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The Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

In 1920s Shanghai, hero Chen Zhen single-handedly avenges his mentor’s death by killing all the Japanese at a dojo in Hongkou, only to be showered with bullets while making his legendary flying kick. Now, years later, Chen Zhen, who is believed dead, returns in disguise to infiltrate a criminal empire and to dismantle the evil collusion that plagues the country. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

Mojin: The Lost Legend

At the beginning of the 1990s, famous tomb explorer Hu Bayi decided to retire and move to the United States with his fiancée Shirley. But before his wedding, Bayi discovers his first love Ding Shitian, who supposedly had died in the “One Hundred Cave” 20 years ago, is actually still alive. Together with Shirley and his old exploration partner, Bayi unravels a terrible millennium-old secret…

Breakup Buddies

About to be divorced, GENG Hao (HUANG Bo) is devastated; his best friend HAO Yi (XU Zheng) in an attempt to cheer him up decides to take him on a road trip “hunting” for beautiful women. Between the two of them, one has “divorce phobia” while the other deals with his midlife crisis in the most absurd ways. The film uses these two extreme representations to explore the many social phobias and phenomenons in modern China: internet addiction, subcultures’ inability communicate amongst themselves, love phobia, midlife crisis, violence/mania, etc. As our buddy duo encounters a vast array of characters showing each of these problems, the film brings up an interesting question: Does an impromptu road trip, such as the one that GENG and HAO are undertaking, solve their social problems? Or maybe they should just give up “treatment” altogether?

No Man’s Land (Wu Ren Qu)

‘This is a story about animals’, announces the hero of this film, a lawyer named Pan Xiao who comes from the big city. And indeed the next things to appear are two proud falcons that have been caught illegally in the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang province. Birds like these bring a great deal of cash – if you ignore the law, that is. Greed is the driving force of this story, and Pan Xiao, who has to travel 500 kilometres across this rocky desert for the next trial, its driven protagonist. During his trip he finds himself beset by chance acquaintances, who are as grotesque as they are dangerous, and mysterious fellow travellers who have no qualms about using force. Director Ning Hao, whose film Mongolian Ping Pong screened in the Forum at the 2005 Berlinale, has created in No Man’s Land a visually compelling, philosophical parable about a society which has run completely off the rails, a society which knows no morals when it comes to the scramble for wealth and power. Conceived as an homage to the Italian Western à la Sergio Leone, the film also makes good use of its bleak and rugged desert location to convey the inner world of its protagonists. (Synopsis courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival)

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons

Demon hunter Chen Xuanzhang (Wen Zhang) believes that he can purify any demon through love. However, his belief is shaken when his attempt to defeat a demon fish ends in a family’s death and a victory for violent demon hunter Duan (Shu Qi). After getting encouragement from his master, Xuanzhang soldiers on to hunting down a demonic hog with the help of Duan, who has fallen in love with Xuanzhang. Despite help from other demon hunters, the hog gets away. As a last resort, Xuanzhang and Duan turn to the help of Sun Wukong (Huang Bo), who has been imprisoned for five centuries for his crimes in heaven.