Directed by Shi-Zheng Chen
Running Time: 90 minutes
Languages(s): English, Mandarin w/ subtitles
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
In his bold, chilling feature film debut, Chinese opera director Chen Shi-zheng examines the bitter politics of academia and the clashing of disparate cultures.
Liu Ye (CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER) plays Liu Xing, a modest but brilliant graduate student from Beijing who comes to an American university to study the origins of the universe under famed cosmologist Jacob Reiser (Aidan Quinn).
Recognizing the student’s enormous talent, Reiser turns Liu Xing into his protege, bringing him to prestigious academic conferences and inviting him to department gatherings outside the classroom. As a foreigner in a new environment, Liu Xing is befriended by the kind and well-meaning Joanna Silver, a wealthy university patron played by Meryl Streep, and an American waitress at a nearby cafe, with whom he strikes up a casual flirtation.
During his tireless research on dark matter, the unseen substance that shapes the universe, Liu Xing stumbles across findings that threaten Reiser’s established model. Against his professor’s stern warnings, and blinded by his own ambitions, he publishes his sweeping dissertation, only to have it ultimately rejected. With a jobless, bleak future ahead of him, on top of the impending shame of his family back in China, he finds his world collapsing around him.
Based loosely on true events that occurred at the University of Iowa in 1991, DARK MATTER won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize for best film relating to science or technology at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Featuring a sterling cast and an intelligent screenplay by Billy Shebar, it speaks to the innate human desire for fame and recognition, and the often futile struggle to attain those things.
2007 Sundance Film Festival
2007 Hong Kong International Film Festival