What's in the Darkness

Official Selection - 2016 Berlin International Film Festival
Official Selection - 2016 New York Asian Film Festival
Official Selection - 2016 BFI London Film Festival


In this outstanding debut, a small town murder mystery provides the backdrop for one girl’s coming-of-age. Writer/director Wang Yichun takes us to a small rural village in early ‘90’s Hebei Province that has fallen prey to a serial killer. The murderer rapes his victims before killing them, carving a cross into the flesh of young women. Schoolgirl Jing (Su Xiaotong) develops a fascination with the killings that ebbs and flows with her budding sexual awareness. Compared to her classmates she is closer to the case as her father (Guo Xiao) is one of many police detectives working it.  Her physically more developed friend begins dating an older boy, subsequently getting expelled and then vanishing. As Jing develops her own perception of womanhood, she must navigate the repression and authoritarianism of both school and home as well as the deviance that lurks within the town at large. This is Thirteen by way of Memories of Murder with the dreamlike and ethereal qualities of Picnic at Hanging Rock thrown in to make a concoction not easily forgotten.

Director Wang Yichun
Country China
Year 2016
Runtime 105min
Starring Su Xiaotong, Liu Dan, Lu Qiwei, Zhou Kui

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