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Only the River Flows

河边的错误 / Hébiān de Cuòwù

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North American Premiere

From Wei Shujun, one of China’s most notable millennial filmmakers, Only the River Flows is a neo-noir set in the underdeveloped countryside in the early 1990s. A serial killer terrorizes a tiled-roof hamlet of barely 50 families. Detective Ma Zhe (Zhu Yilong) is in charge of the investigation and faces challenges that make his job even harder: his team is incompetent, the locals are cagey, and his wife is going through a difficult pregnancy. The time and location are no accident: the events in the film take place between the Tiananmen Square protests and China’s economic boom. Shame and secrecy are rampant and the killer takes full advantage of it. As the film progresses, the detective’s grasp of reality begins to falter and, by extension, the audience’s. Wei brings back the narrative sophistication of classic Chinese filmmakers. His pitch-black sense of humor and favoring of aesthetics over traditional storytelling turn what could have been a generic procedural into an unpredictable journey.

Wei Shujun’s third feature offers a mix of dead-end detective work, doomed characters and surreal dreamscapes. … What is not in doubt is his standing as one of China’s most complex cineastes.
Clarence Tsui, South China Morning Post


Zhu Yilong, Chloe Maayan, Hou Tianlai, Tong Linkai

Country of Origin







In Mandarin with English subtitles

Film Contact
Content Warning

Graphic Violence

101 min
Action & Suspense Drama

Book Tickets

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Executive Producer

Tang Xiaohui, Dorothy Zeng, Li Chan


Tang Xiaohui, Huang Xufeng, Li Chan, Shen Yang


Kang Chunlei, Wei Shujun




Mattieu Laclau

Production Design

Zhang Menglun


Wei Shujun headshot

Wei Shujun

Wei Shujun was born in 1991 in Beijing, China. He started his career as an actor at 14 years old. He completed his master degree at the Communication University of China. His films include On the Border (short, 2018, Special Jury Award at Cannes Film Festival), Striding into the Wind (2020, Official Selection Cannes Film Festival) and Ripples of Life (2021, Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes).

Filmography: Striding into the Wind (2020); Ripples of Life (2021)

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