HKMDB Daily News

May 17, 2013

A Touch of Sin (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 8:06 pm

A Touch of Sin
17 May, 2013
By Fionnuala Halligan

Jia Zhang-ke’s A Touch Of Sin is clearly fuelled by an anger that mirrors the tone of his very first underground film, Xiao Wu. This time, however, Jia is not shooting under the radar, and he brokes no misunderstanding. A Touch Of Sin conveys a more overt contempt for China’s moral bankruptcy - root and branch - that should pose problems for the director on a personal level.

This violent denunciation of the world’s economic engine has also provoked a change of style for the Shanxi-born director, previously the darling of the more rarified end of the digital arthouse. Its seductive aesthetic – while preserving some of the director’s cherished naturalism – is a riposte to the elaborate frames of Jia’s Fifth Generation predecessors. Relating four true-life stories from the pages of Chinese newspapers, A Touch Of SIn is also extremely violent. It is, in essence, a vision of the underbelly of today’s China which, fuelled by headlines, may attract much wider audiences for Jia overseas, even as it causes outrage at home.

Using professional actors including Jiang Wu and Wang Baoqiang, A Touch Of Sin is a larger, much more ambitious production than Jia has previously attempted (his last film at Cannes was 24 City in 2008, while Still Life won the Golden Lion in 2006. Many still remember him best however for The World, set in a Beijing amusement park). His films have always tracked his country’s rapid development, always with a critical eye. But this, in particular, is a bristling film; with anger, colours, affluence, landscapes which jut into the frame, both natural and man-made.

It’s also a road movie in the tradition of the wuxia genre, a homage paid in the title (to King Hu’s A Touch Of Zen). Migrants jostle from province to province. Private planes, high-speed trains, fancy Western cars and primitive motorbikes share the roads with the Chinese zodiac symbols of a tiger, oxen, a horse, a snake (directed by Tsui Hark, according to the credits), reminding us that the struggle is an enduring – if not eternal - one. Chinese opera singers cry: “Do you understand your sin?”

Jia relates four stories in the film, which track southwards through China, starting in the agricultural province of Shanxi and ultimately reaching Dongguan, a town in Guangong province. In Shanxi, a statue of Mao looks over the town square in where Dahai (Jiang Wu) bridles at the death of collectivism and the riches of the town’s mayor who has profited by the sale of the coalmine. Down south, in Guangdong, where prostitutes dance in skimpy PLA uniforms and thigh-high boots to patriotic songs, such ideas might even seem quaint.

Jia sees a China plagued by questions that individuals can only answer with violence. These also include a violent migrant worker with a gun who visits home over Chinese New Year, a receptionist at a sauna who is assaulted by a rich client; and a young factory worker moving from job to job in Guangdong. In the film’s press notes, Jia says all these stories are well-known at home in China. By adding them together, he assembles a force with which he repeatedly assails the viewer.

Jia works again with his regular Hong Kong cinematographer Yu Lick-wai who rises to the challenge of the director’s ambition from the very first frames – of vibrant green palm fronts, an over-turned truck filled with tomatoes, and a mysterious explosion. The colours pop and the artifice works side by side with the naturalism. Even as the repetitive messages of violence and dislocation come to lose some of their effect by the final frames, Jia’s outrage is the diving force that he musters to deliver a significant change in direction.

Production companies: XStream Pictures, Office Kitano, Shanghai Film Group Corporation.

International sales: MK2, www.mk2.com

Producer: Shozo Ichiyama

Executive producer: Jia Zhang-ke

Cinematography Yu Lik-wai

Music: Lim Giong

Main cast: Zhao Tao, Jiang Wi, Wang Baoqiang, Luo Lanshan
ScreenDaily

A Touch of Sin (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 1:17 pm

A Touch of Sin

MAY 16, 2013
Justin Chang

Not exactly your grandmother’s Jia Zhangke movie, “A Touch of Sin” marks an arresting but unpersuasive change of pace for a filmmaker hitherto lauded for his placid, perceptive snapshots of contemporary China (“Still Life,” “The World”). Once again exploring the many varieties of social, political and economic oppression at home, Jia crams together four very uneven stories of four troubled individuals, all climaxing in horrific acts of violence that send the film swerving into Grand Guignol territory. Likely to court solid arthouse attention, plus some controversy despite its official Chinese sponsorship, this is unquestionably Jia’s most mainstream-friendly work, if also his most schematic and, blades aside, least penetrating; its ripped-from-the-headlines relevance is decidedly at odds with its giddy geysers of blood.

Many of the purist auteurists who have made the writer-director such a celebrated figure on the international stage may well reject his seventh feature on aesthetic grounds alone. For them, the real sin will be that Jia has abandoned the docu-fiction experimentation of 2008′s “24 City” in favor of a relatively robust narrative, replete with the sort of balls-to-the-wall brutality more typically encountered in the work of Quentin Tarantino or Takashi Miike.

Others may argue that Jia has merely rendered explicit the convulsive undercurrents present in his work all along, exploring the extreme consequences of local corruption and neglect, rampant greed, poor labor conditions and countless other social ills fueled by China’s economic miracle. Allowing content to dictate form, he has adopted a pulpy and accessible realist style in order to tackle some of his country’s most notorious recent tragedies on a broad, panoramic canvas. (Among the incidents either fictionalized or mentioned here are a deadly high-speed train accident in 2011 and the suicides of 18 Foxconn factory employees in 2010.)

In any event, there’s a certain pleasure to be had in seeing a revered auteur go off the disreputable deep end, and there’s no denying “A Touch of Sin” packs a visceral wallop — particular in the first and bloodiest of its four loosely connected yarns. On a dusty stretch of China’s northern Shanxi province (Jia’s birthplace), a disgruntled miner (Jiang Wu) goes around verbally abusing the corrupt village officials who have cost him his livelihood; not until he arms himself with a rifle are his threats and accusations taken seriously. A gun also figures into the film’s less involving second segment, set in the southwestern city of Chongqing; there, a dead-eyed migrant worker (Wang Baoqiang), who has returned home for his mother’s 70th birthday celebration, makes a singularly productive if lethal discovery.

The protagonists of the next two vignettes register as considerably more human and sympathetic. Most of the film’s acting opportunities go to Jia’s wife and regular muse, Zhao Tao, cast here as a sauna receptionist (based in the central Chinese province of Hubei) who makes the mistake of giving her married lover an ultimatum. If nothing else, the outcome of this melodrama puts a knife-wielding Zhao at the center of one of the film’s more indelibly blood-spattered images.

Nineteen-year-old Luo Lanshan, the sole non-pro actor among the four leads, gets the film’s limpest role as a mild-mannered kid who drifts from one soul-crushing job to another in the industrial city of Dongguan, well known for having China’s highest concentration of sex workers. This final tale does allow Jia to get in some wickedly satirical jabs — particularly in a few scenes at a high-end brothel peddling young women in sexy military uniforms — before attempting to tie the stories together in a sub-Kieslowskian narrative framework.

Rather than employing his customary long shots, the director keeps the camera in unsparing proximity to the often murderous action, rendered all the more potent by Yu Likwai’s crisp digital lensing and Matthieu Lac Lau and Lin Xudong’s sharp editing. Yet just as the horror of senseless real-life violence tends to frustrate and overwhelm any effort to understand it, so these onscreen bloodbaths wind up muddling the script’s attempts at narrative explanation; the characters’ fatal decisions seem by turns inscrutable, inevitable and arbitrary, making for neither effective psychology nor effective sociology.

As usual, Jia excels at finding the poetry in dislocation and decay; the strongest motif here is the sense of these itinerant workers continually and hopelessly on the move, often framed against crumbling ruins and construction zones as they wander in search of a reason to keep going. Densely populated though it must be, this is a China where everyone seems horribly alone.

The film is also rich in cinematic reference points, and not just because of the titular homage to King Hu’s 1971 wuxia classic, “A Touch of Zen”; attentive audiences will find a certain resonance in the casting of Jiang, who starred in Zhang Yimou’s banned mainland epic “To Live,” and Baoqiang, from Li Yang’s brilliant coal-mine thriller “Blind Shaft.” The allusions extend to Jia’s body of work as well: A traveling theater troupe evokes his 2000 epic “Platform,” while a Three Gorges Dam interlude can’t help but recall “Still Life.” Viewed in context, these images feel like hopeful reminders of the past, gestures at an accomplished oeuvre to which this restless talent cannot return quickly enough.

Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (competing), May 16, 2013. Running time: 133 MIN. Original title: “Tian zhu ding”
Production
(China) An Xstream Pictures (Beijing), Office Kitano, Shanghai Film Group Corp. and MK2 presentation in association with Shanxi Film and Television Group, Bandai Visual, Bitters End. (International sales: MK2, Paris.) Produced by Shozo Ichiyama. Executive producers, Jia Zhangke, Masayuki Mori, Ren Zhonglun. Co-producers, Eva Lam, Qian Jianping, Gao Xiaojiang, Zhang Dong.
Crew
Directed, written by Jia Zhangke. Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Yu Lik-wai; editors, Matthieu Lac Lau, Lin Xudong; music, Lim Giong; art director, Liu Weixin; sound designer, Zhang Yang; associate producers, Kazumi Kawashiro, Yuji Sadai, Liu Shiyu, Jia Bin.
With
Jiang Wu, Wang Baoqiang, Zhao Tao, Luo Lanshan, Zhang Jiayi, Li Meng. (Mandarin dialogue, Shanxi, Sichuan dialects; Cantonese dialogue, Hunan dialect; English dialogue)
Variety

A Touch of Sin (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 3:41 am

A Touch of Sin
5/16/2013 by David Rooney

The Bottom Line
Impassioned admirers of maverick Chinese writer-director Jia Zhang-ke’s work may get on board, but new converts seem unlikely.

China returns to the Cannes competition with Jia Zhang-ke’s sobering view of festering discontent as the gap between the country’s rich and poor expands.

CANNES – The widening chasm of social inequality separating the moneyed powerbrokers from the struggling masses – not to mention the despair and violence bred by that disparity – is a subject of saddening universality. Exploring those thematic lines in A Touch of Sin (Tian Zhu Ding), Chinese auteur Jia Zhang-ke only occasionally strikes chords that resonate, despite having distinguished himself as one of the most perceptive chroniclers of his country’s transition into 21st century nationhood in films like Platform and The World.

The English-language title of his seventh narrative feature is a play on King Hu’s 1971 martial arts epic, A Touch of Zen. And while that seems more a homage than a significant structural inspiration, there are certainly genre elements here that are new to Jia’s work. But tonal inconsistency, lethargic pacing and a shortage of fresh insight dilute the storytelling efficacy of this quartet of loosely interconnected episodes involving ordinary people pushed over the edge.

As always, the visual compensations are considerable thanks to regular cinematographer Yu Lik-wai, whose eye for arresting detail is equally sharp whether trained on natural landscapes, assembly-line industrial communities, bleak mining towns or the crumbling remnants of China’s past.

While the distinctions among the four far-flung principal settings and their various dialects will mean little to audiences unversed in Chinese geography and linguistics, a strong sense does emerge of a rootless populace displaced by sweeping cultural change and economic necessity. When one character living paycheck-to-paycheck responds to the suggestion of trying his luck abroad by saying that the rest of the world is broke, and that’s why so many are descending on China, the sardonic edge to Jia’s observation will be lost on nobody.

The film opens with a punchy bout of bloodshed as three kids brandishing hatchets hold up passing motorcyclist Zhou San (Wang Baoqiang) on a stretch of lonely road. But they are foiled when he calmly pulls out a gun and dispatches them. That drifter, with his taste for firearms and robbery, resurfaces later in the least focused of the film’s four narrative strands.

More satisfying is the story of coalmining company employee Dahai (Jiang Wu), a disgruntled former classmate of the corporate boss, who, along with the village officials, has forgotten his promises of profit sharing while whizzing around on his private jet. Having failed to convince the firm’s accountant to expose its financial inequities, Dahai disrupts the media moment of the chief’s return to town, met by a welcoming committee of ceremonial drummers and workers incentivized to look happy. In one of the film’s more startling bursts of violence, he gets reprimanded with a metal spade to the head.

The other compelling section has frequent Jia muse Zhao Tao as Xiao Yu, a receptionist in a sauna who has given her married lover an ultimatum either to divorce his wife or end their relationship. Jia sets up the knife in her rucksack a little too pointedly. But there’s a captivating momentum to the accumulation of frustrations that lead her to use it on an arrogant massage customer who refuses to accept that she’s strictly front desk-only.

The fourth and final chapter concerns Xiao Hui (Luo Lanshan), a feckless young man who inadvertently causes an accident and is to be docked for the salary of his injured factory co-worker for the duration of his hospitalization. This prompts him to flee to a succession of short-lived jobs – including one as a greeter at a high-end sex club called The Golden Age, featuring hostesses in sexy versions of Chinese military uniforms.

In that concluding section, glimpses of tech factories in the international free-enterprise town of Dongguan inevitably conjure associations with the controversial plants where Apple products are manufactured. Jia emphasizes the dehumanizing aspect of these environments by showing a grim worker-housing complex called Oasis of Prosperity. The fact that wealth and influence are accessible only to the privileged few is acknowledged throughout the film with a borderline heavy hand.

The four fictionalized plot strands have their roots in real-life tabloid cases involving three murders and a suicide. But as assembled here, they make for a schematic narrative patchwork with scant emotional involvement. Many similar points about the growing discontent in post-reform China have been made more trenchantly by Jia in his other films, and the use of traditional opera as a mocking counterpoint to contemporary experience now seems somewhat pat.

Despite solid performances and many haunting images, there’s a disappointing banality to the film overall. Either the Dahai or the Xiao Yu story might have benefited from more robust development to make a standalone drama. But incorporated into this too-diffuse examination of escalating violence in a recklessly modernized society, their impact is dulled.

Venue: Cannes Film Festival (Competition)
Cast: Zhao Tao, Jiang Wu, Wang Baoqiang, Luo Lanshan, Zhang Jiayi, Li Meng
Production companies: Xstream Pictures, Office Kitano, Shanghai Film Group Corporation, in association with Shanxi Film & Television Group, Bandai Visual, Bitters End
Director-screenwriter: Jia Zhang-ke
Producer: Shozo Ichiyama
Execuitve producers: Jia Zhang-ke, Masayuki Mori, Ren Zhonglun
Director of photography: Yu Lik-wai
Production designer: Liu Weixin
Music: Lim Giong
Editors: Matthieu Laclau, Lin Xudong
Sales: MK2
No rating, 133 minutes.
THR


Cannes: China Buzzing Over Jia Zhangke’s ‘A Touch of Sin’

September 5, 2011

September 5, 2011

TaipeiTimes: ‘Seediq Bale’ addresses harmony

ChinaPost: Seediq Bale premiere shines in Venice

THR: Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale review

ScreenDaily: Warriors Of The Rainbow: Seediq Bale review(HKMDBNews)

FBA: Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

‘Seediq Bale’ the pride of Taiwan’s movie industry: producer

After the screening in Venice, another of the movie’s producers Jimmy Huang revealed that American distributors had raised their offer to buy the rights to the film.

Taipei premiere, Sept. 4 (Sina-slideshow)

CF: Jia Zhangke’s worries about Chinese Films

(Sept. 5) Beijing premiere for My Kingdom. Director Guo Xiaosong is still in jail serving time for a drunken driving sentence.

My Kingdom’s action director Sammo Hung

Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao

Han Geng, Barbie Hsu, Wu Chun

Yuen Biao

Magician-actor Liu Qian (Sina-gallery)

Variety: The Sorcerer And The White Snake review

THR: Film The Sorcerer And The White Snake review

ScreenDaily: The Sorcerer And The White Snake review(HKMDBNews)

More bodies hit that ground that in any feel-good Rambo movie, and while flailingly unfocused in structure it is also a fascinatingly brutal history lesson.

FBA: The Sorcerer and the White Snake

Uncomplicated chunk of Chinese legend, with plenty of CGI, action and entertainment.

CF: Reporters Praise “Its Love” in Venice

(Sina-gallery)

FBA: Cai surprises at Venice

One more Chinese film competes for Golden Lion

The film “Ren Shan Ren Hai,” or “People Mountain People Sea,” was listed as the “surprise film” to compete for the Golden Lion in the 68th Venice Film Festival on September 4, 2011, ifeng.com reports. Gu Xiaobai, screenwriter of the film, confirmed that the film director CaiShangjun has left for Venice.

Hong Kong: Line-up defies expectations (Variety)

CF: Loving Birds in “Lee’s Adventure”

The animation-based movie, “Lee’s Adventure,” released a batch of still photos featuring the two leading roles played by Jaycee Chan and Wang Ziwen. The film is about the imagination of a broken hearted young man in which he travels through time and space and finds his true love at last.

CF: New Trailer out for “1911″

The epic war movie marking the 100th anniversary of the Revolution in 1911 released its trailer in Hong Kong.

(Sina)

“My Sassy Girl” Director Takes the Helm of a Chinese Film

My Sassy Girl” director Kwak Jae Yong’s next project is a Chinese historical film starring Fan Bing Bing. He is the first Korean director to do so.

Strong buzz surrounds the possibility of Hong Kong-born superstar Chow Yun Fat taking the lead opposite Fan. Reports say Chow is the top candidate to play Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty.

Kwak Jae-Yong and Fan Bingbing (cri)

John Woo’s “Pacific Steamer” has a new Chinese title, “Fatal Love”. Zhang Hanyu, Chang Chen and Song Hye-Kyo have already been lined up. Woo said that he hopes Zhang Ziyi will also join the cast. Filming will take place in Taiwan, Shanghai and Beijing. In addition, John Woo said he will produce Zhang Meng’s (Piano in a Factory) next film. (Sina)

CF: ”The Viral Factor” Wrapped up in Beijing

Lin Peng, Jay Chou and Elaine Kam wrap up shooting of Viral Factor in Beijing

(Sina)2

Tsui Hark and Kitty Zhang Yuqi at the GQ Man of the Year awards ceremony in Beijing

(Sina-slideshow)

Zhou Dongyu’s first day at college (Xinhua-gallery)

Huang Shengyi attended the premiere of Contagion in Venice, Sept. 4, before returning to Hong Kong.

That’s a ponytail!

Heels by House of Frankenstein (Sina)(Zimbio)

MSN: Jaycee Chan dating a Taiwanese model secretly

CNA: Kelly Lin gives birth to baby girl

MSN: Another child for Kelly Lin?

The Taiwanese actress supposedly woke up from surgery and told her husband that she wanted another child

CNA: Ariel Lin chooses film over TV

Unhealthy working conditions on Taiwan drama productions have driven Taiwan singer-actress Ariel Lin to quit TV acting.

August 23, 2011

August 23, 2011

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — dleedlee @ 5:54 pm

[Shaken, but not stirred.]

FBA: Mr. Tree review

Interesting, if familiar, village black comedy, with Wang Baoqiang good as an idiot-savant.

ScreenDaily: Chinese remake planned for Korean hit My Wife Is A Gangster

THR: ’33 Postcards’ Set for 8,000 Screens in China

CF: Chen Kaige’s New Film Cast Confirmed

CF: Kiss Kiss in ‘Love in Space’

Romance film ‘Love In Space,’ the sequel to 2010 smash ‘Hot Summer Days,’ unveiled its trailer in Beijing Sunday at a press conference featuring director Wing Shya and several cast members.

CF: Trailer of “Starry Starry Night” Released

Film stars Rene Liu, Harlem Yu and Xiao Ju

Speaking at a press conference last night, Jia Zhangke is getting ready to shoot his first commercial film, In the Qing Dynasty, at the end of the year. He also revealed that his next film will recreate 1949 Hong Kong, including Kai Tak Airport. The script has been in development for a few years and investment funds are ready. Jia hopes to engage Maggie Cheung, whom he’s been in talks with, for the lead. (Sina)

First look at Louis Koo in Wilson Yip’s Lunar New Year film, produced by Raymond Wong (literally, Happy Magic). Louis plays a melancholic magician who drinks alcohol to help him forget a lot of sorrow.

(Sina)

Publicity stills from Wong Jing’s Marry a Perfect Man show Gigi Leung and Ronald Cheng riding a bus

Richie Jen, Gigi Leung and Gigi’s violin tutor, famed musician Yao Jue

Barbara Wong’s Tears in a Fallen City has finished filming and is now in post-production. (Sina)

Sammi Cheng celebrated her 39th birthday on Aug. 19

And again, with fans two nights later

MSN: Nicholas Tse and Cecilia Cheung end 5-year marriage

CF: Nicolas Tse and Cecilia Cheung Announce Break-up(A1)

MSN: Sammi Cheng and Andy Hui to move in together

MSN: Edison Chen’s intimate photo with Carina Lau revealed(Yahoo)

Netizens mocked the Hong Kong singer, saying “There he goes again”

November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 7:43 pm

Posters for Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmasters appeared at the American Film Market (AFM) in Los Angeles.

(Sina)2

CRI: Producers of ‘The Grandmasters’ Release Posters

First poster for Feng Xiaogang’s If You the One 2

Opens Dec. 22 (Sina)

CRI: First Poster of ‘If You Are the One 2′ Released

The film will appear in cinemas on December 22, despite a previous news report suggesting that the state film bureau had requested that its release date be changed to avoid clashing with other films that will be released around the New Year holiday.

NYT: Earthquakes and Seismic Suffering (Aftershock)

AP: Chinese director defends break from art-house

Jia Zhangke said he will start shooting his new project, called “In the Qing Dynasty” in Chinese, in March or April in and near his hometown. The story follows changes in a Chinese city after the abolishment of the imperial examination system and growing Western influences. The cast is still being decided.

THR: Full List of Tokyo International Film Festival Award Winners

Best Actress - Fan Bingbing (Buddha Mountain), Best Actor - Wang Qianyuan (The Piano in a Factory), Best Artistic Contribution (Buddha Mountain)

Wang Qianyuan, Buddha Mountain director Li Yu (Sina)

Halloween greetings from Mr. and Mrs. Incredible’s Sandra Ng and Louis Koo

(Sina)163 - Dynamic version of poster

Joe Ma’s My Sassy Girl 2 opens Nov. 5

Lynn Xiong (Hung Doi Lam)

Leon Jay Williams (Li Wei-Lian)

He Jiang (21cn)

THR: No Monkey Business as Competing Versions of Chinese Legend Go into Production

Filmko and Mandarin Films Prepare $60 Mil 3D “The Monkey King”

Jordan Chan

Jordan Chan, Yang Mi

Yang Mi

Jordan Chan’s first film since getting married is now in post-production. It’s a horror film (Far Cry) with a cast of young teen idols Wong Yau-Nam, Anya, Shaun Tam et al. (Sina)

Kelly Chen - Goddess of Mercy

Kelly has donated her full 7-digit paycheck for The Monkey King to the Children’s Education Fund charity. (Sina)

More from the Mission Hills Star Trophy celebrity golf tournament in Hainan

Simon Yam

Michael Wong, Simon Yam

(Sina-slide show)

Gao Yuanyuan works on her swing

(Xinhua)

Eric Tsang wins for UNICEF

Eric Tsang donated his share of the 780,000 yuan prize money and donated an additional 50,000 yuan of his own to UNICEF (Sina)

Michael Phelps

Water hazard? No problem!

Angelababy

Angelababy, appearing for a Japanese brand, is looking forward to working with Cecilia Cheung in All’s Well Ends Well 2011 (Sina)

Andy Lau performed at the closing ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo. He sang ‘Love You for 10,000 Years’ (Sina)

August 7, 2010

August 7, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — dleedlee @ 9:39 pm

Xu Jiao turn 13 years-old

Xu Jiao is working on a film in Shaanxi. At the end of the film day, the crew surprised her for her birthday. Besides a custom birthday cake from Xi’an, Xu Jiao received a 1986 limited-edition Barbie that the producer drove 3 hours on mountainous roads to deliver to her. Xu Jiao was delighted and never let go of the doll. (Xinhua)

Jia Zhangke

Jia Zhangke received the Golden Leopard Lifetime Achievement Award at the Locarno International Film Festival. At 40, he is the youngest recipient of the award. (Sina)(Xinhua)

Nicholas Tse and Charlene Choi have been quietly filming a  martial arts TV series in the mainland. Yumiko Cheng and Kenny Kwan also are in the cast.

Charlene Choi

Nicholas Tse

Yumiko Cheng

(21cn-slide show)

CNNGo: 12 year-old beats ’scholar pseudo-model’ at the last HKCEE

HKStandard: Super kid, 12, ready to skip to more triumphs

Runner up Sammi Cheung Sau-Man, winner Toby Chan Ting-Yan, 2nd runner up Lisa Chong Si-Ming

Miss Hong Kong 2010 Toby Chan Ting-Yan

Xinhua: Toby Chan crowned as Miss Hong Kong 2010

CNNGo: ’Porkchop’ pageant: Who is the ugliest Miss Hong Kong?

Sammi Cheung Sau-Man, Toby Chan Ting-Yan, Lisa Chong Si-Ming

(Sina)(Xinhua-slide show)

June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , — dleedlee @ 3:47 pm

THR: Jiang Wenli wins SIFF new talent award

Chinese actress-turned-director Jiang Wenli and her debut film “Lan” won the Best Asian New Talent Film award at the 13th Shanghai International Film Festival on Friday.

Director Jung Ki-Hoon was named best director for the mother-daughter movie “Goodbye Mom.” The Jury prize went to the Korean film “The Executioner,” and “The Pawnshop,” from the Philippines, won the Students’ Choice award.

FBA: Bruce Lee biopic set to start

Jennifer Tse to play Bruce Lee’s girlfriend, Gong Mi, the Cecilia Cheung look-alike, is also cast.

FBA: Lan (我們天上見) (6/10)

Assured directing debut is an affecting, semi-autobiographical tale of a lonely teenager.

FBA: Vegetate (我是植物人) (7/10)

Whistle-blower drama, centred on a woman in the pharmaceuticals industry, is sustained by two fine central performances.

FBA: The Double Life (A面B面) (6/10)

This madcap comedy on modern-day “lunacy” marks a partial return to form by director Ning Ying.

FBA: Ocean Heaven tops Shanghai Media Award (June 19)

CCTV Movie Channel Media Awards 2010
Best Film: Ocean Heaven (海洋天堂)
Best Director: ZHANG Jiarui (章家瑞) for Distant Thunder (迷城)
Best Actor: Wen Zhang (文章) for Ocean Heaven (海洋天堂)
Best Actress: Lu Liping (呂麗萍) for City Monkey (玩酷青春)
Best Supporting Actor: Yip Chun (葉准) for The Legend is Born: Ip Man (葉問前傳)
Best Supporting Actress: Li Bin (李濱) for City Monkey (玩酷青春)
Best New Director: XUE Xiaolu (薛曉路) for Ocean Heaven (海洋天堂)
Best New Actor: Guo Xiaoran (郭曉然) for Distant Thunder (迷城)
Best New Actress: Na Zhiye (娜芝葉) for Deep in the Clouds (碧羅雪山)
Jury Prizes: Good Earth (大地), My Beloved China (可愛的中國), A Joyous Story Along the Yellow River (黃河喜事)
Media Award: Heaven Eternal, Earth Everlasting (80′后)


THR: Italy, China take top awards at SIFF (June 20)

Golden Goblet/Jin Jue Award winners:

Best Feature Film

“Kiss Me Again,” directed by Gabriele Muccino, Italy;

Jury Grand Prix

“Deep in the Clouds,” directed by Liu Jie, China;

Best Director

Liu Jie for “Deep in the Clouds,” China;

Best Actor

Christian Ulmen in “Wedding Fever in Campobello,” directed by Neele Leana Vollmar, Germany, Italy;

Best Actress

Vittoria Puccini in “Kiss Me Again,” directed by Gabriele Muccino, Italy;

Best Screenplay

Gabriele Muccino for “Kiss Me Again,” Italy;

Best Cinematography

Christopher Doyle for “Ondine,” Ireland;

Best Music

Giong Lim for “Deep in the Clouds,” China.

FBA: Italy and China share SIFF goblets

Christopher Doyle said that his trophy for best photography was the only award that he’d ever received in China. Doyle stated that he couldn’t have made Neil Jordan’s Ondine without the experience of having made so many Chinese films. On receiving the best director prize, Liu Jie said that it was the first time that he’d come on stage to receive an award in his homeland.

Zhao Wei at the SIFF closing ceremony red carpet

John Woo leads the jury onto the red carpet

Compared to the star-studded opening ceremony, the closing ceremony red carpet stars seem dim. Zhao Wei  was undoubtedly the star of the evening. (Sina)2

Ruby Lin - Driverless

Wang Luodan

Zhang Yang’s press conference for Driverless was peppered with questions about actress Li Xiaoran even though she was absent. Zhang parried the reporters and tried to steer the focus back to the film but ultimately he was unsuccessful. In the end, the photographers settled for an upskirt photo of Wang Luodan. (Xinhua)

In the wake of Li Xiaoran’s blog posting that director Yan Po’s true attackers had not been arrested, she now writes that director Lu Chuan has received threatening telephone calls. (Xinhua)

I Wish I Knew poster (21cn)

Jia Zhangke - I Wish I Knew

Jia Zhangke held a press conference in Shanghai for his oft-delayed documentary I Wish I Knew to announce a July 2 release. A June 14th conference and screening was planned during the SIFF but abruptly cancelled. He denied that the film had been banned because of controversial remarks by Han Han, a writer and rally car driver, rather a technical issue translating the Shanghai dialect into Chinese and English subtitles caused the delay and misunderstanding. The film will be 10 minutes shorter than the version screened at Cannes. Jia said he hoped to re-edit a TV version later. The film is based on historical recollections of Shanghai from 18 interviews out of an original 80 personal interviews. (Sina)234

Karen Mok turns 40 ahead of next week’s Golden Melody Awards

(Sina)(Xinhua)

Huang Xiaoming

Yu Dan, Song Zuying, Huang Xiaoming receiving International Charitable Celebrity Awards. (Sina)

Tang Wei was lauded for being thrifty by taking home leftovers after late night dining.

Tang Wei (June 19)(Xinhua)

May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010

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

Screen Daily: Fortune Star sells package deals

  • Hong Kong-based Fortune Star, owned by regional broadcaster Star, has sold two separate packages of library titles to Thailand’s EVS Entertainment and Media International Pictures (MIP) for the Middle East.
  • EVS has taken 29 titles including My Father Is A Hero and Hitman, both starring Jet Li; Johnnie To’s Running Out Of Time, and Tsui Hark’s The Legend of Zu. MIP acquired 20 titles including Jackie Chan’s City Hunter, John Woo’s Bullet In The Head and Hitman.
  • Fortune Star recently expanded its portfolio by adding more than 100 titles acquired from Hong Kong-based production company China Star Group.

Takeshi Kitano

Hollywood Reporter

“Outrage” a bona fide yakuza film

As violent, amoral and misanthropic as a Jacobean play, “Outrage” is Takeshi Kitano’s first yakuza flick since “Brother” (2000). (Cannes press conference - audiophotos)

Takeshi Kitano unleashes “Outrage” at Cannes

“Puff” a lively sketch of Hong Kong smoking culture

A eulogy to lung pollution, “Love in a Puff” makes sharing a pack of cigarettes look sexier than sharing a bed as it chronicles how two chain smokers fall in love over a week in the wake of a government crackdown on tobacco in Hong Kong.

“I Wish I Knew” offers mosaic view of Shanghai

“I Wish I Knew,” Jia Zhangke’s documentary on Shanghai, commissioned to commemorate the World Expo taking place in the city this month, is a patchwork quilt with too many fabrics and patterns.

Screen Daily: Toei plans 3D version of cult thriller Battle Royale

The 3D version of the original will be ready for market screenings in October and released in Japan on November 20. Like the original, the 3D version will have an R-15 rating in Japan.

Cartoon reaction to films like Don Quixote rushing to join 3D bandwagon. (Sina)

Alex Fong Chung-San (Xinhua)

Alex Fong, Zhang Yu, Qin Lan, Li Chen (Sina)

CRI: China’s Classic Love Film to Have Sequel

A sequel to the 1980 Chinese film “Romance on Lushan Mountain”, which heralded the rebirth of the country’s romantic movie genre, is on the cards, M1905.com reports.

The sequel, provisionally titled “Romance on Lushan Mountain 2010″, continues the story, focusing on a love triangle involving the children of the characters in the 1980 film.Qin Lan, Li Chen and Alex Fong Chung-Sun will star in the sequel. Actress-turned-director Zhang Yu will also reprise her original role.

CRI: Film on Tangshan Quake to Screen in July

Feng Xiaogang’s new film “Aftershock”, which reflects the Tangshan earthquake in 1976, will be released on July 22. Release date moved up.

Pace Wu plays a Taoist nun in Reign of Assassins (Sina)

Fierce West Wind - Francis Ng

Wu Jing

Xia Yu

A 90 second teaser trailer for Fierce West Wind was screened at Cannes and received high praise. “Not Supermen, but real men!”  No plot could be determined, but director Gao Qunshu’s film is described as Hollywood-style hardcore action film full of high testosterone. Overseas studio and media interest in the film was high. Producer Peggy Chiao said the teaser was meant to give a quick flavor for the characters but not to reveal the story line. Veteran Hollywood reporters Stephen Cremin, Patrick Frater and Derek Elley were impressed by the development and progress of the Chinese action genre and felt the film was more Hollywood-like than Hong Kong-style. (ifeng)(Sina) (Thanks, to Valerie)

Ocean Paradise - Jet Li and Wen Zhang play father and son

(cri)

Fan Bingbing wearing Elie Saab, she was dubbed the Eastern Swan Princess by local media

Red carpet for Biutiful from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

CRI: Fan Bingbing: The Swan Princess from China

Cannes cast portrait session (Zimbio)

Best Dressed Of The Week – Fan Bingbing In Elie Saab Couture & Dragon Robe By Laurence Hsu

I Wish I Knew (Hollywood Reporter review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 1:11 pm

“I Wish I Knew” offers mosaic view of Shanghai

By Maggie Lee

CANNES (Hollywood Reporter) - “I Wish I Knew,” Jia Zhangke’s documentary on Shanghai, commissioned to commemorate the World Expo taking place in the city this month, is a patchwork quilt with too many fabrics and patterns.

Dipping into the historical, human and scenic through interviews and nomadic location shooting, it reveals what most films touching on modern Chinese history address: how wars and political unrest led to suffering and Diaspora.

The film suffers from information deficiency, so while Chinese can relate to most of their conversations yet find the content familiar, overseas audiences are adrift in a sea of non-chronological memories. Cinephiles who adore festival darling Jia would still lap up a section related to Chinese cinema, so widespread festplay and niche art house runs await.

Style-wise, there is minimal variation from his last documentary, “24 City,” despite the enormous differences in place, generation and the stories told. Jia’s regular cinematographer Yu Lik Wai’s mellow, impressionist images of old and new quarters of Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong create a tone poem effect that is becoming routine in Jia’s oeuvre. Jia’s screen muse, Zhao Tao, gets the most gratuitous role in her career, roaming the city’s landmarks and neglected slums with a troubled expression.

Comprising a lopsided tripartite structure in which the dots and lines don’t connect, the first — as well as longest, most scattered section — interviews children of Shanghai residents during the swinging ’30s, the Japanese and civil wars in the ’40s pioneering industrialists, high-ranking KMT (ie. Nationalist) officials and executed underground Communists.

The most fascinating recollections come from Du Mei-ru, daughter of Du Yue Sheng — China’s biggest Mafioso. Nevertheless, the extent of his fame (or notoriety) is lost on non-Chinese. Since the interviewees were still young then, even though the personal experiences accounted are exceptional, they cannot quite convey a tangible sense of place or spirit of the metropolis.

About an hour on, the film takes a narrative bypass to focus on persons connected to films made or set in Shanghai. Some are tenuous — like Hou Hsiao Hsien talking about location scouting for “Flowers of Shanghai” only to end up shooting everything on set. Others are valuable if one is cognizant of Chinese cinema, like soprano Barbara Fei’s reminiscence on her father, Fei Mu, and the circumstances in which he directed “Spring in a Small Town” (regarded as the greatest of Chinese classics), or tragedies befalling the family of actress Shangguan Yunzhu.

The last section features a stock investor, a young man doing hip-hop dance and a writer obsessed with race cars. It feels like a blurry after-thought on Shanghai’s contemporary heartbeat.

Reuters

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