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Spring fest bridges communities through art and films

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:10 AM January 30, 2019

Yang Yang in “I Belonged to You”

Film enthusiasts are in for a treat when the 13th Spring Film Festival reels off with a seven-title lineup today and runs until Feb. 5 at the spruced-up Red Carpet Cinemas of Shangri-La Plaza.

The fest aims to “show the many sides of Chinese culture to Filipinos, and highlight that we are more alike than different,” its organizers told Inquirer Entertainment last year. This year, it aims to bridge Filipino and Chinese communities through art and films.

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The cinematic showcase will help usher in the Year of the Pig, along with a diverse lineup of activities that includes a Chinese New Year fireworks show on Feb. 2 at 8 p.m., a painting workshop on Feb. 3, and a Dragon and Lion Dance Exhibition by the Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation on Feb. 10.

The Spring fest’s fresh batch features top stars like Song Seung-heon (“The Third Way of Love”), Boran Jing (“A Tale of Three Cities”), Haoran Liu (“Detective Chinatown”), Xun Zhou, Wallace Huo and Eddie Peng (“Our Time Will Come”), Chen Mo and Yang Yang (“I Belonged to You”), as well as veteran actors like Tony Leung Ka Fai, who is in the cast of both Wei Xu’s action-packed thriller “Lost in White” and Ann Hui’s award-winning period drama “Our Time Will Come.”

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Eddie Peng (left) in “Our Time Will Come”

Yibai Zhang’s “I Belong to You” will sweep rom-com aficionados off their feet as it follows a group of friends’ romantic misadventures. The production is as gorgeously photographed as it is earnestly acted by a cast of charismatic actors.

DJ Chen Mo’s (Chao Deng) world is turned upside down when his discontented girlfriend and cohost Xiao Rong (Juan Do) breaks up with him on the air while they’re wrapping up an episode of their popular late-night radio program. Thereafter, he is forced to work with Yao Ji (Tianai Zhang), an overeager intern who’s smitten with him, while he comes to terms with the pain of rejection.

Chen’s friends Mo Shiba (Yang Yang) and Zhu Tou (Yungpeng Yue) are also struggling with their own romantic persuasions: While the former is being pursued by a lovelorn female police officer, the latter is busy shuttling from one job to another because he needs to pay for his globe-trotting girlfriend Yan Zi’s expenses around the world.

Tou’s woes come to a head when Zi finally comes home—not to finally exchange “I dos” with him after an eight-year wait, but to break up with him!

The stakes are even higher in the sweeping period piece “Our Time Will Come,” about schoolteacher Fong Lan (Xun Zhou) and her dashing love interest Lee Gam-Wing (Wallace Huo), who are forced to collaborate with Chinese guerrilla fighters, led by Blackie Lau (Eddie Peng), when Japanese forces invade Hong Kong in the 1940s.

After World War II erupts, Blackie’s east river guerrilla troop is tasked to evacuate scholars, intellectuals and artists in Hong Kong and relocate them to China.

While Lan delivers secret messages to the antiJapanese underground forces, the Japanese-hired Gam-Wing sends them classified information about the foreign invaders’ whereabouts.

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But Lan’s dangerous mission goes from bad to worse when her once-reluctant mother starts delivering packages for the rebels—and gets caught!

Haoran Liu in “Detective Chinatown”

Sicheng Chen’s “Detective Chinatown” banks on its lead actors’ big-screen charm to pull off the production’s loud and wacky humor. It combines the catchy energy of loopy Chinese comedies and the crowd-pleasing appeal of Agatha Christie’s provocative whodunits as it follows what happens when stuttering Police Academy reject Qin Feng (heartthrob Haoran Liu) visits his distant uncle Tang Ren (Baoqiang Wang) in Bangkok.

Instead of rest and recreation, Feng finds himself helping Ren evade both gangsters and police operatives when the latter is framed for the death of Sompat, a shady sculptor. A bigger and more urgent concern for his criminal pursuers is the stash of gold, supposedly owned by crime boss Mr. Yan, that has gone missing.

The young Chinese tourist and his bungling relative are given three days to prove their innocence, or they’ll be fed to the crocodiles of the Menan River!
It’s a life-and-death situation that brings out Feng’s once-deeply concealed crime-solving skills. Can he help exonerate Ren and find Sompat’s elusive killer?

Wei Xu’s noirish thriller “Lost in White” sees aging detective Zhou Peng (Tony Leung Ka Fai) teaming up with Wang Hao (Dawei Tong), a reckless young cop from Shanghai.

Against all odds, Peng and Hao figure out the mystery behind a series of murders committed in a small village—and on a frozen lake full of flesh-eating piranhas. They soon discover that there’s more to the case than meets the eye.

Completing the festival’s lineup this year are John H. Lee’s “The Third Way of Love,” Mabel Cheung’s “A Tale of Three Cities” and Zheng Xu’s “Lost in Hong Kong.”

“The Third Way of Love” examines the bittersweet romance that unexpectedly blossoms between a beautiful lawyer (Yifei Liu) and a wealthy businessman (Song Seung-heon).
The latter finds himself torn between love and obligation when his family’s business goes to pot. His father wants to marry him off to the daughter of a wealthy family friend.

In Zheng Zu’s “Lost in Hong Kong,” the humdrum existence of a former artist (Xu Zheng) going through midlife crisis takes a twisted turn when he’s dragged into a murder investigation.

Finally, “A Tale of Three Cities” tells the true-to-life love story of Charles and Lee-Lee Chan—who happen to be the parents of Jackie Chan!

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TAGS: 13th Spring Film Festival, Movies, Red Carpet Cinemas of Shangri-La Plaza
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