Premiering in the Un Certain Regard section at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Wei Shujun’s stylish neo-noir Only the River Flows became one of the highest-grossing independent films in China and now it’s coming to the U.S. and Canada starting next month. The Zhu Yilong-led film will open in the U.S. from KimStim Films starting at NYC’s Metrograph on July 26, LA a week later, and followed by select cities. Ritual Films will also release it in Canada starting at the TIFF Lightbox on August 1, followed by an expansion on August 9. Ahead of its release, we’re pleased to exclusively debut the trailer and poster. 

Here’s the synopsis: “1990s small town China. A woman’s body washes up in the local river. The chief of police, Ma Zhe, is tasked with heading up the investigation. An obvious perp leads to a hasty arrest, though the mystery lingers in Ma Zhe’s mind. What kind of darkness is truly at play here? Director Wei Shujun’s murky throwback film noir, gritty, textured film grain captures the pulpy proceedings. Torrents of rain envelop the characters as they descend into madness in pursuit of the truth. Equal parts atmospheric tour-de-force and beguiling puzzler, Only the River Flows is a masterfully styled ode to a bygone cinematic era and a sharp-edged portrait of provincial paranoia. The film, starring Zhu Yilong, is based on Yu Hua’s popular short novel Mistakes by the River.

“The film, with its 16mm photography, looks and feels incredible and is the most scintillating Chinese neo-noir we’ve ever seen. We especially loved the mid-90s setting that limns a remarkable period in China between the end of the Cultural Revolution and that country’s future national embrace of consumerism and capitalism,” said KimStim co-president Ian Stimler.

See the exclusive trailer below, along with the poster by Midnight Marauder.

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