ARTS / FILM
Diao Yinan produced crime film to compete at 69th San Sebastian film gala
Published: Jul 21, 2021 07:03 PM
Fillm Moses on the Plain Photo: Sina Weibo

Fillm Moses on the Plain Photo: Sina Weibo

The 69th San Sebastian International Film Festival announced on Monday that Moses on the Plain, a crime film executively produced by Chinese indie filmmaker Diao Yinan, will screen in competition at the annual film gala in September. 

Starring Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu from the Oscar-nominated film Better Days and Chinese actor Liu Haoran from the popular Detective Chinatown franchise, the film is an adaptation of the novelette of the same name by Chinese writer Shuang Xuetao. 

A new production that combines Diao's unique social observations with his expertise in the crime genre, Moses on the Plain tells a story about human ties and social changes in Northeast China through the lens of the murder of a taxi driver. The film will be directed by Zhang Ji, a well-known cinematographer. 

"Though Diao is known for his thrillers, it is more accurate to describe his works as 'art house thrillers.' His films are cinematographically poetic and somewhat wild, or you can even sometimes call them disturbing. He is particularly good at merging surrealist visual elements and hiding surreal information in stories that are often about mundane people," Sun Ni, a Chinese indie film insider, told the Global Times on Wednesday.   

Hu Ge (third from left), Diao Yinan (center), Kwai Lun-mei (third from right) at the 'Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui /The Wild Goose Lake' premiere during the 72nd Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on Sunday in Cannes, France. Photo: IC

Hu Ge (third from left), Diao Yinan (center), Kwai Lun-mei (third from right) at the 'Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui /The Wild Goose Lake' premiere during the 72nd Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on Sunday in Cannes, France. Photo: IC

Moses on the Plain
is not the only production that Diao has brought to European cinemas. In 2014, Diao's most iconic work, the thriller Black Coal, Thin Ice, won the Golden Bear award at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. The 2019 picture Wild Goose Lake - a dreamy but hardcore film - was the only Chinese-language title screened in competition at Cannes in 2019. 

"Not only is his aesthetic style [in line with the taste of European cinema], but so too is the film's focus, which examine small things to pose large life questions," said Sun. 

Also on Monday, the film's official Sina Weibo account announced that the movie will hit cinemas in the Chinese mainland on December 24, 2021. 

"I have a hunch this could be a good one in every regard - the novel story, both actors' performance skills, and of course, it has my favorite Chinese contemporary director as producer," Li Xiang, a moviegoer in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

The San Sebastian International Film Festival is one of 14 category "A" film festivals accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations. Including Moses on the Plain, other Chinese-language titles have screened at the film festival since 1994. In 1999, Chinese "six-generation" director Zhang Yang's Shower won the filmmaker the best director award at the festival. 


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