EXCLUSIVE: Crosscurrent, which garnered the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear for Artistic Achievement for cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bing and has gotten rave reviews both here and abroad, is getting a North American release by Cheng Cheng Films starting this weekend. The Chinese fantasy romance filmed on the Yangtze River was in the works for a decade, and the crew lived on a cargo boat while traversing the waterway for 60 days. The cinematic effort was to capture the traditional ink-brush painting look of the Yangtze. Check out the trailer above.

Written and directed by Yang Chao, the Cannes Camera d’Or winner for Passages, Crosscurrent is opening Friday in New York before rolling out to more locations. Ping-Bing’s credits also include Assassin and In The Mood For Love.

Since the Berlinale win in February, the film has been officially selected for Hong Kong Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Atlantic Film Festival and Taiwan Golden Horse Film Awards. The re-edited new cut will receive its American premiere at Chicago Film Festival, and Chao will be in North America to present the film beforehand.

Crosscurrent follows Gao Chun, who is handed a book of poetry that names places along the Yangtze. As he steers his cargo up the river, in each of the places mentioned (now all underwater), he comes across An Lu, a beautiful woman who appears in a different identity at every port and is younger each time. He starts to wonder whether she is supernatural or maybe that he is traveling back in time. He finally arrives at the start of the Yangtze, where he unveils the secret of his past and An Lu.

Cheng Cheng Films is a New York-based distributor specialized in releasing Chinese-language films in North America. Its recent releases include suspense-action-romance One Night Only and the female-centric coming-of-age drama Soulmate, which received seven nominations at Taiwan Golden Horse Film Awards.