When Night Falls

Inspired by the notorious case of a young man’s 2008 murder of six Shanghai police officers, the remarkable new film from independent Chinese auteur Ying Liang focuses on the killer’s mother, as she both struggles to comprehend her son’s heinous act and is persecuted by a state that willfully ignores its own laws. Winner of the Best Director and Actress awards at the Locarno Film Festival. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

The Other Half (2006)

Xiaofen (Zeng Xiaofei) spends all day listening to everything that’s wrong with China, opening her eyes to the chaos that threatens her own life. Working as a secretary for a legal office, Xiaofen records clients detailing the sordid aspects of their lives: divorce cases, medical malpractice suits, financial corruption and old-fashioned personal revenge. Xiaofen starts to question her own relationship with her boyfriend (Deng Gang), fresh out of prison and looking to get into trouble again with his gambling habit. While Xiaofen deals with the overwhelming social malaise surrounding her, rumors spread of a disaster at the local chemical plant, threatening to poison the entire city. Indie director Ying Liang follows up his celebrated debut Taking Father Home with a brutally frank portrait of the social and environmental problems plaguing contemporary China.