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Saturday Fiction – Lou Ye

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #64. Saturday Fiction – Lou Ye

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #64. Saturday Fiction – Lou Ye

Saturday Fiction

Chinese filmmaker Lou Ye’s eleventh feature Saturday Fiction promises to be among his more extravagant offerings of late, featuring a handsome international cast led by Gong Li (she’s joined by France’s Pascal Greggory, Germany’s Tom Wlaschiha, Japan’s Ayumu Nakajima and Joe Odagiri, Taiwan’s Mark Chao), also including Zhang Songwen, Huang Xiangli, and Wang Chaunjun. Produced through Lou’s YingFilms, Helge Albers through Berlin’s Achtung Panda! and Japan’s Uplink, the period drama is lensed by DP Zeng Jian. Lou Ye’s 2003 Purple Butterfly brought him to the Cannes competition. Three years later, he was famously banned from filmmaking in China for five years following 2006’s Summer Palace and his representation of Tiananmen Square (which was yanked from the official Cannes comp). He made 2009’s queer drama Spring Fever in secret, which also competed in Cannes and was awarded Best Screenplay. He would return to Cannes in 2012’s Un Certain Regard with Mystery. His Tahar Rahim headlined Love & Bruises went to Venice Days in 2011, and 2014’s Blind Massage won a Silver Bear for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography. Prior to filming on Saturday Fiction, Ye completed The Shadow Play (also called Cloud in the Wind and Hell Lover in differing sources), which underwent a lengthy censorship screening process, eventually unveiled at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival in November 2018.

Gist: Scripted by Ma Yingli (Blind Massage), the film is set during the first week of December 1941 in Shanghai, where an actress (Li), working as a spy, becomes aware of the imminent Pearl Harbor attack but declines to share her information.

Release Date/Prediction: The production of Saturday Fiction was completed in early 2018. The timeline suggests Ye might compete for his second time in Berlin.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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