People’s Republic of Desire
People’s Republic of Desire

The Seattle International Film Festival continues to feature the diverse artistic visions and cultural richness in Chinese cinema by showcasing 10 feature films from Mainland China in the third China Stars showcase.  The 44th Seattle International Film Festival will feature films from five female directors and five first-time directors, with many of the filmmakers scheduled to attend.

The China Star Showcase features a range of films, like SXSW Grand Jury Award Documentary Feature Winner, People’s Republic of Desire, that looks into the universe of online idols that has people replacing their human connections for virtual ones, and director Cathy Yang’s debut feature, Dead Pigs, a comedic picture with quirky characters making their way in Shanghai.

The China Stars Celebration and Awards will be held on Friday, June 8 at the Pan Pacific Hotel, to raise greater awareness of the excellent filmmaking in contemporary Chinese cinema and to promote cross-cultural exchange with all Festival filmmakers.

China Stars films include:

People’s Republic of Desire
Director: Hao Wu | China 2018 | 95 min

Take a fascinating journey inside China’s digital idol-making universe, where individuals morph into improbable online celebrities, captivating millions of viewers and earning hundreds of thousands of dollars by soliciting donations in exchange for virtual connection. Winner of the documentary Grand Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival.

Angels Wear White 
Director: Vivian Qu | China/France 2017 | 107 min

Writer-director Vivian Qu depicts how China’s corrupt system is stacked against women in this #MeToo potboiler that follows a young woman who witnesses a local official’s assault against two schoolgirls, leading to a complex aftermath of cover-ups and gas-lighting.

Girls Always Happy (North American Premiere)
Director: Mingming Yang | China 2018 | 117 min

In her bitingly funny feature debut, filmmaker Yang Mingming plays a young college graduate stuck living at home with her mother, where parent and child exchange increasingly sarcastic barbs about everything from marriage to money to table manners, without realizing that they are much more alike than they care to admit.

Dead Pigs
Director: Cathy Yan | China/USA 2018 | 130 min

Five Shanghai residents—a haggard pig farmer, a stubborn salon owner, a deceptive busboy, a foreign architect, and a brittle rich girl—find their lives converging amidst the backdrop of a mysterious river of dead swine (a real-life event) in Chinese-American director Cathy Yan’s effervescent cinematic mosaic.

The Taste of Betel Nut (North American Premiere)
Director: Jia Hu | Mainland China/Hong Kong 2017 | 84 min

A polyamorous male couple live a thrillingly free life among the surfers on the tropical coast of Hainan Island until they decide to test the limitations of a restrictive society, and their own sexuality, by becoming romantically entangled with a beautiful young girl.

Wrath of Silence (North American Premiere)
Director: Yukun Xin | China 2017 | 119 min

In this Western-inspired crime thriller set in the Chinese countryside, a laboring family man whose brutal past led to biting his own tongue off in a fight, sets out on a mission of stunningly choreographed violence after his son is kidnapped by a crossbow-wielding, meat-obsessed gangster (Jiang Wu, A Touch of Sin).

Susu (US Premiere)
Director: Yixi Sun | China/United Kingdom 2017 | 106 min

Two Chinese students find themselves in the midst of a chilling gothic tale after they take a weekend job transcribing the archives of a famous Chinese opera star, which sends them to a secluded 16th-century mansion in the British countryside whose strange occupants are hiding gruesome family secrets.

Love Education (North American Premiere)
Director: Sylvia Chang | Mainland China/Taiwan 2017 | 122 min

Taiwanese actress and director Sylvia Chang (Murmur of the Hearts) explores a multi-generational story of love and womanhood in a profound and bittersweet journey that begins when a woman makes a plan to relocate her father’s grave, revealing the romances and betrayals of the past and present.

The Widowed Witch (North American Premiere)
Director: Chengjie Cai | China 2018 | 118 min

A third-time widow who falls on especially hard times is declared cursed, but turns superstition to her advantage by travelling the wintry landscape of rural China and offering supernatural advice, in this modern tale of mysticism told with mordant humor and starkly beautiful cinematography.

The Silk and the Flame (US Premiere)
Director: Jordan Schiele | China/USA 2018 | 100 min

As a teenager, Yao moved from his small village in central China to Beijing, where he embraced life as a gay man. Now approaching middle age, he returns to visit his traditionalist family in this intimate and bittersweet true story told in evocative black and white.

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