Jiang hu er nv
Asian, Drama, Romance
Contemporary World Cinema, Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best Feature Film
Director Jia Zhangke (A Touch of Sin, DFF36; Mountains May Depart, DFF38) tackles the issues that face a transforming China in this jianghu underworld saga about two young criminals who have inherited the violent legacy of the Cultural Revolution—and yet have modeled their morals on 1980s Hong Kong gangster movies.
The steely Qiao (played by Zhao Tao, Jia’s real-life wife) is in love with Bin, a local mobster who fancies himself at the top of his game in 2001. When Bin is brutally attacked by a rival gang, it’s Qiao who fearlessly fires a gun in the middle of a crowded square to drive off her boyfriend’s assailants—and whose loyalty as she refuses to implicate him in the resulting illegal-weapons charges earns her five years in prison.
Yet upon her release, her lover is nowhere to be found. As her search for Bin takes her down the Yangtze River and past villages soon to be flooded thanks to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the ever-resourceful Qiao must draw upon the skills she picked up in prison to make her way through a rapidly changing China.
Pork is the unifying force in modern China—at least according to this now-dark, now-off-the-wall comedy from writer/director Cathy Yan, in which five characters (including a rural pig farmer and a dubious American developer) collide in a contemporary Shanghai showdown.
Three troubled souls in a small Chinese town are united by the rumor of a nihilistic circus elephant in a city not far away. Over the course of a single day, they seek to escape their woes by making a pilgrimage to see their existential hero in this crushing indictment of contemporary society.
There’s honor among thieves. But there isn’t always justice. Renowned Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s piercing, fiercely tender portrayal of a poor but loving family of petty criminals scraping by on borrowed time won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.