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Hong Kong / Taiwan, 2004 (MIFF 2004, Regional Focus)

Director: William Kwok Wai-lun

Darkness Bride (You Gou) Hong Kong/Taiwan

A chilling ghost story set in a far-flung Chinese province where industrialisation and medieval beliefs clash. The superstition that a man who dies single will spend eternity alone sparks a wave of grave-robbings, with the corpses of young virgins in high demand. The offence is punishable by a swift death, so the ghoulish thieves aren't about to leave any witnesses or snitches alive.

Darkness Bride boasts a unique and grimly atmospheric visual style to complement its strangely compelling subject. The locations look to be on another planet, so alien are the blasted landscapes of China on the other side of the Great Wall. Poison-belching factories bloom like deadly flowers in the middle of nowhere: famine is ever-present; horse and cart are still a common mode of transport and summary execution is invoked with alarming frequency. A trio of friends hide their ménage à trois from other villagers, knowing that a three-way affair will bring violent condemnation. Desperation leads them to contemplate grave robbing as poverty begins to choke their lives. Creepy doppelgangers and supernatural occurrences begin to haunt them, pulling the trio inexorably towards a terrible tragedy.

D William Kwok Wai'lun P William Kwok Wai-lun, Peggy Chiao S William Kwok Wai-lun, Wang Wing WS Arc Light Films L Mandarin w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/2004/104mins

William Kwok Wai-lun was born in Hong Kong in 1969. Films include: In the Dumps (1997), so and so (2000).

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