HKMDB Daily News

August 31, 2010

August 31, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 3:56 pm

CRI: Jaycee Chan’s ‘Break up Club’ Joins Toronto Festival

Siqin Gaowa

Siqing Gaowa will costar in a film, Let Love Come In, about women prison convicts and women prison guards. Cast includes Athena Chu, Wang Ji, Liu Xiaoqing, Cherrie Ying, and Hong Jiantao. (Xinhua)23

Who Killed Paul the Octopus? poster

Originally intended to be The Legend of World Cup, the film shot in South Africa and Beijing turned into a comic suspense film after Paul the match-predicting octopus gained worldwide notoriety. (Xinhua) [7.27.2010]

Empress Wu - Carina Lau in Detective Dee

Latest Detective Dee poster (Sina)

(Aug.30) Brigitte Lin visited the Taiwan Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. Organizers welcomed her by playing the theme song to The East is Red.

Brigitte Lin (r)

(Xinhua)(Sina)

Chen Kun in a Rock ‘n roll themed photo spread for Hong Kong Men’s Folio magazine.

Chen Kun (Xinhua-gallery)

Zhang Ziyi and Zhang Zaifeng (Aftershock) tape a program promoting education for TV (Xinhua)

SG: Michelle Reis to give birth in Hong Kong

SG: Faye Wong rules the household?

Singer Vivian Hsu claims career frozen for past three years

Barbie Hsu went on secret matchmaking dates

August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010

LATimes: Zhang Yimou remakes the Coen brothers’ ‘Blood Simple’

The result is the lush, slapstick ‘A Women, a Gun and a Noodle Shop.’ The film highlights the rise of Chinese cinema.

FBA: Woo to wage war in wide screen

John Woo will prepare his long in-development WWII epic Flying Tigers to be screened in the IMAX wide screen format.

Variety: Woo lives to make movies

Now if only someone would let him make a musical

Wang Lee Hom’s first attempt at writing and directing a feature film, Love In Disguise, drew mixed reviews from critics but raves from fans.

CRI: Jackie Chan, Li Bingbing to Play Couple in New Film

Jackie Chan and Li Bingbing will play a couple in the upcoming historical film “The 1911 Revolution” (aka Xinhai Revolution).

New stills released of Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Carina Lau

Andy Lau

Li Bingbing

Deng Chao (Sina)(Xinhua-gallery)

(m1905.com)

Reporters learned that Zhang Yimou invited a group of friends into a small television editing room to watch a preview of Romance Under the Hawthorn Tree. Though the original novel brought numerous tears to readers, the film was described as touching but not overly sentimental. In addtion, much has been made of the young actress playing Quiet Autumn, Zhou Dongyu, but praise was lavished on the young boy played by Dou Xiao. According to one viewer, ‘His performace was fine, pure, natural and simple. After the movie release, he will become a hit with young schoolgirls and thousands will fall in love with him.’ (Sina)

Cast of A Chinese Ghost Story press conference at Changchun Film Festival

Liu Yifei, Yu Shaoqun

Kara Hui

Louis Fan Siu-Wong, Wang Danyi Li

Following Ip Man 2’s May release this year, Wilson Yip is planning on a May 2011 release for A Chinese Ghost Story. (Xinhua)(Sina)

Anthony Wong has no opinion on Jackie’s remarks

(Xinhua)

(Aug.28) Alan Tam, Hacken Lee, Raymond Lam, Wang Leehom and Twins performed in a concert to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Macau Venetian.

Twins

Raymond Lam, Charlene Choi

Wang Leehom (Xinhua-slide show)

Faye Wong, daughter Dou Jing Tong

Dou Jing Tong, Li Yapeng

Faye Wong’s 13 year-old daughter is said to have inherited her mother’s genes after she sang in public for the first time. Dou Jing Tong sang a song, I Need You, in English beginning a little tentatively at first but gaining strength as she continued. The occasion  was part of the ‘Angel Fund Tour’.  Stepfather Li Yapeng and Dou Jing Tong and volunteers of the medical team of the Angel Fund to benefit children with free surgery to correct cleft lips were visiting a school in the town of Chifeng. After a day’s activity and a few glasses of wine, the students performed singing and dancing around a bonfire party to welcome the distinguished guests. Then, Li Yapeng introduced Dou Jing Tong, ‘Now I introduce to you a guest, she is my eldest daughter, Tong Tong. She will sing a song on stage for everyone, please give her a little applause.’  Afterwards, volunteers said her voice was crisp and sounded very much like her mother’s. Li Yapeng said that three years ago Tong Tong asked for a set of electronic drums and he approved. Tong Tong is active in the orchestra and choir at school. (Xinhua)2

Francis Ng spotted alone at Beijing airport

(Xinhua-gallery)

Aug.29 - Zhang Ziyi attending a celebrity dinner and auction organizned jointly by the Shanghai Love Foundation and Beijing Foundation for Disabled Persons.

Other guests included Huang Xiaoming, Pau Gasol, Jiang Wenli, Huang Yi, Gong Beibi, Liu Qian, Chen Luyu and many others.

Zhang Ziyi looks to have gained a little healthy weight

Pau Gasol

Huang Yi, Huang Xiaoming

Lin Miaoke (the Olympic girl), Sun Ming Ming

Magician Liu Qian

Liu Yan (the classical dancer who was paralyzed after a fall during a rehearsal for the Olympic Opening Ceremony) (Sina)(Xinhua)

Global Times: Jackie Chan’s twitter arouses haters in Hong Kong

Jackie Chan apologises for ‘disrespectful’ bus hijacking tweets

Some felt there was nothing wrong with his tweets and expressed disappointment that he caved to pressure and apologised while others felt he should have been more careful with his words in the first place.

August 27, 2010

August 27, 2010

THR: ‘Kung Fu Panda’ writers to pen ‘Karate Kid’ sequel

CRI: Stephen Fung Challenges Dwight Howard in Basketball

Stephen Fung has joined in the Basketball film “Amazing” which is now under production in Shanghai.

Chen Chien-Chou, Dwight Howard, director Sherwood Hu, Huang Yi, Stephen Fung

Chen Chien-Chou, Dwight Howard, Stephen Fung (Sina)

Donnie Yen, Huang Bo (Crazy Stone, Crazy Racer, Cow) in Legend of the Fist: Return of Chen Zhen

Huang Bo (Sina)

CRI: Yu Nan, Francis Ng Featured in New ‘Wind Blast’ Posters

CRI: ‘The Lost Bladesman’ Unveils New Stills

FBA: Triple Tap (鎗王之王) (5/10)

Cat-and-mouse crime game starts promisingly but then goes off the rails from its midpoint.

Martial arts comedy The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordsman from Wuershan (Wu Ershan) will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival. (Sina)

Gillian Chung

Gillian Chung in her Tang Dynasty costume for her first Mainland TV series (Xinhua-gallery)

She will reportedly lose $30M yuan in loss income the next 10 months from cancellation of advert and endosements for clothing and weight loss brands. (Xinhua)

The Monga actor was recently caught up in a product endorsement deal clash between two different jeans brands.

Jackie Chan condemned on the internet (Xinhua)

Eric Tseng, told Hong Kong media that he felt Chan’s statements were inappropriate, when he attended a TVB memorial ceremony Thursday morning.

“This time the mistake is especially big, his words come out the wrong way every time,” said Tseng during the event, which reportedly saw more than 1,000 TVB employees turn up to mourn the deaths of the hostages.

Eric Tsang

(Xinhua)

Mourning for Manila victims: Kenny Kwan, Nicholas Tse, Cecilia Cheung and Yumiko Cheng

Nicholas is refusing gifts and celebration for his upcoming birthday, Aug.28. (Xinhua)

ChinaHush: After Manila hostage incident

Apple Daily made this animated simulation of what was happening inside of the bus.

A letter from a teenage Filipino to the WHOLE WORLD via CNN

August 26, 2010

August 26, 2010

Aroma City: Athena Chu Fantasy Film to Be Released in December (CRI)

The film is about the romance between a fairy who has sweet smell but is an aphasiac and a young man from a wealthy family. The beautiful and innocent fairy saves the young man’s life and eventually falls in love with him.

CRI: Taiwan Film “Monga” to Compete for Oscar

CRI: Jia Zhangke Takes ‘I Wish I Knew’ to Toronto

FBA: Aftershock (唐山大地震) (7/10)

Long-limbed drama is surprisingly moving without being a simple tearjerker.

Contrary to expectations and the pre-release hype, Aftershock is neither a CGI-heavy disaster epic nor a melodramatic wallow.

Jackie’s stepped into it again!

Jackie Chan draws flak for tweets on Manila hostage-taking

He said that the 11-hour standoff, which led to the death of hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza and 8 Hong Kong tourists, was also hard for the Filipino people, particularly the police.

“If they killed the guy sooner, they will say why not negotiate first? If they negotiate first, they ask why not kill the guy sooner? So sad,” Chan tweeted.

Hong Kongers weren’t very pleased with Chan’s comments. Moments after, they set up a Facebook groups to criticize the actor, such as “Jackie Chan doesn’t represent Hong Kong” and “Jackie Chan doesn’t represent me.”

WSJ: In Hong Kong, Tributes and Backlash Follow Hostage Deaths

Johnnie To is said to be ready to begin shooting a new film in November based on the recent real-life Chongqing anti-corruption crackdown. [At least one senior Chongqing official was executed.] A script has been submitted and awaiting final approval by the film review board. Casting possibilities include Sun Honglei and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. (Sina) (Related)

Don Quixote poster featuring Paul Chun

Paul Chun feels lucky to watch process of making 3D movie (Sina)

Passion, tension in Stool Pigeon

Guei Lun-Mei (Kwai Lun-Mei), Nicholast Tse

(Sina)

Duan Yihong - Wind Blast

Wind Blast, Let the Bullets Fly marks the return of manly men films aimed to attract both male and female audiences.

Wind Blast poster - Killers version features Francis Ng, Yu Nan (Sina)2

Yao Chen, Liu Ye

Yao Chen

Yao Chen and Liu Ye shoot a magazine spread ahead of their October release of Color Me Love directed by Alexi Tan (Blood Brothers) and produced by Terence Chang for Lion Rock Productions. (Sina)

SG: Vicki Zhao refuses to talk about marriage

(Xinhua)

Koni Lui - “Center gate wide open” dress draws flak

Gillian Chung: Do daring bed scenes? ‘I haven’t thought about it’

Three years ago, chugging beer and indulging in a passionate on-screen smooch with a co-star would probably stand no chance of making it onto Gillian Chung’s resume…

HKStandard: Blundering siege cops suspended

Fish with tongue caught in Guangdong!

(Xinhua)

August 25, 2010

August 25, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — dleedlee @ 12:34 pm

CRI: Art-House Film ‘Death Dowry’ Set for Sept. 29 Release

“Death Dowry” starring actress Tao Hong will open in local cinemas on September 29.

CRI: Karena Lam’s Image in “Don Quixote” Revealed

The film is slated for public release on October 15. In the meantime, some reports have indicated that Lam might leave the entertainment industry now that she has finished making the film.

CRI: ’Detective Dee’ Features Eyebrow-Bleached Carina

CRI: Under the Hawthorn Tree’ Releases First Trailer

FBA: Peter Chan begins shooting Wu Xia

FBA: Box office summary

In fourth place, Wang Lee-hom’s comedy Love in Disguise is set to become the highest grossing Chinese film by a first-time director. By Sunday night, the film had taken RMB47 million ($6.9 million), including RMB12 million ($1.9 million) on Chinese Valentine’s Day.

By comparison, Li Weiran’s debut, Welcome to Shamatown, made RMB47.4 million earlier this summer. Jay Chou’s romantic fantasy Secret, which marked his directing debut, made RMB33.3 million ($4.9 million) on release in China in 2007.

THR: Sylvia Chang named to HKIFFS board

Vivian Chow, Sandra Ng wore black to the premiere of All About Love out of respect for the Hong Kong tourists killed in the Philippines. (Sina)

Many Hong Kong and Taiwan artists expressed their sadness and bitterness for the loss of life and derided the incompetence of the police force. Richie Jen announced the cancellation of a scheduled concert in the Philippines to benefit overseas Chinese. Others, like Michael Tse changed vacation plans. Many posted condolences and prayers on their Weibos.

Richie Ren cancels Philippine concert in wake of bus hijacking

Richie Ren

Eric Tsang held a moment of silence before his TV program and also denounced the police as slow to act. He also cancelled the door prize portion of the program as the atmosphere was too heavy with sadness. (Sina)2, 3, 4, (On.cc)2

ChinaHush: Pilipino female students pose for photos in front of hijacked Hong Kong tour bus

Sure to inflame sentiments

Chrissie Chau appearing for Peach John lingerie brand

(Sina)2

SG: Anita Yuen gunning for a kid

SG: Sandra Ng denies pregnancyHK actress Sandra Ng denies pregnancy rumours

August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010

THR: Korean ‘Tomorrow’ gets Venice screening

Remake of John Woo classic invited to honor director

CRI: Latest Stills of Chinese Horror Film ‘The Island

Chinese horror film “The Island” (”Jue Ming Dao”), in which a billionaire sets up a deadly game on a Southeast Asian island in attempt to save his son who needs a heart transplant, has released several stills.

FBA: Colette Koo has passed away

From My Name Ain’t Suzie, 1985

(Aug.21) Tang Wei’s appearance at Tengchong airport drew screams of recognition whereby the actress had to hastily don  her sunglasses.

Tang Wei will reportedly play Donnie Yen’s wife in Peter Chan’s adaptation of the One-Armed Swordsman film, Wu Xia. The leads arrived early in Tengchong County to acclimate themselves to highlands high altitude atmosphere which is 3000m above sea level. Peter Chan selected Tengchong as a location because of the beautiful scenery; there are terraces, ancient villages, waterfalls consistent with the ‘retreat’ concept of the film.  Despite the rainy season not quite at an end, filming is to begin in September because Donnie Yen’s schedule is full with Monkey King scheduled to begin shooting in December. During an interview at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Peter Chan said Wu Xia is about a sword master, played by Donnie Yen, in seclusion for years. Detective Takeshi Kaneshiro is curious and his scepticism leads to trouble. Chan said Wu Xia will combine action, science, medicine and special effects. Tang Wei reportedly beat out Gong Li, Zhao Wei, Li Xiaoran for her role. (Xinhua)2

Stills of Barbie Hsu and Wang Xueqi in a passionate scene from Reign of Assassins

(Sina-slide show)

Stephen Chow has been confirmed as among the cast of The Founding of a Party. Besides Hong Kong artists John Woo, Chow Yun-Fat, Daniel Wu, and Andy Lau, mainland artists Liu Ye, Chen Kun, Zhou Xun, Zhang Hangyu, Zhang Guoli and Dong Jie are among the reported cast members confirmed so far. Zhao Benshan is also said to have agreed to join. (Sina)

Vivian Chow and Sandra Ng wear Max Mara in an upcoming Jessica Code magazine feature

(Xinhua)

Sending this one out to loyal reader, Glenn

Cecilia Cheung flacking Stool Pigeon featuring hubby Nicholas Tse and Nick Cheung.

(Sina)

SG: Cecilia Cheung’s Facebook shout-out

Charlene Choi in an Adidas shoot

(Xinhua)

Vivian Hsu

Vivian Hsu posted this funny picture of herself on her Weibo. Her caption said that she ate too much in Japan and now had to diet. No explanation on how she created the effect. (Xinhua)

Sammi Cheng’s Guangzhou concert

(Sina-slide show)

CRI: Fan Bingbing Helps Children Fight Heart Defects

SG: Aaron Kwok and Lynn Hung cohabiting?

SG: Andy Hui and Sammi Cheng can hide no more

SG: Michelle Reis expecting baby boy

SG: Sandra Ng expecting her second child

When reporters asked Sandra about the rumours of her late pregnancy, Sandra stuttered and mumbled her way out of the situation, neither confirming nor denying the rumours.

August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 11:54 am

Global Times: The branding wars: Zhang Ziyi’s latest self-reinvention falls flat

The solution is really not that complicated. All she had to do to survive the scandals was to admit to the fraud and then blame it on her team, but she held on to her pride and refused to apologize. She denied the fraud and made excuses, which finally evoked public rage and large-scale media criticism.

Zhang made the right choice by keeping a low profile for some time, enough for the scandals to dissipate and Zhang and her team to create a new public image…

CRI: Call For Control on Smoking in Chinese TV and Movies

The Chinese Association of Tobacco Control (CATC) is calling on The State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) to exert tougher controls over TV and movie scenes showing people smoking.The Chinese Association of Tobacco Control (CATC) is calling on The State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) to exert tougher controls over TV and movie scenes showing people smoking. (Xinhua)

FBA: Kung Fu Hip-Hop 2 (精舞門2) (4/10)

Weak follow-up to the 2008 original, with plenty of dancing but not much else.

The Stool Pigeon: Excellent male leads carry the show

The storyline is gritty and engaging but is completely eclipsed by the excellent acting of its two male leads.

Chen Kun and Dong Jie have joined the cast of The Founding of a Party. Chen Kun will play Zhou Enlai while Dong Jie will play Soong Ching-Ling. (Xinhua)(Sina)

CRI: Gordon Chan Casts Foxy Lady in Latest Movie

The new film, “Wall Paintings” (”Hua Bi”), has two young men seeking shelter from the rain in a dilapidated temple and being attracted there to two beautiful women who turn out to be a fox and a snake in human form.

Actress Yan Ni, the heroine of Zhang Yimou’s “A Simple Noodle Story”, stars as the fox. Other cast members are yet to be announced.

Takeshi Kaneshiro

Tang Wei

Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tang Wei were spotted leaving a hotel restaurant where the cast of Peter Chan’s Wu Xia were dining in Tengchong, Yunnan Province. Earlier this month, Peter Chan had denied rumors Tang Wei was cast to play Takeshi Kaneshiro’s wife and no such role existed. When contacted, Peter Chan issued a statement that the standard practice of the industry is to not acknowledge cast lineups until contracts have been signed.  (Xinhua)(Sina)

Tang Wei’s arrival at airport in Tengchong. (Sina-gallery)

Pang Brothers Perfect Fairy Tale shoot in Hong Kong mall attracts onlookers

Wang Baoqiang, Lau Ching-Wan

Oxide(?) Pang, Wang Baoqiang

Wang Baoqiang, Oxide Pang, Lau Ching-Wang, Joey Meng Yee-Man (Xinhua)

Dante Lam’s Stool Pigeon

Nick Cheung

Nicholas Tse

Liu Kai-Chi (Sina)

Yu Nan - I kill men for fun in Wind Blast

Film opens Oct.28

(Sina)(21cn)

Zhang Jiarui’s (Red River) thriller Lost City (previously Distant Thunder/Secrets of the Past) has been pushed back to an October release. Originally set for a Aug. 20 release, the schedule was adjusted to avoid facing The Expendables with Sylvester Stallone and Jet Li and also fit into the Halloween season.

Ge Siran (Sina)2

Karen Mok - Taipei

Karen Mok denied allegations that her single Precious/Baby was plagiarised from ’80s Captain and Tennille song, Do That To Me One More Time. (Sina)

Cecilia Cheung, Charlene Choi

Charlene, Ceci, Nicholas Tse

Charlene Choi posted photos of her dinner visit at Ceci and Nicholas Tse’s home. (Aug.21) (Sina)

Global Times: Believing in Jane, Zhang begins tour

Jackie Chan wants kung fu as Olympic sport

Taiwanese singer claims sex trade in Korea’s show business

Global Times: Hello kitty themed children’s hospital (slide show)

August 20, 2010

August 20, 2010

THR: ’Chan’ looks to reshape view of Asian character (Charlie Chan)

Iconic film detective, cop he was based on covered in dual bio

THR: Youku debuts original online film series

“The Boxer’s Secret,” an original Chinese online movie, on Friday kicked off a new Chevrolet- and China Film Group-sponsored series on Youku, one of the leading online video sites in the country with more web surfers than any other, now numbering 420 million.

Called Youku Originals’ “11 Degrees” New Media Film Project, the series has sponsored 10 “young” directors in their creation of 10 short narrative features showcasing Chevrolet’s four-door Cruze sedan, a model the U.S. car maker hopes will appeal to China’s fast-growing car market.

Jung Woo-Sung

CRI: New Posters from John Woo’s “Reign of Assassins”

CRI: Publicity Launches for John Woo’s Latest Film, “Reign of Assassins”

Li Bingbing

CRI: Latest Stills of ‘Detective Dee’

CRI: Dwight Howard Has ‘Amazing’ Acting in Shanghai

Chinese acting stars, including Huang Xiaoming and Huang Yi, take the lead roles in the film about a group of basketball fanatics challenging themselves with the sport.

CRI: The Eyes Have It for New Thriller ‘The Man’

A poster showing the mystic theme of the suspense film “The Man Behind the Courtyard House”.

The film tells of a man who, after spending ten years behind bars, begins a new life before returning to his criminal ways.

Director John Woo’s latest film “Flying Tigers,” set to start shooting this fall, will be released in IMAX format.

First stills of Gu Changwei’s Life is a Miracle featuring Aaron Kwok

Aaron Kwok

(Sina)

First stills from Alan Mak and Felix Chong’s The Lost Bladesman now in post-production.

(Sina)

Posters for Korean version of A Better Tomorrow

Flocks of tourists gathered around 110 red Chinese Kung Fu sculptures of Bruce Lee on display at the World Expo on Aug. 17.

CRI: Actress Shu Qi Featured in Fashion Photos

Nick Cheung shoots his first ever beauty, uh - skin care, advert (Xinhua)

Chingmy Yau - 6 months pregnant

Veronica Yip and Chingmy Yau caught up with old time before Veronica left Hong Kong.

Veronica Yip

(Xinhua)(Sina)2

Andy Hui and Cecilia Cheung secret romance during shooting of Sex and the Beauties in 2004? (Xinhua)

Maggie Q - Maggie Q’s Racy Nikita Billboards Upset Mall Bosses(Xinhua)

Variety: CW’s ‘Nikita’ ads too sexy?

SG: Gong Li speaks up (on rumours)

SG: Sandra Ng expecting her second child

Richard Ng: Grumpy old man

August 19, 2010

August 19, 2010

Concept poster for The Man Behind The Courtyard House starring Simon Yam and Zhang Jingchu

(formerly Watchman/Watchmen here)

Thrillers fans are enjoying a wave of new films with the recent releases of Illusion Apartment, Curse of the Deserted, and the upcoming Midnight Pulse and The Island. (Sina)2

NPR: Giving ‘Charlie Chan’ A Second Chance

China: no film ratings, restated censors role (THR)

SARFT vice minister sees more cinemas, cheaper tickets

CRI: It’s Not Time for Film Rating System

THR: Thomas Mao

Bottom line: A fresh and delightful crossover between art and life, documentary and fiction, dream and reality.

Writer-director Felix Chong’s light satire on gangster dramas is hit-and-miss.

The upcoming Hong Kong cops and gangsters film “The Stool Pigeon” was screened for the press in Beijing recently, and proved the film had passed the Mainland examiners and would be presented in its original form without any cuts.

Reboot of John Woo classic focuses on drama

When the Korean remake of John Woo’s seminal, genre-defining shoot’em up, “A Better Tomorrow” rolls out in multiplexes all over Korea during next month’s Chuseok holiday, don’t expect a faithful update.

Michelle Ye (and Aaron Kwok) won 3rd place prize

front: Chin Kar-Lok, Ng Ka-Lok, Michelle Ye, Aaron Kwok, Ekin Cheng

Chin Kar-Lok placed second to winner Ng Ka-Lok in Jet Li’s One Foundation Celebrity Charity Cup race in Shanghai.

Jet Li and volunteer Lin Peng

Lin Peng

(Xinhua-slide show)(Sina)

While Vicki is willing to give the marriage time, she is said to be taking on jobs to ensure that she has a steady income in the event of a divorce and she needs to fight for custody of her daughter.

She even met up with a famous Chinese scriptwriter to discuss plans for her movie, which will be her first self-directed feature.

Karena Lam (Sina)

HK actress Karena Lam goes back to school

Karena Lam’s management company has released an official statement on Wednesday, clarifying that the 32-year-old had not completely left the industry but has gone back to school, reported Chinese media.

SG: Irene Wan shows her motherly side

After 10 years of marriage, former sex-bomb Irene Wan has given up on trying to conceive and decided to adopt instead.

CRI: Chinese Women’s National Volleyball Team Triggers Debate in Hong Kong

Thomas Mao (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 9:39 am

Thomas Mao
Bottom line: A fresh and delightful crossover between art and life, documentary and fiction, dream and reality.
By Maggie Lee

SHANGHAI — An intellectually teasing absurdist comedy with a touch of Zen, Zhu Wen’s “Thomas Mao” ostensibly dramatizes the culture shock between a Chinese hillbilly and an American backpacker but goes beyond that to smudge the boundaries between art and life, dream and reality. “Inception” it is not, but its layering of dreams is nearly as complex, and even encompasses such diverse elements as Chinese philosophy, myth of Genesis, martial arts, alien visitation and avant garde art.

Filled with as many laugh-out-loud farcical gags as high brow visual aesthetics, “Thomas Mao” is a refreshing aperitif for the artsy crowd yet relatively accessible to an open-minded western audience. Within China’s current filmmaking trends, it juts out like a lone palm tree in a desert oasis. The majority audience will probably be festival audiences and China’s art in-crowd.

The prologue quotes a famous anecdote of Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi (369-286 B.C.) One day, he dreams of turning into a butterfly; awake, he wonders if he is in fact a butterfly dreaming of being Zhuangzi. This belief in the relativity of perception or experience and the elusiveness of reality itself underpin the film’s many parallel worlds, which Zhu evokes with wacky spoofs of ’80s Hong Kong “wire-fu” swordplay flicks and sci-fi B-movies.

The film is divided into two wildly different yet intriguingly connected parts. The first part takes place on the Mongolian grassland during the summer of the 2008 Olympics. An American painter (Thomas Rohdewald) takes up lodgings for three days at a ramshackle lakeside inn run by a hot-headed, trigger-happy innkeeper (Mao Yan). They have preternatural visions and share the same dream.

While Mao is a hilarious and scary bundle of demented Neanderthal energy, Rohdewald tackles his roles and the ridiculous situations he gets into with deadpan roguery. Their delightful screen rapport is like that of bickering old-time chums.

The situation of a grumpy, demanding foreigner talking at cross purposes with a country bumpkin who rants in an obscure Hunan dialect gives fodder for “lost in translation” jokes. To this, Zhu adds slapstick humor arising from a different type of ‘racial tension’: the innkeeper is murderously intent on guarding his prized purebred German Alsatian from the sexual advances of a local mongrel, while the American keeps helping the mutt sow his wild oats behind his back.

In bold spatial and color contrast to the first part, with its boundless natural setting, lush green palette interspersed with Taoist black-and-white color dichotomies, the second part tracks fluidly around stark interiors of pristine gray and white. To disclose what happens in this segment, and the real life identities of Mao and Rohdewald would deprive the viewer of the kick they’ll get from the surprise reversals.

Though shot in a documentary style, such is the director’s playful tone that this section could well be nothing but a dream shared by the innkeeper and his guest as they take a nap in the front lawn.

Alternatively, the first part could be a dream, shared by the Mao and Rohdewald as they dose off simultaneously at the end of part two. Indeed, one could interpret any part or all of the film as one or many dreams.

Venue: Shanghai International Film Festival
Production & Sales: China Film Assist.
Cast: Mao Yan, Thomas Rohdewald, Jingzi, Ye Feng, Gouzi
Director-screenwriter-producer-editor: Zhu Wen
Producer: Geng Ling
Executive producers: Wang Jinghua
Director of photography: Wang Min
Production designer: Huang Xinming
Music: Liao Ching Song
Costume designer: Xiang Honghui
Editor: Kong Jinlei
No rating, 77 minutes
THR

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