For Immediate Release

0Contact: Calvin Chen


114 E 25th St

New York, NY  10010




March 4, 2019 (New York, NY) – CineCina Film Festival is pleased to announce that Lou Ye has been selected as this year’s Director in Focus. On the occasion of the theatrical release of his latest film The Shadow Play in China, CineCina will present his first ever retrospective in North America, titled “Observer of Chinese Desires,” including all of his films from Suzhou River to Blind Massage, five of which will be screened on 35mm.

One of the most prominent Sixth-Generation directors, Lou Ye, along with other renowned filmmakers such as Jia Zhangke and Wang Xiaoshuai, entered the world stage at the beginning of the new millennium. From cinematography and editing, to the use of music, Lou Ye is profoundly influenced by the French New Wave: as Lou Ye liberates the filmmaking process, he also invests his characters with tremendous freedom. His films break the boundaries of nationality, language, and gender. By shooting his characters close up, Lou Ye manages to uncover the desires of their hearts. Be it the homosexual couple in Spring Fever, or the visually impaired in Blind Massage, their desires are not only normal, but also beautiful, even if such beauty may be transient.

In addition to the characters, Lou Ye is also interested in the circumstances that enwrap them— a city (Shanghai, Wuhan, Nanjing), or a period in history (Sino-Japanese war, Chinese economic reform). For him, individual desires and fates are closely linked to social reform and urban transformation. Lou Ye once said in an interview, “If you make a documentary about this period (i.e. Chinese economic reform), you will find that it would be more dramatic than a fictional film, because the reality itself is full of ups and downs.” In the face of such reality, Lou Ye responds with realism. From cityscape in an aerial shot to eyes in a close-up, Lou Ye meticulously documents interpersonal relationships and those between people and cities (e.g. politics, work, family, love); all of them are condensed into triangular relationships and become the foundation of his narrative.

For years, domestic audiences can only find Lou Ye’s films on pirated copies. However, the less-than-satisfactory image quality of these films by no means undermine their charm, as they continue to fascinate countless moviegoers. With distribution rights expiring, it is increasingly difficult to see them overseas. For both first-time viewers and hard-core cinephiles, watching these films on the big screen will be a one-of-a-kind experience.

Our retrospective of Lou Ye celebrates not only his achievements in the art of cinema, but also his insight, sincerity, and courage reflected in his works. The retrospective is also dedicated to Lou Ye’s long-time collaborators: producer Nai An, screenwriter Mei Feng, cinematographer Zeng Jian, actors Qin Hao and Hao Lei, composer Peyman Yazdanian, and especially in memory of the late actor Jia Hongsheng and the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.

For more information, please contact Vina at or Calvin at



Full Line-up:


China ·Germany | 2000 | 83 minutes | 35mm In Mandarin, with English subtitles

Saturday ,April 6th, 6.30 PM, SVA THEATRE (with post-screening discussion)

A motorcycle courier in his mid-twenties is asked to drive the 16-year-old daughter of a smuggler. They fall in love, but when she figures out that he is kidnapping her for a ransom, she jumps into the river, and he is jailed for murder. After his release he meets a dancer —her alter ego.



China ·France | 2003 | 127 minutes | 35mm

In Mandarin and Japanese, with English subtitles

Friday, April 12th, 6.00 PM, SYMPHONY SPACE (with post-screening discussion)

1927, Manchuria. Itami, a young Japanese man, falls deeply in love with Cynthia, a beautiful Chinese girl. Their brief happiness ends when he is called home for his military service and they are forced to part. Returning sorrowfully from the train station where she has bid herlover farewell, Cynthia witnesses her brother’s bloody murder at the hands of Japaneseright-wing extremists. Three years later, Shanghai has been unofficially occupied by Japan. The city is tense, rife with violence and barely contained anarchy. Cynthia — now known as Ding Hui — is working for Purple Butterfly, a resistance group planning to assassinate Yamamoto, head of the Japanese secret service. Itami is also in Shanghai, operating as a secret agent and reporting directly to Yamamoto. Arriving at Shanghai station to meet his fiancée, Szeto, a young Chinese man, is mistaken by the assembled resistance fighters for theassassin they have engaged to eliminate Yamamoto. Violence erupts and Szeto’s fiancée isshot dead in the crossfire. Szeto escapes with the Purple Butterfly members, all of whombelieve him to be the hired killer. Only Ding Hui realizes the truth… Thus three destinies arelinked by chance, and three fates set in tragic motion.



China ·France | 2006 | 140 minutes | 35mm

In Mandarin and German, with English subtitles

Wednesday, April 10th, 4.30 PM, SYMPHONY SPACE (screening with In Shanghai) Saturday, April 13th, 6.30 PM, SVA THEATRE (screening with In Shanghai/, post-screening discussion)

China, 1989. Two young lovers play our their complex, erotic, love/hate relationship against a volatile backdrop of political unrest. Beautiful Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her boyfriend to study in Beijing, where she discovers a world of intense sexual and emotional experimentation, and falls madly in love with fellow student Zhou Wei. Their relationship becomes one of dangerous games, as all around them; their fellow students begin to demonstrate, demanding democracy and freedom.



China ·France | 2009 | 115 minutes | 35mm

In Mandarin, with English subtitles

Friday, April 19th, 8.00 PM, SVA THEATRE (post-screening discussion)

Nanjing, present day, springtime. Wang Ping’s wife suspects him of adultery. She hires Luo Haitao to spy on him and discovers that her husband’s lover is a man, Jiang Cheng. It’s with this man that Luo Haitao and his girlfriend, Li Jing, form a torrid love triangle. For all three,it’s the beginning of asphyxiating, sultry nights of physical abandon that exalt the senses. A sulfurous journey into the confines of jealousy and obsessive love.



China ·France | 2011 | 105 minutes | 35mm

In French and Mandarin, with English subtitles

Monday, April 8th, 8.30 PM, SYMPHONY SPACE

Hua, a young teacher from Beijing, is a recent arrival in Paris. Exiled in an unknown city, she wanders between her tiny apartment and the university, drifting between former lovers and recent French acquaintances. She meets Mathieu, a young worker who falls madly in love with her. Possessed by an insatiable desire for her body, he treats Hua like a dog. An intense affair begins, marked by Mathieu’s passionate embraces and harsh verbal abuse. When Huadetermines to leave her lover, she discovers the strength of her addiction, and the vital role he has come to play in her life as a woman.



China ·France | 2012 | 98 minutes | DCP

In Mandarin, with English subtitles

Tuesday, April 9th, 8.30 PM, SYMPHONY SPACE

Lu Jie has no idea her husband Yongzhao is leading a double life, until the day she sees him entering a hotel with a young woman. Her world crumbles — and it’s just the beginning. Afew hours later, the young woman dies beneath the wheels of a car. The police officer in charge of the case refuses to believe her death was accidental.



China ·France | 2014 | 114 minutes | DCP

In Mandarin, with English subtitles

Saturday, April 6th, 9.00 PM, SVA THEATRE

Nanjing. At a massage center run by the blind, damaged bodies find relief beneath sensitive fingers. A new couple comes to work at the center. The others are drawn to them. Within this community, we witness seduction, suffering and — above all — the search for love.



Christina Demetriou, Coproduction Office; Esther Devos & Raphaëlle Vanjak, Wild Bunch; Cindy Banach, Palm Pictures; Nathan Faustyn, Strand Releasing; Gina Basso, SFMOMA; Zhang Lan, China Film Archive, Huang Shenghan, Jin Yuhan, Wu Mengyu


About CineCina Film Festival (CCFF):

CineCina Film Festival (CineCina) is the only New York-based film festival dedicated to promoting excellent Chinese films. Founded in 2018, it was conceived by a group of young film scholars and filmmakers active in New York.

The main goal of CineCina Film Festival is to build an international platform to exhibit Chinese films. Located in New York, CineCina has the opportunity to exhibit films to more people and promote cultural exchange among diverse audiences.

In the meantime, CineCina devotes to becoming the cradle of the development of the new forces of Chinese youth film. Through exploring young filmmakers and supporting the development of potential new films, it established a platform for young Chinese directors to display their works. Overall, CineCina hopes to become an incubator for Chinese art-house cinema.

The inaugural CineCina Film Festival will take place April 5-19, 2019.


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