooligan Sparrow’) shares the streets with a young drifter named Dylan who left a comfortable home and loving family for a life of intentional homelessness. Winner, Special Jury Award, SXSW Film Festival. Watch trailer HERE.

Museums & Institutions & Others

Farewell My Concubine – Peking Opera 3D Film (Dir. Teng Junjie, 102 min, China, 2015)

September 22 & 23, Crosby Street Hotel, 79 Crosby Street

Peking Opera film ‘Farewell My Concubine‘ is Directed by China’s respected director Junjie Teng and starring China’s most famous Peking Opera masters Changrong Shang and Yihong Shi, Peking Opera film Farewell My Concubine translates stage performance onto the big screen and showcases  a classic Beijing Opera masterpiece beams with new vigor when meets modern-day technology, The film ranked first on the list of China’s Best 3D Feature Films in 2014, the highest recognition for 3D films in China. The film also won the ‘Golden Lumiere Award’ in Los Angeles in 2015, the first time for a Chinese film. In September 2016, the film won the ‘Tripod Award’ in Hong Kong.

Honor and Duty: The Mississippi Delta Chinese 

Sunday, September 24, 3 PM, 21 Pell Street

An enlightening documentary about the Chinese community in the heart of the Deep South. This film not only highlights the contributions of the Chinese Delta families, but also reveals the immigrant experience in America. Chinese families across the Delta opened grocery stores that served both the black and white populations. Subsequently, it reveals how 182 Chinese men from the Delta participated in all aspects of the US war effort in WWII, and concludes by documenting the contributions of the Chinese Delta families to the state of Mississippi and beyond as their children became doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and many other types of professionals in the contemporary era. Watch trailer HERE.

Connection by Fate 《超級公民》 (Dir. Wan Jen, 113 min, China, 1998)

Wednesday, September 27, 12:30 PM, Hunter College, 912 Lexington Avenue

Ma Le, a young aboriginal man, came to Taipei alone to earn a living on construction sites. However, unable to bear the exploitation, Ma Le accidentally killed a site superintendent and was sentenced to death. A-Te, a taxi driver used to be a social movement fanatic, gave Ma Le a ride in his taxi on the night that Ma Le committed the killing and their two fates were thereafter intertwined. Followed by a panel discussion with the director, curators, moderated by Fang Dai, Associate Professor of Dept. of Classical and Oriental Studies, Hunter College and Joel Zuker, Professor of Dept. of Film and Media Studies, Hunter College.

Wawa No Cidal (Children of the Sun)《太陽的孩子》  (Dir. Cheng Yu-chieh, 99 min, Taiwan, 2015)

Thursday, September 28, 2 – 5:10 PM, Room 203 Butler Library, Columbia University

Panay worked in the city as a journalist. One day, she found her tribe had been overdeveloped and changed by tourism. They were losing their land and their culture, so she decided to return home to bring back the abandon terrace. In this process, she found it’s not only about the land, but also about who she really is. Followed by a talk on “Minorities’ Self-representation and Identity Construction: Indigenous People as a Case Study” by curators, moderated by Ying Qian, Assistant Professor of Dept. of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

Bitter Harvest: The Chinese American Roots of Craft Beer

Thursday, September 28, 6:30 PM, Museum of Chinese in America

Portland, Oregon is widely known as the craft beer capital, but did you know that Chinese immigrant workers helped launch the craft beer industry? Join MOCA for a screening of Bitter Harvest, a short documentary in three parts, each telling the story of the Chinese immigrant workers who helped found Oregon’s craft beer industry. Each video will be accompanied by commentary from the documentary maker, Ivy Lin, who will offer further insights on the role of Chinese workers in the creation of the West Coast wine and beer industry. Watch trailer HERE.


Coming up:

  • The film series, Martial Law and After: Reflection of the 30th Anniversary of the End of Martial Law in Taiwan Cinema, which examines how the martial law period affected life in Taiwan, continues.
  • September 30 & October 1, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York launchs the First Mid-Autumn Film Festival.
  • October 13 – “Turn It On: China on Film, 2000–2017,” a series of Chinese documentary films cocurated by Ai Weiwei and Wang Fen, will run for ten weeks at the Guggenheim Museum.

Outside of New York:

  •  The DC Chinese Film Festival  runs from September 21 – 24 and includes a special program that highlights four waves of Chinese language films during the 80s and 90s. The official lineup includes Farewell My Concubine by Chen Kaige,  Suzhou River by Lou Ye, The Sandwich Man by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Taipei Story by Edward Yang, etc.


–A version of this article originally appeared on Beyond Chinatown