The 28th Singapore International Film Festival To Open With Chinese Director Vivian Qu’s Femme-Centric Thriller, Angels Wear White

Golden Horse Award nominee provides a rare perspective towards  marginalisation and oppression still present in today’s modern society

© 22 Hours Films, Ltd

Singapore, 17 October 2017 – The modern-day noir, Angels Wear White, by Chinese director producer, Vivian Qu, will open the 28th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) on 23 November 2017 at the Marina Bay Sands. The thriller has been nominated for three awards at the 54th Golden Horse Awards, including Best Feature Film, Best New Director and Best Leading Actress. It was also the sole Chinese entry in competition at the 74th Venice International Film Festival. 

Vivian Qu’s second directorial feature sketches a portrait of female objectification and corruption in modern-day China. The Chinese-French collaboration whisks viewers to a small seaside town, where two schoolgirls, Wen (starring teenage actress-singer Zhou Meijun) and Xinxin (starring actress Jiang Xinyue) are assaulted by Liu, a middle-aged high-ranking district commissioner in a motel. Mia, a motel receptionist (starring Vicky Chen, nominee for the Best Leading Actress at the 54th Golden Horse Awards) is the sole witness to the incident but keeps mum for fear of losing her job.

What ensues is an uphill battle against the ills of society when Attorney Hao’s (played by veteran actress Shi Ke) efforts to press charges against Liu seem futile in the face of the perpetrator’s collusion with the police. One of the victims also experiences physical and psychological abuse from her mother in light of the humiliating incident, echoing the film’s portrayal of the prejudice against women in today’s society. The suspenseful and intense thriller unveils the masks shrouding the once-peaceful southern coastal town, as the audience is drawn to question the difficult choices that the characters, who are trapped in a world that offers them no safety, have to make. 

Executive Director of SGIFF, Yuni Hadi, said, “Vivian Qu has made a name for herself as one of the few female filmmakers and producers in China and has been a strong advocate for independent cinema. Her latest feature film, Angels Wear White, showcases her prolific cinematic style in telling a hard-hitting story of the society’s marginalised through the camera lens and brings to fore a rare female perspective towards the state of oppression. The selection of the opening film for this year’s Festival reaffirms our commitment to championing film talents and cinema of the region, and showcases the promising future of Asian cinema.”  

Angels Wear White is Vivian Qu’s second foray into a feature-length film after her directorial debut, Trap Street, which premiered to critical acclaim at the 70th Venice International Film Festival in 2013. It was also awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Boston Independent Film Festival, the Dragons and Tigers Award – Special Mention at the Vancouver International Film Festival and was screened in Singapore’s Italian Film Festival – Special Venice Edition in 2014. Vivian has also produced a series of critically acclaimed Chinese independent films including Black Coal, Thin Ice, which won the Golden Bear at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. 

Sharing on the selection of her sophomore feature to open the Festival in Singapore and its Southeast Asian premiere, Vivian Qu said, “I am honoured and excited to present Angels Wear White on my first visit to Singapore! I hope the film finds resonance with the audience”  

The 28th SGIFF, which runs from 23 November to 3 December 2017, will take place across various venues, including Marina Bay Sands, Shaw Theatres Lido, National Museum of Singapore, National Gallery Singapore, The Arts House, Filmgarde Bugis+, Objectifs and *SCAPE.

The SGIFF is an event of the Singapore Media Festival, hosted by Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). SGIFF’s Official Sponsors include Presenting Sponsor since 2014, Marina Bay Sands; Official Festival Time Partner, IWC Schaffhausen; Official International Realtor, List Sotheby’s; Official Automobile, BMW and Official Airline, Singapore Airlines.

The full Festival line-up and ticketing details will be announced in end October 2017.  

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Please refer to the appended annexes for more information.

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About the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF)

Founded in 1987, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore. It has become an iconic event in the local arts calendar that is widely attended by international film critics; and known for its dynamic programming and focus on ground-breaking Asian cinema for Singapore and the region. Committed to nurturing and championing local and regional talent, its competition component, the Silver Screen Awards, brings together emerging filmmakers from Asia and Southeast Asia while paying tribute to acclaimed cinema legends. With its mentorship programmes, masterclasses and dialogues with attending filmmakers, the Festival also serves as a catalyst for igniting public interest, artistic dialogue, and cultural exchanges in the art of filmmaking. The SGIFF is organised by the Singapore International Film Festival Ltd, a non-profit organisation with Institution of a Public Character (IPC) status. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/sginternationalfilmfestival/

Annex A: Chinese translations of key festival terms

English termsChinese terms
28th Singapore International Film Festival第 28 届新加坡国际电影节
Yuni Hadi, Executive Director, 28th SGIFF云妮·海迪
新加坡国际电影节执行总监
Pimpaka Towira, Programme Director, 28th SGIFF萍帕卡·托维拉
新加坡国际电影节节目总监
Vivian Qu文晏
Angels Wear White嘉年华
Vicky Chen文淇
Zhou Meijun周美君
Shi Ke史可
Geng Le耿乐
Liu Weiwei刘威葳
Peng Jing彭静
Wang Yuexin王栎鑫
Li Mengnan李梦男

Annex B: About Angels Wear White

Angels In White (2017)

Vivian Qu  China-France / 107 minutes / Mandarin / PG13 (Some Mature Content)

In the wake of a crime, three girls find themselves entangled within a web of deceit and shadowy actions manoeuvred by a male dominated bureaucracy.

In a small coastal town in China, a teenage receptionist turns her gaze towards the CCTV to observe a middle-aged man and two schoolgirls checking into a motel. With this fateful bout of voyeuristic curiosity, Mia becomes the sole witness to a sexual assault.

Angels Wear White brings us through the resulting investigation, a high profile deadlock entangled with conflicting motives. Its narrative is anchored through the perspectives of Mia, who realises the value of the information she holds; and Wen, a victim who finds no respite from a mother plunged into shameful despair. Constructed as a noir-tinged thriller, the film meanders around the periphery of the police procedural in trace of the act of violence and its trail of resounding affiliations, leading us to its insidious return.

Director Vivian Qu’s reflection on the precarious existence of a young female in rural China is remarkable in its objective realism. She avoids all too common appraisals of victimisation, offering a complex image of personal desires and encounters that result in their becoming – in this case, a coming of age for youths through disillusionment, opening their eyes to a reality in turmoil.

Angels Wear White is an impressive follow up to Vivian Qu’s debut feature Trap Street. It continues to probe into inhumane bureaucratic mechanisms and the violent excesses of power that enable a suspension of the law itself. While Trap Street follows the ordeals of a victim to the government’s extra-juridical operations in a city rife with surveillance, Angels Wear White in turn takes a gendered approach to reveal a society of governmental institutions, private businesses and social structures organised by patriarchal lines in its basest of levels –  one guided by male persuasion and the fear of visibility.

Biography of Vivian Qu 

Writer, director and producer Vivian Qu is a key figure of the Chinese independent film circle. Her directorial debut, Trap Street, premiered to critical acclaim at the 70th Venice Film Festival in 2013, and screened at over 50 film festivals worldwide. The film was acclaimed as “a great representation of the newest generation of Chinese filmmakers” at the 2014 New Directors / New Films at Lincoln Center/MoMA in New York, and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Boston Independent Film Festival and the Dragons & Tigers Award Special Mention at the Vancouver International Film Festival. 

In 2014 Vivian Qu produced Black Coal, Thin Ice, which won the Golden Bear and a Silver Bear at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. Her other credits as producer include Night Train (2007 Un Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival), Knitting (2008 Cannes Director’s Fortnight), and Longing for the Rain (2013 Rotterdam International Film Festival). In 2014 Vivian Qu served on the International Jury for Best Debut Film at the 71st Venice Film Festival and the International Jury at the 8th Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Vivian Qu’s second film as director, Angels Wear White, was made with support from Centre National du Cinema and Région Ile-deFrance in France and Vision sud est in Switzerland.