Zhao Liang’s most recent film Behemoth combines a poetic apocalyptic vision with documentary footage from Inner Mongolia. Zhao Liang’s camera surveys landscapes that have been destroyed in order to fuel China’s breakneck urbanisation, which itself appears as a shimmering, uninhabitable fantasy.
Guo Hengqi’s New Castle is an unflinching documentary of the changes wrought by urbanisation in a remote mountain village in Shanxi Province sustained by local mining operations. The first part of New Castle focuses on the miners who have come from different parts of the country looking for work. In the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as part of the campaign to clean up pollution, mines are closed and the miners sent back home.
Bi Gan’s brilliant directorial debut is an audacious work that announces a 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.
Tharlo is 40, and has a remarkable memory that allows him to recite Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. He lives a quiet life alone in the Tibetan mountains with his hundreds of sheep. But his life turns upside down when he is asked to go to the city to have a photo taken for his first ID card. The photographer sends him to a young and pretty hairdresser who soon shows interest in him and his ponytail.
A bizarre epidemic has broken out in Taipei and the city is under quarantine. The rain is unrelenting. After a repairman accidently drills a hole in the floor of an apartment, two neighbours become intimately aware of the other’s presence. The 'hole' opens a space of threat, intrigue, communication, and fantasy. Only Tsai Ming-liang can find a way to make a gorgeous, depressing, and campy musical on being alone while next to someone.
Gu Tao has spent the past decade documenting the life worlds of the Ewenki people in northeast China, an ethnic minority group of herders and hunters who migrated from Siberia centuries ago to live nomadically in the thick forests of Inner Mongolia.
For twelve months of the year, fifty men are locked on one floor of an isolated asylum, having little contact with the outside world, even medical staff. Each has been committed for different reasons: some have psychological problems, some have killed people, others have upset certain local officials. But once inside, they share the same empty life, walking along the same wire-fenced courtyard, looking for comfort and humanity.
The Cremator is a daring and compelling drama about Cao, a middle-aged bachelor crematorium worker. Outwardly he is an ordinary employee, but he secretly runs a side-line business as a ‘ghost matchmaker’, conducting a clandestine trade in unidentified women’s corpses to posthumously marry them with deceased unmarried men.
Set against the spectacular landscape of the Three Gorges region, Jia Zhangke's humane and moving Golden Lion winner tells two contemplative and compassionate stories of a man and a woman searching for absent spouses in Fengjie - an ancient town on the Yangtze River which is being demolished and will soon vanish forever in the flooding caused by the controversial Three Gorges hydroelectric dam project.