The Pingyao International Film Festival, founded by Chinese helmer Jia Zhangke and former Venice head Marco Muller, has released its full lineup of global and local films. The selections in the two main sections focus on first or second features.
The festival is set to take place from Oct. 10-19 in the ancient city of Pingyao in central Shanxi province, not far from Jia’s own hometown. Few foreigners will be present, as China continues to maintain travel and quarantine restrictions for those entering the country, despite lifting some measures.
A dozen films are set to compete in the international “Crouching Tigers” section. They include a number of titles that first bowed at Venice: “Residue,” from American director Merawi Gerima, which debuted to a special mention earlier this month in the independent Venice Days section before being picked up by Ava DuVernay’s film company and released on Netflix; “The Book of Vision,” the English-language costume drama produced by Terrence Malick and directed by Italy’s Carlo Hintermann that opened Venice Critics Week this year; “The Whaler Boy,” a Russian coming-of-age film from Philipp Yuryev that won the Venice Days program; “Oasis” from Serbian filmmaker Ivan Ikic; “Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time” from Hungary’s Lili Horvat; and “The Stonebreaker,” from Italians Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serto.
Others include Brazilian filmmaker Joao Paulo Miranda Maria’s first feature “Memory House,” the only Latin American title included in this year’s Cannes official selection; Israeli drama “Asia,” starring Shira Haas (“Unorthodox”) and directed by Ruthy Pribar; Iranian director Massoud Bakhshi’s Farsi-language “Yalda, A Night for Forgiveness,” which won the grand jury prize at Sundance World Cinema Dramatic competition this year; Indian director Ivan Ayr’s “Milestone”; “A Balance” from Japan’s Harumoto Yujiro; and “Atomic Summer,” from France’s Gael Lepingle.
In the Chinese language “Hidden Dragons” section are the slow, meditative Jia Zhangke-produced drama “The Calming” from director Song Fang, which premiered at Berlin in February; “Striding Into the Wind” from Wei Shujun, a road movie selected for this year’s First Feature section at Cannes as the only Chinese title; “The Best is Yet to Come” from Wang Jing, Jia’s former assistant director; “A Song For You,” from Dukar Tserang; “Summer Blur” from Han Shuai; “Cafe By the Highway” by Shi Xiaofan; “Stars Await Us” by Zhang Dalei; “A Yang Pingdao Film” by Yang Pingdao; “Mama” by Li Dongmei; “Where Is My Flight Home” by Wang Lei; “An Insignificant Affair” by Ning Yuanyuan; “Happiness of Iberia” by Che Yu-shi.
Last year saw best film wins for Brazilian director Maya Da-Rin’s “The Fever” and Singaporean Anthony Chen’s “Wet Season” in the international and Chinese-language categories, respectively. Guatemala’s Cesar Diaz (“Our Mothers”) and China’s Liang Ming (“Wisdom Tooth”) also took home best director prizes.