HKMDB Daily News

October 30, 2009

October 30, 2009

True Legend

Andy On plays the villain possessed by the devil

Guo Xiaodong first time doing martial arts - grades out an ‘80′

Michelle Yeoh plays a hermit in seclusion living in the mountain

(Sina)

True Legend (Beggar So) HD slides (5) (Sina)

Mulan

Jaycee declined using a stunt double

Latest stills show Zhao Wei and Jaycee Chan fighting (Sina)

Four Marshals

Charlie Young

Duan Yihong, one of the marshals

(Sina)

Xiao Shenyang (Sina)

Zhang Yimou’s Three Guns HD slide show (4) (Sina)

THR: ‘Blood Simple’ remake set for December

CRI: “Ip Man 2″ Shifts Focus to Life

He Ping’s Wheat accused of plagiarising The Robbers/Tang Dynasty Brothers. He Ping was chairman of the jury at the 2007 Shanghai International Film Festival when The Robbers was awarded as having the most market potential. He Ping and director Yang Peng had discussed the script, Bitter Bamboo Grove, at the time. (Sina)

Wang Kuirong in Wang Xiaoshuai’s Mosaic tries to capture old Chongqing (Sina)

Wang Xueqi and Qin Hao also costar (ifeng)

Jackie Chan: The Centurion

The action star celebrates his 100th film

Variety: Blue Mansions (Singapore)

It’s been a long time between drinks for Singapore helmer Glen Goei, whose 1999 debut pic, “Forever Fever,” a contagious local riff on “Saturday Night Fever,” promised to expand the island republic’s filmmaking horizons beyond local comedies and festival navel-gazers.

Though the least “Hong Kong” of the series — with the usual local in-jokes and linguistic wordplay virtually absent — this is the most marketable of the four to date, as well as a timely commentary on the onetime Brit colony’s cultural relationship with the mainland.

Yonfan’s overly self-conscious ‘Prince of Tears’ treats the White Terror period with a glib sentimentality that can best be described as political terror as soap opera

Old Fish (千鈞一髮)

An unusual Chinese police drama, to say the least. A Harbin cop is forced — and able — to defuse a time bomb thanks to his engineering background, only to find that more and more explosives are being planted in the area, and his superiors want him to keep doing the dirty work. Is Dennis Hopper on the loose? Ma Guowei (馬國偉) plays “Old Fish,” the put-upon policeman, in an award-winning turn. Directed by Gao Qunshu (高群書), who co-directed The Message (風聲), which is currently on release.

Plastic City (蕩寇)

A Chinese crook (Anthony Wong, 黃秋生) and his cooler-than-cool adopted Japanese son struggle to keep their enterprise afloat in Sao Paulo, Brazil, when rivals and the authorities turn on them, including a Taiwanese entrepreneur. Critics said the fascinating idea behind the film and its visual distinctiveness were undercut by avoidable technical problems (dubbing, for starters) and a stereotypically art house divergence from coherent narrative — not to mention stylistic lapses that verge on the silly.

Vengeance (復仇)

Johnnie To (杜琪峰) is a Hong Kong director who has kept pumping out solid action flicks over the years. He probably doesn’t have as much international exposure as he should, but this film may help to change that. The lead actor is legendary French singer Johnny Hallyday, who arrives in Macau after his daughter is nearly killed in a triad hit (the rest of her family is wiped out). Hallyday, now a chef, must draw on his unsavory past to accomplish his vengeful mission — but that past is disappearing as an old injury accelerates his amnesia. Co-stars include the formidable Anthony Wong (黃秋生) as a criminal (again) and Simon Yam (任達華) as a triad boss.

Screen Daily: Far East festivals compete for market attention

US and European buyers were scarce at both events. “There were some US companies in Tokyo but they were looking for remake material, not doing acquisitions,” says Tadayuki Okubo of Japanese studio Toei.

October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009

To Live and Die in Mongkok (lit.Mongkok Prison)

Liu Kai-Chi

Nick Cheung

Pau Hei-Ching plays Nick’s mother (Sina)

Nick Cheung plays a killer released from prison who suffers schizophrenia in Wong Jing’s latest film.(Sina)

Simon Yam

Model Emma Pei training with Kong Sifu

Producer Bey Logan chronicles the filming of Michael Biehn’s Blood Bond in Guangzhou on his blog, jump directly to the Simon Yam post, or meet Phoenix Chou

HK Magazine: Rebellion review

Despite being the 67th Hong Kong triad film I have seen thus far, “Rebellion” is a surprisingly interesting production. Directed by insanely prolific director Herman Yau (this is his sixth film in the past 12 months), the movie combines a cute suspense storyline with surprisingly good acting from some non-actors (namely Paul Wong and Jun Kung). It’s just a shame Yau coudln’t control the pacing better, and main star Shawn Yue didn’t turn in a more solid performance…

Ip Man 2

Donnie Yen says a third film will not be necessary, Ip Man 2 will be an instant classic and praises Huang Xiaoming. (Sina)

Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung face off

Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen

(Sina)

Carina Lau has joined the cast of Jiang Wen’s Let The Bullets Fly. Her role requires plenty of action, fighting, riding, wading and passionate scenes. Maggie Cheung was reportedly invited to join the cast but she was not prepared to return to film yet. (Sina) (Xinhua)

Yonfan and George Lam

Terri Kwan

Zhu Xuan

Prince of Tears Taipei Premiere slide show (18) (Sina)

Movie makes Taiwan relive ‘White Terror’ period

HK Magazine: Yonfan interview

One month before the year-end film season begins, the competition has already started heating up. The most anticipated Chinese movies seem to be following the same formula that is, a combination of ancient Chinese stories, all-star casts, and prestigious directors

Zhang Yimou and producer Zhang Weiping screened a rough of cut of Three Guns for the CEOs of the nation’s theatre owners to secure prime theatre slot for the year-end season.

Release dates: Treasure Hunter (Dec.9), Storm Warriors (Dec.10), Amazing Guns: Three Tales (Dec.11), Assassins and Bodyguards (Dec.18) (Sina)

October 22, 2009

October 22, 2009

Stills from Treasure Hunter

Lin Chi-Ling, Jay Chou

Chen Daoming, Eric Tsang

(Sina.com)

Nic Tse, Fan Bingbing, Wu Jing, Andy Lau

Photo gallery (Sina.com)

CRI: Jackie Chan to Show Shaolin Kung-Fu

Jackie Chan and Andy Lau were in the Shaolin Temple on Thursday to kick off the filming of “New Shaolin Temple”.

Screen Daily: Chan teams with monks on $30m action epic Shaolin

Unlike the 1982 film which is set in Tang Dynasty, Shaolinis set in the early 20th century when China was at war. Nicholas Tse will play a wealthy young man who finds refuge in the temple after a tragic incident in his family. He meets his kung fu master, played by Jackie Chan, in the temple as well as future enemies.

THR: Chan, Lau to star in ‘Shaolin’ remake

Variety: Ninja Assassin review

Seemingly made to capitalize on a dubious CG innovation — namely, the slicing of bodies in half by whizzing five-pointed stars — “Ninja Assassin” has little else to recommend it, not even laughs.

The story of a poor, terminally ill factory worker in mainland China develops in unexpected ways inWeaving Girl, a touching, small-scale drama featuring a strong performance from the actress Yu Nan.

CRI: Donnie Yen with ‘14 Blades’ (trailer)

(ifeng.com)

Prince of Tears, Taiwan slide show

Screen Daily: Matrix stuntman to head cast of China Film’s Kung Fu Man (previously, Kung Fu Hero with Keanu Reeves)

Scheduled to start shooting on Oct 28, Kung Fu Man will tell a contemporary story about a martial arts practitioner, who accidentally rescues a Caucasian boy from a foreign kidnapping group, and changes the boy’s world perspective and values. Branch and Chyna McCoy (G.I. Joe) will play the villains.

Michelle Yeoh wants to help develop new talents for entertainment industry

“If our market is strong enough, there might come a day where foreigners will want to shoot more movies over here. Most the movies done now are all about their stories. We have a lot of our own stories. Being in Southeast Asia, in Singapore or Malaysia, we have a lot of our own stories and we can film these movies well.”

“There was a scene where (Tse) was beaten up by Hu Jun for protecting Sun Yat-San and he requested for a real fighting scene,” he said. “In the end, I got his close friend (a martial arts instructor) to punch him. The friend kept punching his face for more than 10 times till his face was swollen and I decided that was enough.”

Peter refuted speculations about Donnie and Leon’s disharmony when both actors avoided each other during the promotional events for Bodyguards and Assassins. “There is no such problem at all! Do not believe those reports! On the contrary, those with problems are not being reported!”

Exhibit chronicles the contributions of Chinese Americans in Hollywood since 1916

Comedy Western to be directed by Jiang Wen

October 21, 2009

October 21, 2009

14 Blades poster

(cri.com)

\

Terri Kwan, Oceane Zhu Xuan

Cheng Pei-PeiKarena Lam, George Lam, Daniel Wu, Kenneth Tsang and wife

Prince of Tears Hong Kong premiere - slide show (28) (Sina.com)

(Sina.com)

THR: Chow Yun-Fat to star in Jiang’s ‘Bullets’

CRI: Chow Yun-Fat Joins “Bullets” Cast

… there were no less than ten options for the ending of the movie. The director and Chow came up with the final version when they were drinking and chatting…

The 11 major male roles will go towards assembling a Chinese “Ocean’s Eleven”, according to earlier reports.

Investment in the movie has hit 150 million Hong Kong dollars, or about 20 million US dollars.

Michelle Yeoh goes back to gongfu

In Jianyu Jianghu, loosely translated as Rain Of Swords In The Martial Arts World, she will play an assassin.

Co-directed by acclaimed Chinese director John Woo (Face/Off) and Taiwanese film-maker Su Chao-pin (Silk), filming for the movie will start in China next week.

Emi Wada: A many-hued Oscar

The world knows Emi Wada for her Academy Award-winning costumes for Akira Kurosawa’s Ran, but most Chinese know her as the brains behind the techni-colored wardrobe of Zhang Yimou’s 2002 Hero (Yingxiong).

Astro Boy’s Huge Comeback

Deng Chao’s Astro Boy haircut

Deng Chao as Astro Boy

THR: Golden Harvest promises rebirth

New managers vow to resurrect storied HK studio Golden Harvest

Benny Chan’s New Shaolin Temple won’t be like the Jet Li version. Filming begins in December and will feature Nic Tse, Fan Bingbing, Andy Lau, Jackie Chan, and Wu Jing. But the female lead has not been cast yet. Fan Bingbing replaces Zhou Xun who was originally announced but had a schedule conflict. Script is by New Police Story’s Yuen Kam-Lun. Filming will take place at the actual Shaolin Temple then move to Hengdian Studio. (Xinhua)

Keanu Reeves will act in producer/investor capacity and ’spiritual pillar’. He will not star, as previously reported, in Kung Fu Hero. Keira Knightly is slated to guest appear. Ning Ying will direct.[An odd choice as she is noted for harder hitting films like On The Beat and Railroad of Hope.] Beijing launch ceremony photos below. (Sina.com)

Tiger Chen Hu

Chen Hu, Lin Shen

Director Ning Ying

Three leads - Chen Hu, Jiang Mengjie, Lin Shen

Brandy Yuen, action director

September 10, 2009

September 10, 2009

Mei Ting

Chinese Actress Mei Ting Hits The Red Carpet in Venice
Chinese film “Dialysis” (Judge) premieres at the ongoing 66th Venice Film Festival.

(Xinhuanet.com) Photo gallery (Sina.com) (Sina.com)


Zhang Yuan

Li Xinyun

Li Xiaofeng

Dada’s Dance Beijing premiere press conference


Nic and Patrick Tse

Nic’s father Patrick Tse visited the set of Yit Lat Lat (Spicy Hot)


Nick Cheung on set in streets of Mongkok

Natalie Meng, Monica Mok play country girl and prostitute in Wong Jing’s To Live and Die in Mongkok (literally Mongkok Prison)

(Sina.com)


Hollywood Reporter: TGIO strips ‘Prince of Tears’ of subsidy

Film by Taiwan director chosen as Hong Kong’s Oscar rep

Screen Daily: Taiwan’s GIO to revoke Prince Of Tears subsidy

Variety: Formosa Betrayed review

U.S.-Thai co-production “Formosa Betrayed” is a decent political thriller set in Taiwan with the requisite Western-market-friendly lead and a determinedly pro-independence message embedded in a formulaic but diverting tale of intrigue and oppression.

Cast includes Tzi Ma, Kenneth Tsang

Korean Herald: Hur Jin-ho’s new film has no tragic twist

“A Good Rain Knows” (aka Season of Good Rain) reviewed

Sketches of Jay Chou’s Pandaman exposed

Jay Chou, is indeed, a true master of all trades. Apart from his singing, composing, directing and production capabilities, Jay has yet another trick up his sleeves and amply displays his drawing talent with the exposed sketches from his upcoming idol drama series, Pandaman…


Nicholas Cage drops out of “The Green Hornet”

China action to control online music: state media

China has announced that every foreign and domestic song posted on music websites must receive prior approval, state media said Thursday, in the nation’s latest efforts to control online content.

September 6, 2009

Venice and Vancouver

michelle-ye-red-carpet
Michelle Ye Xuan

han-yuqin-premiere-2
Han Yuqin
Louis Koo
soi-cheang-pou-soi-premiere
Soi Cheang Pou-Soi
Richie Ren’s wife, Tina
accident-premiere
Richie Ren, wife Tina, Soi Cheang, guest, Louis Koo, Michelle Ye, Han Yuqin
Venice: Accident Red Carpet (Zimbio)

Louis Koo

Richie Ren

Michelle Ye Xuan

Han Yuqin
(Sina.com)

Accident defies Hong Kong thriller genre

Variety: Tetsuo the Bullet Man (Japan)

Vancouver Fest Announces Dragons & Tigers (more summaries)
THE COW (Guan Hu) North American Premiere
The sole survivor of a Japanese attack in WWII, shock-haired Chinese farmer Nie Er becomes an unlikely resistance hero, along with his companion, an indomitably loyal milk cow. Guan Hu’s picaresque black comedy packs a delightfully absurd punch, with stunning images illustrating a touching magic-realist fable.

OXHIDE II (Liu Jiayin) North American Premiere
One of Chinese cinema’s boldest experiments in narrative fiction is also the funniest Chinese film of the year. Liu Jiayin’s story of making dumplings with her parents structures this formally daring, wryly amusing look at family dynamics, economic burdens and the ethics and aesthetics of cooking from scratch.


NIGHT AND FOG (Ann Hui) North American Premiere
Based on a true incident, Ann Hui’s harrowing drama captures domestic violence in all its dramatic complexity. When a pregnant mainland woman marries a violently jealous unemployed Hong Konger, economic and cultural differences prove explosive.


AT THE END OF DAYBREAK (Ho Yuhang)
An elegant, tough, unconventional film noir from Malaysia. Probing beneath unquiet surfaces, Ho Yuhang’s luminous images and stunning montages catch quiet passions erupting into unpredictable, shocking action: between two young lovers, between husband and wife and between mother and son.


YANG YANG (Cheng Yu-chieh) North American Premiere
This vibrantly alive coming-of-age story of a young Eurasian woman in Taipei follows glamorous Yang Yang from high-school athlete to aspiring actress. Director Cheng Yu-chieh’s intimate camera captures the precise articulation, via sex, scandal and heartbreak, between adolescence and adulthood.

September 5, 2009

Prince of Tears (Variety Review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 8:09 pm

Prince of Tears
Lei wangzi

(Hong Kong-Taiwan) A Far-Sun Film Co. (Hong Kong)/Peony5 Film Co. (Taiwan) production. (International sales: Fortissimo Films, Amsterdam.) Produced by Fruit Chan. Directed, written by Yonfan.

With: Fan Chih-wei, Terri Kwan, Joseph Chang, Zhu Xuan, Kenneth Tsang, Chiao Chiao, Jack Kao, Lin Yo-wei, Yan Xin-rou, Cai Pei-han, Lee Bo-shiuan, Li Lieh.
Narrator: Yonfan.
(Mandarin dialogue)

By DEREK ELLEY
Anyone expecting a drama centered on Taiwan’s “white terror” of the ’50s will feel let down by “Prince of Tears.” First Taiwan-based movie by Chinese vet Yonfan is more a lush meller set during the commie witch-hunt period than a real exploration of the island’s darkest political scar. Dripping with Yonfan trademarks — color-saturated lensing, pin-up male leads, doll-like women and a simmering air of pansexuality — “Prince” will win more hearts among gay males than regular patrons, even though it’s the writer-director’s most substantial pic in a long time in regards to subject matter.

Born in mainland China in 1947, Yonfan (aka Yang Fan) grew up in Taiwan during the period (1950-54) when the witch hunt was at its most brutal; the movie, though apparently based on a true story, partly uses his own childhood memories. Until the end of martial law in 1987, the era was a totally verboten topic in Taiwan, and only directly referenced for the first time in Hou Hsiao Hsien’s “City of Sadness” (1989).

A real movie about the white terror, which led to thousands executed and many more jailed, has still to be made, though Wan Jen’s 1995 “Super Citizen Ko,” which flashes back to the period, remains the most powerful so far. Two other pics that partly refer to it — Hou’s “Good Men, Good Women” and Hsu Hsiao-ming’s “Heartbreak Island” — also appeared the same year. “Prince” is the first production in more than a decade to revisit the era.

The opening — which resurrects a copy of the patriotic short that, at the time, was played before all films during the national anthem — succinctly sketches the period’s flavor, as the island was flooded with refugees who had fled the communists’ victory over the right-wing Kuomintang in China. It’s almost a pity when the movie proper, which also starts in black-and-white, becomes suffused with color. Yonfan himself provides the nostalgic, ironic voiceover, paralleling the characters in an (invented) children’s storybook, “Prince of Tears,” with the pic’s central family.

Though the parents, air-force pilot Sun Han-sheng (Joseph Chang) and wife Ping (Beijing-born beauty queen Zhu Xuan), are shown from the get-go, the movie’s early viewpoint is that of their young daughters, Li and Zhou. In an episode forecasting the drama to come, tiny tot Zhou falls hard for her handsome art teacher, Qiu (Lin Yo-wei), before he’s carted off by the military one day for painting in a “forbidden zone.”

The focus shifts more to the adults as the scarred Ding Ke-qiang (Fan Chih-wei), a family friend, is introduced at dinner. Quiet and brooding, and an employee of the KMT’s bureau of political security, he warns Han-sheng to go easy on playing East European folk melodies on his accordion. Easygoing Han-sheng shrugs him off, but a reel later, he and Ping are both arrested as “communist spies.”

The official reason is that, while still in China, Han-sheng went back into a communist-occupied zone to rescue his eldest daughter, Li. But the movie then gradually unfolds the tangled backstory of the protags’ lives, including that of glamourpuss Ouyang Qianjun (Terri Kwan), a onetime friend who’s recently turned up married to a KMT general (Kenneth Tsang).

Beyond one scene showing executions, the full horror of the white terror is never shown; it seems more of a dramatic device to remove and insert characters at will into a story that’s basically about emotional betrayal. The final reel is borderline over-the-top, though very typical of Yonfan’s filmic universe. However, it does beg the question of how much is invented and how much true in an account whose real-life characters are meticulously catalogued in the end titles.

Though dramatically the movie is heir to all of Yonfan’s usual shortcomings (patchy character development, meller flourishes), visually it’s still a treat; the leads might have been cut out of a ’50s Taiwanese movie magazine, especially Taiwanese stalwart Kwan, vamping like crazy. Zhu is simply too expressionless for the pivotal role of Ping, while Chang (”Everlasting Summer”) and Fan (”Miao Miao”) are equally mannequin-like.

Production design, by Yonfan himself, also seems to mimic offshore Chinese movies of the ‘50.

Camera (color/B&W, widescreen), Chin Ting-chang; editor, Kong Chi-leung, Derek Hui; music, Yu Yat-yiu; theme song, George Lam; production designer, Yonfan; sound (Dolby Digital), Tu Duu-chih. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competing), Sept. 3, 2009. (Also in Toronto Film Festival — Contemporary World Cinema.) Running time: 120 MIN.
http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117940946.html?categoryid=31&cs=1

Prince of Tears (Hollywood Reporter Review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 7:53 pm

Prince of Tears
By Ray Bennett

Bottom Line: Lush and overly romantic tale set against a grim time in Taiwan’s history.
Venice Film Festival — Competition

VENICE — Very pretty people seen against beautiful landscapes provide most of the enjoyment in Chinese director Yonfan’s glossy melodrama set in Taiwan in the 1950s when the hunt for communists on the island led to the period known as the white terror.

More a tale of personal betrayal than a depiction of a nation going through turmoil, the film might travel reasonably well in Asia but success elsewhere will have to rely on audiences’ appetite for its romantic flourishes and fairy-tale wrapping.

Joseph Chang and Zhu Xuan play a flawless couple named Sun-Han and Ping with two gorgeous infant daughters. Sun-Han is a pilot, so the girls attend a school for children of pilots. Ping is a perfectly appointed and doting wife and mother noted for her dumplings.

The girls’ favorite reading is a fantasy picture book titled “The Prince of Tears” with a great hero, and they view the world through romantic eyes, especially their kindly teacher who one day disappears having been accused, sentenced and executed on grounds of treason.

Meanwhile, a friend of their father, a scarred and damaged veteran whom they call Uncle Ding (Fan Chih-wei), is a regular in their household and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone that he works for the right-wing government’s security bureau.

Also in the picture is the glamorous Madame Liu (Terry Kwan), who once knew the couple but is now married to the powerful General Liu (Kenneth Tsang).

The relationships between all the adults become strained when it appears that Ping has a history not only with Ding but also with Madame Liu. There is also a secret involving the parentage of one of the daughters. When Sun-Han and Ping are also arrested on grounds of treason, the internecine affairs become somewhat heated.

It’s good that Yonfan is able to tell a story that has such an ugly period in Taiwan’s history as its background, but the real horror of the time is not fully explored and the film keeps its focus on the very handsome players.

Production companies: Far-Sun Film, Peony5 Film
Sales: Fortissimo Films
Cast: Fan Chi-wei, Terri Kwan, Joseph Chang, Zhu Xuan
Director/writer/production designer: Yonfan
Producer: Fruit Chan
Director of photography: Chin Ting-Chang
Music: Yu Yat-jiu, George Lam
Editor: Kong Chi-Leung, Derek Hui

No rating, 120 minutes
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film-reviews/prince-of-tears-film-review-1004009618.story

September 5, 2009

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — dleedlee @ 12:27 pm

Prince of Tears Red Carpet, Photocall

Yonfan
Venice Hails ‘Prince of Tears’
Oceane Zhu, Yonfan, Terri Kwan

Fan Chih-Wei,Terri Kwan, Zhu Xuan, Joseph Chang

Prince Of Tears: Red Carpet - 66th Venice Film Festival (Zimbio)

Joseph Chang Hsiao-Chuan

Terri Kwan

Oceane Zhu Xuan

Prince Of Tears: Photocall - 66th Venice Film Festival (Zimbio)

The Venice film festival Friday turned the spotlight on Asia as Soi Cheang’s “Accident” bloodied the silver screen and Yonfan recalled Taiwan’s anti-communist White Terror in “Prince of Tears”.

September 4, 2009

Prince of Tears (Screen Daily review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 11:11 am

Prince of Tears
Dir/scr/prod des. Yonfan. Taiwan/Hong Kong, 2009. 120 min.

One of the few Taiwanese films to deal directly with the “white terror” which swept through the island from 2950-54, this exceptionally well-designed, multi-layered film isn’t so much a historical piece as a typically lush Yonfan romance. With memorable turns from Terry Kwan and Zhu Xuan, Yonfan’s own sets and Chin Ting-chang’s cinematography, this looks like a winner in Asian markets and a good festival bet elsewhere.

The “white terror” took place when Chiang Kai-shek, retreating from China for what he believed would be a short time, imposed martial law in Taiwan, hunting down communists with a passion and executing thousands of men suspected of being “reds” with tens of thousands more sent to prison. But, as Prince of Tears points out, the white terror was an awful time for adults but something of a paradise for children, left happy and unsupervised.

The plot turns out to be much more convoluted than it initially appears, and, in a ten-minute epilogue many loose ends are tied up

At the outset, happy young couple, Han-Sun (Chang) and Ping (Xuan), and their two daughters Li and Zhou, are looking forward to a bright future. He is an army pilot who plays the accordion, she is beautiful and a great cook. But reality arrives in the shape of crippled family friend Ding (Fan), his face badly burned and walking with a limp. He is a secret agent, and soon the military police arrive, send Han-sun to one prison and Ping to another, while sinister, secretive Ding is left to care for their girls.

In the background, however, is Madame Liu (Kwan) the beautiful wife of an old general, and she ensures no harm comes to the girls. Han-Sun is convicted of treason and arbitrarily executed, Ping is released and comes back home, with the question being whether Ding arranged for her husband’s execution in order to marry her himself.

To Yonfan’s credit, the plot turns out to be much more convoluted than it initially appears, and, in a ten-minute epilogue, mostly delivered in voice over, many loose ends are tied up and characters tidied up. Among other things, a gay affair is added to the proceedings. Whether all this makes real sense or not is up to the audience’s tolerance, but Yonfan’s message is clear throughout: the main thing in such difficult times is to survive the best one can.

Aesthetically, Yonfan’s films have always been flamboyant displays of visuals. The film’s introduction shows a teacher encouraging children to paint what they feel, not necessarily what they see - a perfect justification for Yonfan to unleash a dazzling array of doctored colors, slow motion and other technical tricks. And for anyone wondering why the sweeping, lush, romantic soundtrack sounds so much like a Soviet film from the fifties, the explanation comes when accordionist Han-sun declares: “I like Slavic romanticism”.

Production Companies
Fan Sun Film (Hong Kong)
Peony5 Film (Taiwan)
Filmagic Pictures Co.

Producer
Fruit Chan

International Sales
Fortissimo Films
+852 2311 8081

Cinematography
Chin Ting-chang

Editing
Kong Chi-leung
Derek Hui

Music
Yu Yat-yiu

Main cast
Fan Chin-wei
Joseph Chang
Terri Kwan
Zhu Xuan
Kenneth Tsang
Jack Kao
Lin Yowei
http://www.screendaily.com/festivals/prince-of-tears/5005281.article

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