REVIEW: Jia Nian Hua [Angels Wear White] [2018]

“There’s other ways to pay” Let’s think about the title to Vivian Qu‘s sophomore effort Jia Nian Hua [Angels Wear White] because the meaning goes far beyond the words themselves. On the surface it’s simply describing religious iconography and the idea that angels wear flowing white linens with halos on heads and harps in hands. […]

REVIEW: 悲兮魔兽 [Bei xi mo shou] [Behemoth] [2016]

“A land of deathly silence” There’s just one thing missing from Liang Zhao‘s visually masterful documentary 悲兮魔兽 [Bei xi mo shou] [Behemoth] and it’s a before image of what this wasteland of coal and rock used to be before God’s beast was unleashed. This creature—as represented by the industrial machine—devours the mountains of Mongolia, exploding […]

REVIEW: 天注定 [A Touch of Sin] [2013]

“Hunting animals” Winner of Best Screenplay at the 2013 Festival de Cannes, Chinese writer/director Zhangke Jia‘s latest work 天注定 [A Touch of Sin] is a sprawling drama depicting his country’s contemporary struggles amidst its ever-growing economy. While we’d love to say how more money and financial success is crucial to finding increased peace and harmony […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: 倭寇的踪迹 [The Sword Identity] [2012]

“What else can we do for fun?” With his screenplay for The Grandmasters coming to the big screen next year by Wong Kar Wai, writer/director Haofeng Xu gives us the first taste of his creativity with an adaptation of his own novella, 倭寇的踪迹 [The Sword Identity]. A mix of comical playfulness and serious martial arts, […]

BNFF11 REVIEW: The Floating Shadow [2012]

“I’ll only bring you bad luck” Throw the preconceptions that China would be unwilling to fund a project with dark subject matter such as rape and murder in a contemporary, non-feudal way out the window. According to writer/director Jia Dong Shuo, as long as you have a unique idea to bring to artistic fruition, finances […]

REVIEW: 三槍拍案驚奇 [A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop] [2010]

“You are such a wimp, the biggest I’ve ever seen” A prolific director in China, Yimou Zhang found an audience in America with the wonderful Hero and his follow-up House of Flying Daggers. Curse of the Golden Flower came next with its stunning visuals but lackluster storyline that left me cold and uninterested, thinking perhaps […]

TIFF10 REVIEW: 精武風雲-陳真 [Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen] [2010]

“Chinese are not sick men of East Asia” For a director whose only other film I’ve seen is the amazing Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s (no, not star Andy Lau) admittance to Bruce Lee being his ‘super idol’ while introducing his newest work 精武風雲-陳真 [Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen] at the Toronto […]

REVIEW: 色, 戒 [Lust, Caution] [2007]

“I have a mission” I can’t stand American film distributors and how they handle foreign films. With their money-scheming minds, they give us movie trailers without any dialogue, trying their best to disguise the fact that the work is not in English. If they don’t let us hear a strange language or show a single […]