The China Stars Showcase series returned to the 43rd annual Seattle International Film Festival for the second year, presenting twelve feature films along with five short films from students of the Beijing Film Academy.
With support from WASA North America Group and Hainan Airlines to foster cross-cultural exchange and artistic vision, the China Stars Showcase features stories that range from thriller (Evil Minds) to family friendly comedy (Tea Pets), familial obligations (Knife in the Clear Water) to a fantastic discovery of an inter-dimensional portal (The Door). The twelve films in the selection reflect the breadth of independent films in China today.
Curated by SIFF film programmers Beth Barrett, Dustin Kaspar, and Mr. Eugene Zhang of WASA North America Group, the China Stars Showcase will also include an archival presentation of Love and Duty presented alongside a live accompaniment by Donald Sosin as well as the newest film by legendary actress YI Qin, The Beautiful Kokonor Lake. The full China Stars Showcase can be found below.
The Beautiful Kokonor Lake
d. XING-HAO Shen | China 2017 | 98 min
Inspired by the true stories of the difficult construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, 95-year-old Chinese film icon YI Qin wrote, produced, and stars in this romantic drama about a pair of courageous meteorological engineers who fall in love with the region.
The Door | North American Premiere
d. DONG Liang | China 2017 | 104 min
A working-class auto mechanic discovers a magical door to an alternate world in which his life choices made him a wealthy playboy who seemingly has it all. Fantastical comic moments lead to self-reflection as he discovers that cross-dimensional existence has its problems.
d. XIE Dongshen | China 2017 | ~100 min
In this suspenseful, action-packed thriller, criminal profiler Fang Mu (Li Yifeng) is renowned for his gifted insights, but when a police detective brings him in to solve a bizarre campus murder, it proves to be a case that may be too much even for his skills.
Father and Son
d. YUAN Weidong | China 2017 | ~100 min
A young businessman fakes his own father’s death in order to collect condolence money to repay some menacing gangsters, but the plan goes from crafty to farcical when his ex-military father returns “from the dead” to help.
Free and Easy
d. JUN Geng | China 2016 | 99 min
A soap-peddling shyster lands in a desolate northern China factory town filled with idiosyncratic con artists in Jen Geng’s deadpan Jarmusch-style satire, winner of the Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision at the Sundance Film Festival.
God of War
d. Gordon Chan | China 2017 | 130 min
A period war action film about how Chinese general Qi Jiguang defeated Japanese pirates that proliferated along the Chinese coastline during 16th century.
Have a Nice Day
d. LIU Jian | China 2017 | 77 min
Driver Xiao Zhang robs one million dollars from his boss in order to fix his girlfriend’s failed plastic surgery, but he is soon faced with a bigger predicament when a hitman, a gangster and a robber go after him and the money.
Knife in the Clear Water | US Premiere
d. WANG Xuebo | China 2016 | 93 min
The hauntingly beautiful fable of an elderly farmer in China’s primarily Muslim Ningxia province who finds that affection for his beloved bull makes it impossible to sacrifice the animal in a religious ceremony―until the bull inexplicably stops eating.
Love and Duty
d. WANCANG Bu | China 1931 | 153 min
Chinese silent film icon Ruan Lingyu, frequently called the Greta Garbo of Shanghai, stars in this newly restored edition of one of the biggest films of early Chinese cinema, a decades-spanning romantic drama about a woman who pays dearly for following her heart. With live accompaniment by Donald Sosin.
The Song of Cotton
d. ZHU Yuancheng | China 2016 | 90 min
After accepting the job as a full time caretaker for an ex-boxer who suffers from senile dementia, a young woman develops a close bond with her patient. A heartfelt drama based on a short story by National Book Award-winning author Ha Jin.
Soul on a String
d. ZHANG Yang | China 2016 | 142 min
A compassionate Buddhist embarks on a mystical quest through Tibet, pursued by black-market traders and a man hell-bent on vengeance. Along the way they encounter mysterious travelers, among them a loyal elf, a lovestruck woman, and a mute psychic.
d. Gary Wang | China 2017 | 93 min
Popping off the screen with vivacious colors and beautifully composed action sequences, a group of tea pets―cute clay figurines that are good-luck charms for tea drinkers―embark on a magical animated adventure to find a fabled mystic.
Short Films from Beijing Film Academy Students
d. SUN Yiran and XU Jiyao | China 2017 | 8 min
d. FU Yan and FU Chao | China 2017 | 11 min
Free Throw Line
d. ZHANG Yixin | China 2017 | 7 min
I Come From Prairie
d. Nuhan Arisbek | China 2017 | 8 min
d. LI Yifan | China 2017 | 7 min
Seattle International Film Festival is pleased to present the following awards at the China Stars Award Ceremony on Friday, June 9th at the Seattle Pan Pacific Hotel.