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What’s in the Darkness

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Poster for the movie "What’s in the Darkness"

What’s in the Darkness (2016)

98 min - Drama, Mystery - 13 February 2016
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A serial murder case rocks a small town in China's semi-rural Hebei province. The film explores the case from the viewpoint of a teenage schoolgirl, Jing (Su Xiaotong), who becomes entangled with the case while struggling with her own burgeoning sexuality. In the face of police ineptitude and authoritarianism, and the restrictive, conservative mentality of the town's locals, Jing begins to develop her own theory about the case.

Director:  Wang Yichun
Writers:  Wang Yichun

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Storyline

A serial murder case rocks a small town in China's semi-rural Hebei province. The film explores the case from the viewpoint of a teenage schoolgirl, Jing (Su Xiaotong), who becomes entangled with the case while struggling with her own burgeoning sexuality. In the face of police ineptitude and authoritarianism, and the restrictive, conservative mentality of the town's locals, Jing begins to develop her own theory about the case.


Collections: Wang Yichun

Genres: Drama, Mystery

Details

Official Website: 
Country:   China
Language:  普通话
Release Date:  13 February 2016

Box Office

Company Credits

Production Companies:  Xiao Mi Pictures Co., HH Pictures Co.

Technical Specs

Runtime:  1 h 38 min

Young, female coming-of-age dramas are a rich seam for genre filmmakers, from Carrie to Ginger Snaps. But it’s rare to see such a young female-centric viewpoint in East Asian murder mysteries.

Dir-Scr Wang Yichun
Prod Yun Luo, Jianhua Du, Jack Lee
With Su Xiaotong, Guo Xiao, Liu Dan
China 2015
107min
Sales China Film International

Presented at BFI London Film Festival

What’s in the Darkness

What’s in the Darkness may start out with a tip of the hat to Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder, but it progresses more like a Céline Sciamma drama, with teenage girl Qu Jing discovering her sexuality as the local body count starts rising and incompetent police hunt for the serial killer. Her dad is the small town’s by-the-book detective, while the father of her more self-aware classmate, beautiful Zhang Xue, is more of a beat-it-out-of-them kind of cop. Wang Yichun’s script, which she initially wrote over a decade ago, is dark and unsentimental, drawing attention to the impact of regressive ideas about gender and sex – highlighting that the repressed will always return. A Chinese feminist police procedural? Yes please.

Kate Taylor