The Hamptons

Chinese Cinema Takes Center Stage at 22nd Hamptons International Film Festival

theater + film :: The Hamptons International Film Festival

The Hampton’s International Film Festival (HIFF) will place an unprecedented focus on Chinese cinema this year, presenting five films directed by critically acclaimed filmmakers – including one of the most influential Chinese directors Zhang Yimou (HERO, RAISE THE RED LANTERN)—along with discussion event featuring Academy Award®-winning actress Hilary Swank, renowned producer, screenwriter, and director Joel Schumacher, and Daniel J. Victor – producer of BLACK COAL, THIN ICE, one of the biggest art house hits in China.

Three of the films featured in the Focus on Chinese Cinema Series will make their U.S. premieres at the festival, including COMING HOME directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li (MEMOIRS OF GEISHA, MIAMI VICE), FANTASIA directed by Wang Chao, and RED AMNESIA directed by Wang Xiaoshuai. Making its New York debut, Director Hu Wei will present the short film BUTTER LAMP about a photographer that weaves through unique links among nomadic families creating a rich tapestry of the past, present and future. The 16-minute short drama THE WAY HOME, directed by Ting Song, follows the story of a man that struggles to care for his aging father who he locks inside a house and attempts to hide away.

China is the world’s second largest film market with box office revenues of RMB 21.6 billion ($3.17 billion) in 2013, a 27% jump from 2012 according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Massive cinema growth in the country in recent years has helped boost box office sales: according to the MPAA, there are seven new cinemas opening in China each day. The country’s box office receipts are expected to surpass that in the U.S. by 2018, according to IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond.

On Friday, October 10th at 3:30pm, HIFF will present the U.S. premiere of COMING HOME – a story about a man who struggles to adjust to the changes after returning home from being imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution. The premiere will be followed by a special panel on the changing cinematic climate in China with Academy Award®-nominated writer/producer James Schamus, Jeff Sharp, President/CEO of Story Mining & Supply Co., and moderator La Frances Hui, curator at Asia Society New York. The Focus on Chinese Cinema Brunch will honor Academy Award®-winning actress Hilary Swank and renowned producer, screenwriter, and director Joel Schumacher on Saturday, October 11th at 1:00pm in East Hampton. The brunch will include a 30-minute business panel moderated by Jonathan Landreth (Editor of ChinaFile) with guests Jeff Sharp and Daniel J. Victor – producer of BLACK COAL, THIN ICE one of the biggest art house hits in China.

The extensive focus on Chinese films this year was arranged with the support of the China Consulate of New York and aims to highlight the best in contemporary mainland cinema. The history of Chinese cinema is deep and diverse as the country itself, from the glorious silent melodramas to the visually exquisite films of Fifth Generation filmmakers to today’s crop of big-budget spectacles and provocative independent films.

Among those expected to attend the Festival are Patricia Clarkson, Laura Dern, Mark Ruffalo, Joel Schumacher, Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Julianne Moore, Bennett Miller, Bill Murray, Jean-Marc Vallée, Oren Moverman, Jake Paltrow, Kaitlyn Dever, Lola Kirke, Tye Sheridan, Bruce Greenwood, Al Maysles, Iris Apfel, Ann Dowd, Rory Culkin, Riz Ahmed, Jaeden Lieberher and many more.


After years of imprisonment during the Cultural Revolution, Lu returns home to his loving wife Feng to find that she is suffering from amnesia and no longer recognizes him. The harsh reality of lost time and the trauma endured has left Feng longing for the past, while Lu desperately and patiently remains by her side hoping for a future together. Reuniting with his longtime leading lady, the exceptional and captivating Gong Li, master filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s COMING HOME is a timeless tale of a couple’s heartbreak and devotion paralleled by the countries own attempts to
reconcile with its past.


In this quiet melodrama from acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Wang Chao, a family’s trials and tribulations begin to overwhelm them after the patriarch’s sudden illness renders him ill equipped to work. With its specific setting—in southwest China, in a city named Chongqing—and its muted colors and style, FANTASIA is a brilliant portrait of an
ever-changing environment and its effects on a family unit. Coupled with Wang Chao’s seamless storytelling, FANTASIA stands apart as a rarefied achievement yet universal as heartfelt drama.


Master filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai (BEIJING BICYCLE) thrusts us deep into contemporary China with a powerful generational portrait of one family’s struggle to reconcile their past, present, and everchanging future. Deng, a
retired widow, attempts to connect with her two grown sons despite their lack of interest and dismissal of her more traditional family dynamics. Life slowly erodes around her until mysterious, anonymous phone calls stir up the family’s history and foreshadow a breaking point for all involved. Simultaneously subtle and edgy, RED AMNESIA is a scintillating thriller deftly exploring the personal and political.

About Our Local International Festival

The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) is a year-round 501(c)3 non-profit organization with events, screenings, film workshops, comprehensive summer programs and an annual film festival each October. The Festival is the premiere film event on New York State’s east end, and is an intimate showcase of some of the year’s best offerings in contemporary cinema from aroundthe world. With cash and in-kind prizes handed out totaling more than $190,000, HIFF continues to attract some of the best films of the year. Selections from all of our programs continue to play an important role during awards season. 2013 marked the 5th time in the last 6 years that a film at the Festival has become the eventual Best Picture winner at the Oscars, making HIFF the only Festival on the East Coast with such a distinction. In those 6 years, films screened in the festival have received 150 Oscar nominations.

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October 8th, 2014 Posted by | theater & film | no comments