A film appreciation and curation project dedicated to championing outstanding cinema

Dead Pigs

Directed by

Cathy Yan
122 mins

For our final Chinese-language film pick of the Lunar New Year we are recommending a film that has flown under the radar in recent years. 


Cathy Yan, a Chinese-born American filmmaker and director of DC’s Birds of Prey, managed to get her debut film through China’s “torturous” state-controlled censorship regulations. Somewhat surprisingly so, considering Yan’s very westernized interpretation of the societal issues that stem from China’s commercialism.


The film itself revolves around an ensemble cast of characters all in some way struggling with their identity and place in modern-day Shanghai. This all takes place to the backdrop of a real-life event where thousands of dead pigs ended up in the city’s river.


Although the film was completed in 2018 it wasn’t until MUBI picked it up in 2021 that it reached international audiences. This is an astute and confident first feature from Yan and marks her as a director to watch.