#HIFF38 Spotlight: Films from auteurs and new talents comprise SPOTLIGHT ON CHINA

By HIFF | November 01, 2018

SPOTLIGHT ON CHINA is our annual New Chinese cinema section, presenting a varied array of films from the Middle Kingdom. As China becomes the eventual number 1 film market in the world, it is more relevant than ever to showcase arthouse and indie films that are being pushed out by big budget fare. With this year’s spotlight, the Festival is honored to present the Hawaii premieres of ASH IS PUREST WHITE, the latest from Jia Zhangke, and LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, the second feature from festival darling Bi Gan. Both films had their premieres at Cannes. Other films include Zhang Yimou’s return to martial arts historical epics SHADOW, which opens HIFF38 and THE UNITY OF HEROES, a return to old school wuxia character Wong Fei Hung.

Finally, the Festival is also presenting new Hong Kong films and hosting famed Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai as this year’s Filmmaker in Focus.

Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke's most serious foray into the gangster genre since A TOUCH OF SIN, is a winding tale of love, disillusionment and survival. Spanning twenty years in the life of Qiao, a young gangster’s moll to Bin, who in a means to protect him from a rival gang’s attack, shoots a gun in the air. She is soon sent to prison. Five years later, Qiao is released and goes looking for him only to realize the world has radically changed and left her behind.


Luo Hongwu returns to Kaili, the hometown from which he fled several years ago. He begins the search for the woman he loved (Tang Wei), and whom he has never been able to forget. Continuing his languorous noir motif, Bi Gan’s second feature is the epitome of “slow cinema” that culminates in an incredible one shot take in 3-D. The young auteur stretches the parameters of narrative structure to create a feature length mood piece with a first person VR-like experience.


Late Qing Dynasty. The East India Company produces a narcotic even more dangerous than opium by conducting human testing. These secret tests come to light when one of the test subjects, Vile Face, crashes into Po Chi Lam, Wong Fei Hung’s medicine clinic. Wong decides to take in Vile Face, causing the the Company to use whatever means necessary to try to get rid of him. In the face of foreign and domestic enemies, can Wong stop the spread of this dangerous narcotic in time?


Yuan Yuan is a successful fashion designer in China. Having reached middle age, she has made her mark in the fashion world, but has never met that special someone and settled down. One day at the launch of her new fashion line, a mysterious young Japanese girl appears. While their communication is poor, the two seem to strike an instant bond. Could this girl be her connection to a mysterious past life, lost love, and a sake brewery in Hokkaido?


After his son disappears, a mute drifter returns to his desolate hometown in search of answers, but becomes embroiled in a conspiracy of violence and corruption at the heart of the region’s coal industry. Stylishly-blending film noir with the spaghetti western, emerging director Yukun Xin crafts a kinetic action thriller set amongst the arid landscapes of Northern China. Essential viewing for genre fans.

View the entire SPOTLIGHT ON CHINA section

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