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Angels may wear white, but Xioawen and Mia aren’t angels. The two girls, played with vigor by Zhou Meijun and Wen Qu, respectively, don’t enjoy the kind of hashtag-blessed reality they might dream about. Mia, the older of the two, cleans up at a low-rent love motel that Wen and a friend are brought to by a man who turns out to be the local police commissioner; he’s there for exactly the reason you’d queasily suspect and, we soon learn, does exactly that.
If you weren’t aware that “Angels Wear White” premiered a month before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, you’d be forgiven for thinking Vivian Qu’s nuanced drama was made to show the #MeToo movement from a Chinese perspective. The actual assault is never shown, with Qu focusing entirely on the aftermath — a long, drawn-out process that’s no less traumatic than the event being covered up so systemically that it goes without saying this is far from an isolated incident.
Qu - Golden - Bear–winning - Black - Coal
Qu, who produced the Golden Bear–winning “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” began her latest film’s festival-circuit journey in Venice before making a recent stop in Santa Barbara; in the interim, she won the Golden Horse Award for Best Director in Taiwan. It’s hard to begrudge her that honor, as she handles difficult subject matter with heft and grace in equal measure, giving voice to her film’s victims without defining them as mere damsels.
Much victim-blaming follows that fateful night, which Mia glimpsed via security footage, with the adolescent leads offering vivid portrayals of youth being stymied by...
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