Knife in the Clear Water

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China | 2016 | 93 minutes | Wang Xuebo

Qing shei de Dao zi

The hauntingly beautiful fable of an elderly farmer in China’s primarily Muslim Ningxia province who finds that affection for his beloved bull makes it impossible to sacrifice the animal in a religious ceremony—until the bull inexplicably stops eating.

Friday, June 9, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

AMC Pacific Place

1:30 PM Date has passed Director Wang Xuebo and Executive Producer Zhao Yihan scheduled to attend

Saturday, June 10, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

AMC Pacific Place

7:00 PM Date has passed Director Wang Xuebo and Executive Producer Zhao Yihan scheduled to attend

When the beloved wife of Ma Zishan falls ill and dies, he and his son must prepare for the Arba'een, a Muslim ceremony held 40 days after a death to pay respect to the dead. Because of the large number of guests expected to attend and his mother's honorable legacy, Ma's son is determined to convince his father to slaughter his only bull for the ceremony. Dealing with the devastating loss of his soulmate, Ma cannot imagine killing this animal, with which he has developed a bond. The old bull almost immediately weakens and begins refusing meals, strengthening cultural superstitions that an animal becomes aware of when it's been marked for slaughter, and Ma must quickly make a decision. This somber look at familial differences and the jarring confrontation of mortality was framed for a 4:3 aspect ratio, intentionally ignoring the sweeping rural landscapes to focus instead on a glimpse of humanity under one roof. Director Wang Xuebo delivers his first feature with a soft-spoken minimalist approach, reflecting on smaller themes as well as shining a light on the Hui, a group of Chinese-Muslim people, and their beliefs.

Director Biography

Wang Xuebo was born in December 1984. He started his film career as a producer, with films like Pema Tseden's Tharlo. The film premiered in Venice in 2015 and won many awards including at Tokyo FilmEx, Golden Horse awards, APSA, Vesoul. In 2010, he began working on a new project, Knife in the Clear Water, which was completed in 2016. It is WANG Xuebo's first feature.

Sponsored by WASA North America Group, Hainan Airlines

  • Director: Wang Xuebo
  • Principal Cast: Yang Shengcang, Yang Shengcang, Zhou Jinhua, Yang Fan, Yang Xue
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: China
  • Year: 2016
  • Running Time: 93 minutes
  • Producer: Wang Zijian
  • Screenplay: Shi Shuqing, Wang Xuebo, Ma Jinlian, Ma Yue
  • Cinematographers: Wang Weihua
  • Editors: Wang Weihua
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Busan International Film Festival 2016 (New Currents Award)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Mandarin
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Asian Shadows
  • International Sales: Asian Shadows