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China, 2000
Directed by Lou Ye
Starring Zhou Xun, Jia Hongsheng, Nai An, Yao Anlian, Hua Zhongka
In Mandarin, with English subtitles.
Approx. 83 min. New 4K Restoration.

“A fitfully employed videographer in Shanghai, who never appears on-screen, gets involved with a go-go dancer and then meets a motorcycle courier who’s convinced that the dancer is actually his girlfriend, who has vanished mysteriously after jumping off a bridge. This moody Chinese independent, the debut feature by Lou Ye, at first seems like a Wong Kar-wai remake of VERTIGO, but in fact it’s something much stranger, drawing on not only Hitchcock and CHUNGKING EXPRESS but also Hollywood noir and Hans Christian Andersen to create something relatively fresh from the confluence — a postmodern fairy tale about romantic obsession.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum. “As he makes his way through the shadowy criminal demimonde at the river's edge, [the videographer] is drawn, like a character in a Borges story or a Paul Auster novel, into a looking-glass world of crossed destinies, urban legends and mistaken identities... Here, as in VERTIGO, one actress plays two women whom an obsessive lover is unable, or unwilling, to tell apart. The actress is the stunning Zhou Xun, who seems able to metamorphose in a single take from schoolgirl to femme fatale to mythical aquatic temptress.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times.  “The lessons Lou learned from Wong and his allusions to Hitchcock are far less important than his vision of cavernous dives illuminated by naked lightbulbs or the flux of the industrial smokestacks and derelict buildings that line the canal’s rubbish-strewn embankments.” – J. Hoberman, Village Voice.



“Wildly atmospheric…[an] adroit, concise, and poetic city-symphony... SUZHOU RIVER is a movie of seductive surfaces—mainly as reflected in the queasy glamour of the polluted canal that winds through the heart of Shanghai. Named for an urban stream of consciousness, SUZHOU RIVER is a ghost story that’s shot as though it were a documentary—and a documentary that feels like a dream.” – J. Hoberman, Village Voice

“It’s hard not to be swept up by the strong current of SUZHOU RIVER: a seductive and atmospheric conundrum that works pleasingly as an exercise in storytelling.”
— Lizzie Francke, Sight and Sound


“TERRIFIC. Lou Ye lays out a ravishing wasteland of femmes fatales and lovelorn tough guys.”
– Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine

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