I Am Not Madame Bovery (我不是潘金莲)
Director: Feng Xiaogang
Cast: Chengpeng Dong, Fan Bingbing, Fan Wei
Language: Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles
Country of origin: China 2016 138 mins. (12A)
Best Film, Best Actress - 64th San Sebastian Film Festival; FIPRESCI Special Presentations - 41st Toronto International Film Festival; Best Film, Best Actress, Best Cinematography - 11th Asian Film Awards; Audience Choice Award, Best Director - 53rd Golden Horse Awards 11th Asian Film Awards.
Released by Thunderbird Releasing
It's not destined for commercial multiplex release but stick with 'I Am Not Madam Bovery. ' The reward is a fascinating satire on Chinese bureaucratic corruption and hypocrisy centred on a lone woman, Li Xue lian's (Fan Bingbing) fight for justice to restore her honour.
Li and her husband Qin Yuhe (Lin Zonghan) stage a fake divorce to claim a second apartment that's reserved for single people. Everything goes well until Qin remarries, but to another woman, refuses to admit that the divorce was fake and labels Xi 'Pan Jinian,' a promiscuous woman. Rather than killing her ex-husband, Li goes to the law to restore her honour. A lawsuit with the County Court gets nowhere. The judge thinks the divorce papers are real. There's no stopping Li, now, she'll go to Beijing and challenge government authority.
Powerful, compelling, visually stunning, partly shot on a circular aspect ratio, it's full of plots and subplots, twists and turns. Zhao Datou (Guo Tao), a cook has lusted after after Xi for twenty years and will get his way, party officials in neatly ironed matching suits panic, the orderly NPC (National People's Congress) follows Party procedure and Li's going head-on for the government and its officials. Stick with it. It's rewarding.