China, Hong Kong | 106 MINUTES
BLACK COAL, THIN ICE
After a botched arrest in a grisly serial murder case, small-town detective Zhang Zili is suspended from the force, taking a job as a security guard at a coal factory. Five years later, another series of mysteriously similar murders takes place, and Zhang recruits his former partner to finish their investigation. His sleuthing soon leads to a local laundromat proprietor named Wu Zhizhen, whose soft-spoken demeanor and enigmatic aura are compelling to Zhang despite her mysterious connection to the deaths.
Part film noir, part social realist portrait of industrial city life in Northern China, Diao Yinan’s atmospheric Black Coal, Thin Ice is a moody, quietly powerful thriller staged against the quotidian lives of a wintry industrial landscape, and winner of the top prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.