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 at the Marina Bay Sands. The thriller has been nominated for three awards at the 54th Golden Horse Awards, including Best Feature Film, Best 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, 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.