Angels Wear White
In the wake of a crime, three girls find themselves entangled within a web of deceit and shadowy actions maneuvered by a male dominated bureaucracy.
In a small coastal town in China, a teenage receptionist turns her gaze towards the CCTV to observe a middle-aged man and two schoolgirls checking into a motel. With this fateful bout of voyeuristic curiosity, Mia becomes the sole witness to a sexual assault.
Angels Wear White brings us through the resulting investigation, a high profile deadlock entangled with conflicting motives. Its narrative is anchored through the perspectives of Mia, who realises the value of the information she holds; and Wen, a victim who finds no respite from a mother plunged into shameful despair. Constructed as a noir-tinged thriller, the film meanders around the periphery of the police procedural in trace of the act of violence and its trail of resounding affiliations, leading us to its insidious return.
Director Vivian Qu’s reflection on the precarious existence of a young female in rural China is remarkable in its objective realism. She avoids all too common appraisals of victimisation, offering a complex image of personal desires and encounters that result in their becoming – in this case, a coming of age for youths through disillusionment, opening their eyes to a reality in turmoil.
Angels Wear White is an impressive follow up to Vivian Qu’s debut feature Trap Street. It continues to probe into inhumane bureaucratic mechanisms and the violent excesses of power that enable a suspension of the law itself. While Trap Street follows the ordeals of a victim to the government’s extra-juridical operations in a city rife with surveillance, Angels Wear White in turn takes a gendered approach to reveal a society of governmental institutions, private businesses and social structures organised by patriarchal lines in its basest of levels – one guided by male persuasion and the fear of visibility.
Cast & Credits
Vivian Qu is an independent Chinese filmmaker. Upon returning to China after studying visual arts in New York, she started working as producer in contribution to the independent film community in China. Her producer credits include Knitting (2008), Night Train (2007) and Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014). Qu was the first female filmmaker from China to compete in Venice Film Festival with her debut feature Trap Street (2013). Angels Wear White is her sophomore feature.
Vicky Chen, Zhou Meijun, Shi Ke
• In-competition, Venice Film Festival 2017
• In competition, Golden Horse Awards 2017
• In-competition, London Film Festival 2017