Screened as part of NZIFF 2018

Angels Wear White 2017

Jia nian hua

Directed by Vivian Qu World

“In an intriguing film noir full of white light reflecting off virginal dresses, polished surfaces and sparkling sand, director Vivian Qu probes the status of girls in Chinese society.” — Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail

China In Mandarin with English subtitles
107 minutes DCP



Sean Chen


Benoît Dervaux


Yang Hongyu

Production designer

Peng Shaoying

Costume designer

Wang Tao


Wen Zi


Wen Qi (Mia)
Zhou Meijun (Wen)
Shi Ke (attorney Hao)
Geng Le (Wen’s father)
Liu Weiwei (Wen’s mother)
Peng Jing (Lily)
Wang Yuexin (Jian)
Li Mengnan (inspector Wang)


London 2017; San Francisco 2018

Vivian Qu’s enthralling drama about an illegal teenage worker who witnesses something suspicious, and two young girls who are the victims of abuse, is a deeply resonant film, even more so since the #MeToo movement. Surveillance and paranoia were dominant themes in Qu’s debut feature Trap Street and the dramatic structure of Angels Wear White hinges on a single piece of CCTV footage, impulsively captured by Mia (the wonderful Wen Qi) on her mobile phone while working a late shift at a cheap hotel.

Qu has a potent grasp of storytelling and from this single incident, and the moral dilemma it presents she spins a compelling narrative about gender, exploitation and corruption. Working with cinematographer Benoît Dervaux, regular camera operator for the Dardennes, her social realist approach is imbued with symbolic beauty, most sublimely apparent in the film’s closing sequence. Angels Wear White confirms Qu as an exciting new voice in independent Chinese cinema (she was also producer on the Berlin-winning Black Coal, Thin Ice, NZIFF14) and she brings a distinctively feminist perspective to a subject that is rarely tackled with such nuance and empathy. — Clare Stewart