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Asian film festival welcomes week of Chinese works

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Chicago: The ongoing Asian Pop-Up Cinema film festival will screen four Chinese films either at theaters in downtown Chicago or online nationwide in the week starting Monday.

Set in a southern cane village, the centerpiece Good Autumn, Mommy, directed by Chen Shizhong, tells the journey of awakening to find her family and herself of a woman, whose newborn daughter disappeared without a trace.

Founder of the festival Sophia Wong Boccio told Xinhua she was “especially impressed” to see that famous and award-winning Shu Qi had chosen to “perform an ordinary cane farmer’s wife in the southern part of China.”

The story “uses images with oriental temperament to create a unique atmosphere of the region and the age,” said Chen, the director.

To be shown at the AMC NEWCITY 14 theater in Chicago on April 14, the movie has been honored with the Outstanding Artistic Achievement award at the 25th Shanghai International Film Festival in 2023.

The other three films each tell a contemporary story in China.

The Fallen Bridge, a crime drama directed by Li Yu, examines the role of law and the emotional and moral dilemmas of victims who go great lengths for justice.

The Cord of Life by Qiao Sixue depicts a mother with Alzheimer’s and her caregiver son, who ties her to him with a rope, and their effort in searching for the “home” she yearns for in the grassland of Inner Mongolia.

The Coffin Painter by Da Fei tells a cross-generational friendship between two strangers who are drawn to each other via the challenges they each face in their lives.

“There are a lot of hidden gems and moving stories in China that need to be shared with a wider audience,” said Boccio, who selected these four out of 20 Chinese films.

During the festival’s 18th season from March 20 to April 21, each week features a different region in Asia, with films screened offline in downtown Chicago and available for streaming.

Many of the works were made by “first and second-time directors of feature-length films,” said Boccio.

“Audiences will appreciate the raw and sometimes innocent reflections of the places and people that are close to their hearts,” she said.

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