Enjoy Chinese Movies at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival

1、Competition/World Premiere

Mr. No Problem

Drama|144min. B&W Mandarin|2016 China

Shot in stylish black-and-white, this three-act fable, set in wartime Chongqing, focuses on the indifferent rich, the head clerk on a farm, and some young intruders. Based on a 1943 short story, the film was directed by noted screenwriter Mei Feng.

Director: Mei Feng

Born in Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia in 1968, Mei Feng studied Chinese Literature and Cinema Studies in Beijing. In 2003, he went to France to further his Cinema studies at Paris 8 University. He is one of the best known scriptwriters in China and has built a long-term collaboration with director Lou Ye. Mr. No Problem is his directorial debut.


2、Competition/World Premiere

Shed Skin Papa

Drama/Comedy/Romance|100min. Color Cantonese|2016 China, Hong Kong


As a frustrated director faces debt and divorce, his elderly father suddenly regains his youth. This moving comedy gradually reveals elements of history and romance. Adapted from a play by Norihiko Tsukuda, the film is studded with Hong Kong stars.
Director: Roy Szeto

Roy Szeto was born in 1967 in Hong Kong. After graduating from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts in 1990, he joined Tsui Hark’s Film Workshop where he was a screenwriter on two contemporary classics The Wicked City and The East Is Red. He continued to write scripts on various genres such as To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui, The Phantom Lover, and Beyond Hypothermia. Since 2006, he has worked as a director at the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, where he staged Shed Skin in 2011.  


3、Asian Future/International Premiere


Drama/Music|113min. Color Mandarin| 2016 China

Heping, a rock singer 20 years ago, now works as a driver. He meets his old bandmate Dayong, a juror for music competitions. Depicting through music the zeal for youthful dreams, Nirvana won the 2016 Shanghai IFF Best Actor Award. Director Xie Xiaodong said the first half is “like a documentary to record the daily life of middle-aged people” and the latter half “touches on the deep fantasies of many middle-aged people”.

Director: Xie Xiaodong

Born in Beijing, China in 1963, Xie Xiaodong has made eight feature films including Fall of Ming, Vegetate, and Crisis Management as a producer and script writer. Almost all of his films have won awards at various film festivals. Nirvana is his directorial debut.


4、Asian Future/International Premiere

Ode to Time

Music/Documentary|118min. Part Color Mandarin|2016 Taiwan

Legendary musicians of the 1970s Taiwanese folk-rock scene reunite after 40 years for a big concert. Ode to Time captures the past and current lives of the musicians, intermingling social themes. One sings about the aboriginal soul, another goes on stage despite being ill. Surprising parallels in the Taiwanese and Japanese pop scenes are revealed. Director Hou Chi-jan is known for Juliet’s Choice from the omnibus film Juliets and When a Wolf Falls in Love with a Sheep.

Director: Hou Chi-jan

Born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1973, Hou Chi-jan works as a film director, scriptwriter, and writer. Hou’s works often convey his reflections on time and memories. His works include Stardust 15749001, My 747, Taiwan Black Movies, One Day, and The Poetries from the Bookstores. Ode to Time is Hou’s latest feature-length documentary.


5、Asian Future/International Premiere

The Summer Is Gone

Drama|104min. | 2016 China

In Inner Mongolia in the early 1990s, 12-year-old Xiaolei enjoys summer with his father, who works at a film studio, and his education-minded mother. But life is rapidly changing, as stable jobs at state-owned companies disappear. Hohhot-born director Zhang Dalei, who was inspired by “the magic of a daydream” he experienced while visiting his grandmother, has created a portrait of his country’s past, in beautiful monochrome.

Director: Zhang Dalei

Born in Huhhot, China in 1982, Zhang Dalei graduated from the St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television. His main representative short works are The Sunday, Story Bridge, and One Day I Looked Down. In addition, he has written a number of scripts including The Summer Is Gone, FUZZ, Blue Train, and A Star Called the Sun. In 2016, he completed his feature film directorial debut The Summer Is Gone.


6、Special Program/Japanese Premiere

Xuan Zang

Drama| 120min. Color Mandarin|2016 China

The film is based on the biography of Xuanzang. It depicts the legendary experiences of Xuanzang, who traveled to ancient India and brought back the original Buddhist scriptures to Tang Dynasty China. It also reflects the greater Buddhist spirit through the spirit of Xuanzang. The narrative of the film sets a realistic tone, but also involves legendary and magical elements, through which the film brings sublime religious belief into the real story and helps audiences to understand Xuanzang’s pursuit of the profound meaning of Buddhism.

Director: Huo Jianqi

Huo Jianqi, born in 1958 in Beijing, graduated from the Beijing Film Academy. His films include The Winner (Ying jia), Postmen in the Mountains, Life Show, and Nuan. His films have received both popular and critical acclaim.


7、World Focus/Asian Premiere


Drama| 111min. Color Mandarin| 2016 Taiwan

Na Dow carries out his drug-delivering routine by taking a cab down south and returning in the same cab on the same day. One day he reluctantly gets into a shabby taxi driven by the carefree, innocent Xu, who came to Taiwan more than 20 years ago and somehow decided to stay. Na Dow’s plan to reform himself and Xu’s wish for a peaceful life take a wrong turn when they become the target of a mob attack. The drugs and the money are gone, and both Na Dow and Xu are held hostage in the trunk of a car.

Director: Chung Mong-hong

Born in Ping-Tong, Taiwan in 1965, Chung Mong-hong received his MFA in Filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2008, his first feature film Parking was an official selection at Cannes. He won the Best Director with The Fourth Portrait at the Golden Horse Awards in 2010. His third feature film Soul was once again a film festival favorite. Godspeed is Chung’s fourth feature film.


8、World Focus/Japanese Premiere

Operation Mekong

Action|123min (approx.) Color Mandarin | 2016 Hong Kong, China

Two Chinese commercial vessels are ambushed while traveling down the Mekong River in the waters of the Golden Triangle. 13 sailors are executed at gunpoint, and 900,000 methamphetamine pills are recovered at the scene. The Chinese government immediately reacts by sending a band of elite narcotics officers to the Golden Triangle to uncover the truth and find the mastermind behind the murders. The governments of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and China immediately launch a joint task force to apprehend Naw Khar, but the road to justice is paved with dangerous and deadly obstacles…

Director: Dante Lam

Born in Hong Kong in 1964, Dante Lam made his directing debut with G4 Option Zero in 1997. In 1999, Lam won the Best Director for Beast Cops at the Hong Kong Film Awards. He was nominated for the Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards with The Stool Pigeon, Viral Factor, and Unbeatable. In 2014, his film That Demon Within was selected for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival Panorama program.


9、World Focus

A Brighter Summer Day [Digitally Remastered Version]

Drama/Youth Drama|236min.|1991 Taiwan|Distributor in Japan: Bitters End,Inc.

Set in Taipei in the 1960s. A night school student, Xiao Si’r, always hangs out with his gang of delinquent friends, the Little Park Boys. One day, Xiao Si’r meets a girl named Ming, girlfriend of Honey, the boss of the Little Park Boys. Honey has disappeared after killing the boss of a rival gang in a fight over Ming. Honey suddenly comes back to town and the two gangs intensify their conflict, and Xiao Si’r, who is attracted to Ming, has no way to escape.

Director: Edward Yang

Born in Shanghai in 1947, moved to Taiwan with his family in 1949. After studying in the US and working in the computer field, Yang started his career as screenplay writer and production assistant in 1981. In 1982, he made his directorial debut with Desires, an episode from omnibus film In Our Time. The film’s innovative style attracted attention. His main filmography includes Terrorizers (1986), A Confucian Confusion (1994), and Mahjong (1996). He died of complications from cancer in 2007.