A new generation of Chinese filmmakers has caught international attention with their creative inspiration and invigorating craft. The 42nd Hong Kong International Film Festival is pleased to present “Chinese Cinema Now”, introducing four outstanding films from promising Chinese directors, including The Widowed Witch, winner of Hivos Tiger Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam, and The Taste of Rice Flower, selected in the Venice Days section at the Venice Film Festival.
The Widowed Witch, the debut feature of young director CAI Chengjie, blends wry cynicism and magic realism in a tragic yet absurd tale of a widow who rebrands herself as a shaman. In a mix of monochrome and color images, the film’s skilful examination of superstition and the moral vacuum in the impoverished part of China won the Hivos Tiger Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam. Winner of Venice Days Fedeora award with his debut feature Underground Fragrance (2015), director PENG Fei returned to Venice Days in 2017 with his sophomore The Taste of Rice Flower. Through a luminous and lyrically resonant story of a city woman returning to her Dai home village, the film contemplates the hybrid culture and values emerging from minority communities, where tradition and modernity collide.
Sharing their passions for filmmaking are two talented directors who are both winners of the inaugural Early Bird New Directors Film Fund of the Hong Kong International Film Festival. JIANG Jiachen, in his directional debut Looking for Lucky, sets his rousing dog-and-man comedy in his hometown of Shenyang. Full of humour and lively repartee, the film delivers a biting satire on every conceivable illness in modern society, along with an endearing father-and-son relationship. WANG Qiang’s winner at the Shanghai International Film Festival, Sunshine that Can Move Mountains tells the tale of a young Tibetan monk facing the dilemma between faith and love. Combining spiritual musings and nature’s beauty, the film is a poignant portrait of the Tibetans’ defense of a vanishing culture and sacred traditions.
In addition, brilliant works from young Chinese directors are selected in competition for the HKIFF Firebird Awards. Three films selected in the Young Cinema Competition include Angels Wear White, with which Vivian QU won the Golden Horse Award for Best Director; Girls Always Happy, directed by Beijinger YANG Mingming, unfolds an intricate mother-daughter relationship; and Wangdrak’s Rain Boots, Lhapal GYAL’s empathetic tale of a Tibetan child’s aspiration. Selected in the Documentary Competition is JIN Xinzheng’s Mama, which grapples with the problems of a changing China through a loving mother’s sad story.