Angels Wear White
(Jia nian hua)
Wen Qi, Zhou Meijun, Shi Ke,
The assault of two underage girls by a local official in a sunlight-bathed seaside town becomes the focal point for this seething study of the challenges women face in Chinese society. Weaving multiple storylines that touch on labor issues, political corruption, and social injustice, Vivian Qu’s masterful follow-up to Trap Street (2013) shows in similarly spellbinding fashion how this single incident has a cascading impact on several women’s lives. Winner, Best Director, Golden Horse Film Festival.
“What distinguishes Angels Wear White is that it is, on the one hand, suspenseful and horribly gripping, while on the other, it’s an artistically executed film, with a hand that always serves the story. . . . While the principals play out their tale, a menacing gang . . . circles the action, ready to snap up the weakened detritus of the film’s bigger sharks. They’re almost never seen in daylight, yet Qu softens the piece by opting for dusky hues, making the viewer always aware that this story is taking place by the sea, on the edge of things. Anyone could fall off.”—Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
“In other hands, this would be a compelling enough crime procedural, but Qu moulds Angels Wear White into a daylight noir of complex moral dilemmas, compromised public services, and a social system that stacks the odds against our protagonists at every turn.”—Michael Leader, Sight & Sound