The latest from husband-and-wife directing team Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka is a look at consumerism in China that will make your blood run cold. Lynn (Yao Honggui) is nearing the end of her post-secondary education and looking forward to a career as a flight attendant. She has a pushy, patriarchal boyfriend and a mother deep in debt; things get even worse when she finds herself pregnant. Not interested in motherhood at this point in her life, Lynn decides to carry out the pregnancy and sell the child to her mom’s debtors.
Stonewalling unfolds in a series of long takes, each of them framed with a precision that underscores the cold, polished design of contemporary urban China. That sheen of slickness is shown to conceal desperation and ruthlessness; Lynn’s situation is just the foremost example in the film. It would be hard to imagine a more capitalistic environment than the one depicted here, and the filmmakers imbue the milieu with a powerful malaise.
More Films in this Series
Like a Fish on the Moon
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The Novelist's Film
Novelist Junhee is taking a break from writing, going on a daytrip to a small town where her encounters with friends, both old and new, causes her to reconsider an idea she has been mulling over: what if she were to write and direct her own film?
An engineer becomes entranced by the lure of the Alps, abandons his job, pitches his tent high above the snow line, and explores. This simple but remarkable movie goes high and deep. It will inspire and infuriate according to your taste for adventure.
Queens of the Qing Dynasty
Recovering from a suicide attempt, a neurodiverse Cape Breton teen is drawn into the orbit of a genderqueer hospital volunteer who hails from Shanghai. Despite their disparate backgrounds, the pair operate on identical idiosyncratic frequencies.
A Matter of Trust
In one summer afternoon in Denmark, lives are irrevocably changed. A Matter of Trust features five unrelated stories which are seamlessly woven as characters discover trust and mistrust between strangers and those with whom they are closest.
David Ondříček's thoroughly winning biopic tells the story of the legendary long distance runner Emil Zátopek, still the only man to have won Olympic gold medals in the 5000m, 10,000m, and the marathon in the same year (1952).
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The Blue Caftan
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No Prior Appointment
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Veering away from the standard biopic, Paolo Taviani's latest film follows the ashes of celebrated Italian writer Luigi Pirandello on their journey back to Sicily, then ends with a blunt adaptation of one of his short stories.
Once Upon a Time in Calcutta
Aditya Vikram Sengupta explores the depths and vagaries of the human condition through an agoraphobic recluse, a young man working in a chit fund, and a TV host striking out for a new life against the backdrop of a crumbling, nostalgia-mired Calcutta.
Already enduring microaggressions and inept attempts at wokeness from her Manhattan employers, a Senegalese immigrant must also contend with supernatural figures manifesting in both her dreams and waking world. A haunting tale of immigration's realities.
Using tinted archival footage and shot in lush, saturated colours, Scarlet is a romantic coming-of-age period tale about a young woman who is ostracized by her small French village. Featured in 2022 Cannes Film Festival's Directors’ Fortnight.
Septet: The Story of Hong Kong
These shorts from seven of Hong Kong’s best filmmakers is an elegiac tribute to the city's past—and a subversive commentary on its present. From kung fu to the cultural politics of cuisine, the filmmakers mine their city's history with wit and poignancy.
Fernanda returns to her hometown of Goiás, Brazil, to scatter her adoptive mother's ashes and to learn the truth about her origins. In scenes infused with magical realism, she learns her disturbing family history and the limits of her strength.
Steely and determined tequila factory owner María Garcia (played by Teresa Sánchez) fights an uphill battle against nature, chance, and the impending global takeover of the local economy in Juan Pablo González' first narrative feature.
Based on a true story, Cioma Schönhaus, a young Jewish man living in 1942 Berlin, forges passports for Jewish people to escape the country. Instead of hiding, he impersonates military personnel so he can live life, risking discovery by the Gestapo.
In this thriller about a French couple starting a new life in rural Galicia, Spain, director Rodrigo Sorogoyen presents the feral underbelly of country life where tensions between foreigners and locals, educated and uneducated, brutally come to the fore.
Faced with the challenge of making movies under quarantine conditions, Andrew Bujalski came up with six two-handers, and shot each actor separately in this series of wry conversation pieces—a technical feat he carries off with casual elan.
A flashy new neighbour transforms the life of aging couple Meir and Tova, initially in ways that promise renewal, in this sharp Israeli comedy of manners, the Audience Award winner at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Sasson Gabay (The Band's Visit) stars.
In the aftermath of a young woman’s bloody murder in Paris—her identity shrouded in mystery—detective Jules Maigret (Gérard Depardieu) begins to unravel the strange details surrounding her life and death.
Waleed struggles with depression, married life, and writer’s block. Upon learning that his cocky new neighbour Jalal is indebted to some dangerous men, he starts tagging along for Jalal’s shake-downs, ostensibly as research for a crime novel.
Otsuka Ryuji, Huang Ji
Liao Ching-sung, Otsuka Ryuji, Du Men
Otsuka Ryuji, Huang Ji
Ng Chor Guan
Huang Ji was born in Hunan in 1984 and studied screenwriting at the Beijing Film Academy. Since her first short film, The Warmth of Orange Peel (2009), she has been focusing on exploring the secrets of women’s inner emotions. Egg and Stone (2012), her debut feature, won the Tiger Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam, while her sophomore feature, The Foolish Bird (2017), was awarded the Special Mention of the Generation 14+ International Jury at Berlinale. She is also the founder of Around You Film Workshop.
Filmography: Egg and Stone (2012); Trace (2013); The Foolish Bird (2017)
Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1972, Ryuji Otsuka relocated to China in 2005 to work in independent filmmaking, and has since been serving as the cinematographer and producer for all the films directed by Huang Ji. In 2013, he made his first documentary, Beijing Ants, as a solo director. His co-directed feature, The Foolish Bird (2017), won him the Best Artistic Originality Award (DoP) in FIRST International Film Festival. His recent cinematography work includes A Family Tour (2018) and Damp Season (2020).