dGenerate Films distributes contemporary independent cinema from mainland China to audiences worldwide. We are dedicated to procuring and promoting visionary content, fueled by transformative social change and digital innovation.
If you are looking to watch or acquire any of our groundbreaking films featured in our catalog, please contact Icarus Films, who are representing our sales. They can be reached via phone at (718)488-8900 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a sample of recent releases, please see below ̌
Winner of the top prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival, director Cai Chengjie’s debut feature—which was shot in 11 days on borrowed equipment—is, like its titular protagonist, unexpectedly powerful and fiercely unpredictable.
Deemed cursed by the local villagers, three-time widow Er Hao (Tian Tian) has her hands full with a rogue fireworks explosion, a tagalong teenager, and a veritable army of crazed local men who can’t keep their hands off her. Turned away when she seeks shelter from her neighbors and forced to take up residence in a cold camper van, Er Hao’s future looks as bleak as the stark, snowy countryside.
But a series of fluke changes in fortune causes Er Hao to embrace the mystical identity her villagers have assigned to her. As a sort of modern shaman, she steers superstitions into small subversions, helping others who once shunned her and proving that to survive as a woman is a kind of magic.
THE WIDOWED WITCH fearlessly addresses the power of religion in China which, according to the dictates of Communism, is effectively banned. It also conveys the cruelty that can come with village life, and counters the Western narrative of China as a superpower by showing a place where the rule of law is all but nonexistent. Not only is there no recourse or safety net, even the rape that Er Hao suffers goes unpunished. Abused and shunned, Er Hao gains power over the men who have wronged her—but can she find a place in a misogynist, patriarchal and deeply lonely social structure?
With a stunning array of visual styles and a genre-exploding approach to storytelling, THE WIDOWED WITCH is a simultaneously idealistic and despairing film—a bleak view wrapped in a fabulist aesthetic, and one that encompasses both magic realism and crushing social satire.
"Appealingly eccentric fable from Chinese newcomer Cai Chengjie." —Guy Lodge, Variety
"The Widowed Witch is an astounding artistic achievement." —Eija Niskanen, VCinema
"Cai Chengjie’s deadpan fairy tale takes on the contradictions of superstition and the furious chimera of women’s power to conjure an intriguing, misshapen magic." —Maya Rudolph, dGenerate Films
High in the desolate, windswept mountains of Tibet lives a shepherd named Tharlo. He tends his sheep and rides his motorcycle, passing his days in familiar and traditional routines far from the city lights. But when Tharlo travels to the city for an ID card photo and meets Yangtso, a modern young hairdresser, his monastic life will forever change.
Leading Tibetan auteur Pema Tseden (The Search, Old Dog) first wrote Tharlo's story as a novella that audiences can read here in English for the first time, published as part of this DVD. In adapting his spare and poignant short story for the screen, Tseden is at the height of his directorial powers, using just 84 meticulously composed shots to channel Tharlo's world into gorgeous vistas of black-and-white.
Popular actor Shide Nyima makes his dramatic debut with a defining performance as the title character, a role that Tseden wrote with him in mind; he is beautifully matched by Yangshik Tso as the object of Tharlo's uneasy desire. An award-winning, film festival and critical favorite, Tharlo brings its characters and their world to edgy, explosive life.
In Gansu Province, northwest China, lie the remains of countless prisoners abandoned in the Gobi Desert sixty years ago. Designated as “ultra-rightists” in the Communist Party’s Anti-Rightist campaign of 1957, they starved to death in the Jiabiangou and Mingshui reeducation camps. The film invites us to meet the survivors of the camps to find out firsthand who these persons were, the hardships they were forced to endure and what became their destiny.
DEAD SOULS premiered as a Special Screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to rapturous reviews. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman compared it to Shoah as “a powerfully sobering and clear-eyed investigation that justifies its length through the gravity and presence of its testimony.” Writing in the Hollywood Reporter, Clarence Tsui remarked that a “thoroughly focused and tightly structured” quality makes it the director’s “most explosive outing.” Sight & Sound called it “a monumental achievement.”
“Weighty and mindfully austere, Dead Souls shines a bright and steady spotlight into a dark corner of 20th century Chinese history.” —Film Comment
“Masterful, heart-wrenching, harrowing; this essential documentary is necessarily, unflinchingly grim; the cinematic equivalent of walking in the survivors’ shoes, and a complex, challenging but crucial viewing experience that burrows its immense sorrows deep into the audience’s bones. A Shoah of our time.” —Screen Daily
“Explosive; Charting the origins, operations and outcomes of a far-flung Chinese labor camp in the late 1950s/early 1960s, the documentary offers affecting and harrowing accounts from those who survived the gulag. Thoroughly focused and tightly structured, it is an immensely perceptive piece about the history of China and its multitude of discontents.” —The Hollywood Reporter
“A powerfully sobering and clear-eyed investigation that justifies its length through the gravity and presence of its testimony.” —Variety
“Dead Souls joins such works as Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Patricio Guzman’s The Battle of Chile as a vast memorial to the state of barbarity." —The New York Review of Books
“Wang Bing's documentaries [form] a corpus of works addressing the contradictions imbued in China's rise as a super-power; a counter-narrative to President Xi Jinping's normative state narrative of the 'China Dream.'” —Studies in Documentary Film
“A film of resistance that, in discussing the past, also confronts the present-day activities of the Chinese government; [foretelling future memorials] for the victims of today’s camps and bearing witness to the cruel injustices of the country’s reigning overlords.” —The New Yorker
Huang Ji’s brave personal film is one of the most auspicious debuts in recent Chinese cinema. Set in her home village in rural Hunan province, EGG AND STONE is a powerful autobiographical portrait of a 14-year-old girl’s attempts to come to terms with her emerging sexual maturity. Since her parents moved to the city to work, she has been forced to live with her uncle and aunt for seven years. Alone with her own inchoate fears and desires, she grapples with a terrifying world of sexual awakening and danger. Huang Ji’s visual sophistication, narrative fluency, and technical polish belie her youth. Cinematographer Ryuji Otsuka (also the film’s producer and editor) contributes beautifully crafted cinematic images, fearfully intimate, softly pulsing with light, saturated with complex emotional power.
"Meticulous in every way: the non-professional actors with incredible skills, the beautiful camerawork, the timing and dosing of the tragic storyline about a fourteen-year-old Chinese girl from the countryside. A grown-up feature film debut by a major talent." —International Film Festival Rotterdam
Ah-Ming and Yueyue are two out-of-work film school grads living in Beijing who decide to turn the camera on each other and make a film about their lives.
On the surface, FEMALE DIRECTORS is the ultimate documentary for the age of oversharing. Two young women love the camera and record the minutiae of their lives: meals, nasty fights, phone calls. Soon after the camera starts rolling, they discover that both are seeing the same sugar daddy. Recriminations and profane accusations follow. Eventually, the pair, make up, break up with the man they call "short stuff" and go traveling together.
But there is much more to this film. Is it a documentary, mockumentary, or a sly piece of drama? Ah-Ming herself is a fiction-the on-screen persona of Yang Ming Ming, the film's actual director. Deliberately unpolished, FEMALE DIRECTORS highlights rather than obscures the presence of the the camera, as it is dropped on a bed, Ah-Ming and Yueyue jostle over it, or as one or the other implores her counterpart to turn it off.
While it purports to be the true story of two women filming themselves, FEMALE DIRECTORS constantly reminds us of the process that has gone into making it. It is a genre-bending, self-aware piece of experimental filmmaking that bears repeated viewing.
"Yang Mingming's FEMALE DIRECTORS blurs the boundaries between documentary and fiction in a story about two brilliant young art school female graduates using profane vocabulary and talking with supreme confidence about sex, cinema and power." —Art Radar
Within the gates of an isolated mental institution in in southwest China's Yunnan province, patients are confined to one single floor of a building. Once locked in, with little contact from the outside world, anything goes.
The facility's inmates have been committed for different reasons: perhaps they may have a developmental disability, have committed murder, or simply angered local officials. But once inside, they all share the same life and cramped living quarters, staring at a barren, iron-fenced courtyard and seeking comfort and human warmth wherever they can find it.
'TIL MADNESS DO US PART uses handheld camerawork and digital video to interrogate mental illness and criminality, therapy and incarceration, and the relationship between individuals and society. Riveting, terrifying, tender—and unforgettable.
"There are endurance tests, and then there is this... An unsparing chronicler of the abused and neglected in his country's darkest corners, Chinese documentarian Wang Bing pushes his starkly immersive strategies to a grueling yet empathetic extreme." —Justin Chang, Variety