Only the River Flows

He bian de cuo wu

Director: Wei Shujun
Country: China

German Premiere
2023 | 101 min. | Mandarin
Subtitles: English, German
FSK | Nicht geprüft / No clearance (18+)

Cast_ Zhu Yilong, Chloe Maayan, Hou Tianlai, Tong Linkai Screenplay_ Kang Chunlei, Wei Shujun Camera_ Chengma Producer_ Tang Xiaohui, Huang Xufeng, Li Chan, Liang Ying, Shen Yang Rights_ Rapid Eye Movies

A visually exciting, emotionally stirring and highly suspenseful serial killer film from China. Surrounded by darkness and water, the police officer Ma Zhe is in danger of succumbing to a mysterious case.

It’s the 1990s, in rural southern China. The body of a woman is found on a riverbank near a small town. Ma Zhe, who heads a team of the local criminal police, begins his investigation. What at first seems routine and quickly leads to an arrest actually reveals itself to be a big mystery. Dramatic events escalate and Ma Zhe gradually threatens to succumb to the case. Like in classic Hollywood film noir, however, it’s not just the crime story that matters here, but also the unmistakeable atmosphere that combines impenetrable darkness, lighting, and ubiquitous flowing water. Shot on grainy 16mm stock, the film feels as if it dates back to the era that it depicts. The stirring events culminate in one of the most impressive dream sequences of recent film history.


Wei Shujun was born in Beijing in 1991. In the span of just four years, his short film ›On the Border‹ (2018), as well as his first three features – ›Striding Into the Wind‹ (2020), ›Ripples of Life‹ (2021) and now ›Only the River Flows‹ (2023) – were invited to various sections at Cannes.



  • Friday 17.11.202320:45with GuestsMannheimMACineplex (Saal 3)
  • Only a few tickets left!Saturday 18.11.202320:45with GuestsHeidelbergHDLuxor (Crown)
  • AvailableSunday 19.11.202320:30with GuestsMannheimMAStadthaus N1