The suspenseful thriller that pre-empted the MeToo movement, premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won Best Film awards at the Asian Film Critics Association Awards and Pingyao International Film Festival.
Mia is a cleaner who works in a cheap hotel, and Lily, the receptionist, always wants her help. On a fateful night, Lily convinces Mia to work at the reception desk for her for one night, so Lily can sneak out to meet her boyfriend. Then a local senior official, Chairman Liu, brings in two young schoolgirls Wen and Xin to stay. Mia was instantly suspicious. After Chairman Liu checks into the room, she saw the two girls move into the next room. Mia watches the hallway from CCTV and records something on her phone. When the girls return to school the next morning, apparently looking dispirited. Tests are done in hospital and it is confirmed that both have been sexually assaulted. The police, led by Detective Captain Wang, searches the hotel and finds CCTV footages that could have incriminated Liu, but the scene that shows Liu entering the girls’ room has been deleted. Fear of losing her job, Mia chooses to remain silent. Wen leaves her abusive mother and moves in with her divorced father. It looks as if the official is about to escape for lacking evidence, but the girls’ lawyer, Ms. Hao Jie, refuses to give up and instinctively thinks that Mia is lying, who in fact, has her own secret plan…
Vivian Qu is a writer, director and producer from Beijing, who studied History and Fine Arts in New York City in the 80s. She began her film career with Chinese independent film directors - firstly produced director Diao Yi’nan’s Night Train (2007) , which was premiered at Cannes Film Festival as part of the ‘Un Certain Regard’ competition. Then she produced another film Knitting (2008), which was premiered at Cannes the next year as part of ‘Director’s Fortnight’. Her directorial debut Trap Street (2013) premiered at Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for the prestigious Luigi De Laurentiis Award. In 2014, she worked with Diao Yi’nan again and produced his Golden Bear Winner Black Coal, Thin Ice. In 2017, her film noir Angels Wear White expresses feminism entirely through her gentle, witty, calm, yet powerful way.
“A brave and hard-hitting drama that provides a social context for violence against women.” - Variety
“A skilful combination of tense, dark drama with biting social commentary… An excoriating story told with gentle sympathy; a lashing tale about the abuse and marginalisation of women at the hands of a dark establishment in a sun-filled resort.” - Screen Daily
“Ms. Qu shoots the sturdily constructed scenario with unshowy sharpness. Film critics and viewers in the West tend to sentimentalise feel-good movies from the East, delighting in their ostensible universality. The moral rot and callous corruption depicted in “Angels Wear White” has a particularly bracing effect in part because, cultural specifics aside, the inhumanity on display is hardly alien.” - The New York Times (NYT Critic’s Pick)
“Qu’s film is so much more than a revelation of a very real social injustice, it’s an exploration of confusing and conflicting attitudes in a world that celebrates Western looks and style, but still holds tightly to ancient ideals of virginity and sexuality.” - Eastern Kicks 4.5 stars
22 Hours Films, Hangzhou Puhua Chuansheng Cultural Investment Partner, J.Q. Pictures, Mandrake Films