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The Honor Among Thieves

50m Experimental 2019

No dialogue with English Subtitles


UK Premiere

Synopsis The Honour Among Thieves is adapted from a Chinese short story titled Song the Fourth Torments Tightwad Zhang written by Menglong Feng, a Chinese writer and poet in the late 16th century. The story revolves around four thieves in the Song Dynasty who are up against a wealthy evil miser and the corrupt government.

Director’s Statement Any art form is based on the past while orienting towards the future. The Honour Among Thieves follows the tradition of Moliere’s early works in terms of its photography style, at the same time adopts a post-modern concept in framing its materials. Film is a comprehensive art. Hence, we would like to stress that comprehensiveness and diversity. This film is an aggregation of contemporary arts, classical Chinese literature, traditional Chinese opera, theatre and performance arts rolling into an organic whole.

Curators’ Notes In the form of a silent film, it mixes various art forms and experimental elements to create a unique cinematic language - the collision of calligraphic inscriptions and the traditional theatre between modern ruin scenes and contemporary context, the fusion of theatrical dispatch and installation art. It is a new presentation of the classical Chinese novel, a bold display of literary heritage in the cinematic diegesis, an innovative exploration of postmodernist art. Meanwhile, in such a rich art form, director Ma still manages to maintain the integrity of the narrative and explore the diversity of the “thief” identity.


The 13th FIRST International Film Festival Best Experimental Film - Jury Award

The 48th International Film Festival Rotterdam - Award of Excellence

Bonus Content

Q&A with Director Lanhua Ma

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