HKMDB Daily News

November 29, 2011

Shattered (Variety review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: , — dleedlee @ 1:14 pm


A Xu Tong presentation. Produced by Han Lei. Directed, edited by Xu Tong.

With: Tang Xixin, Tang Caifeng, Tang Yihong, Yang Yang, Lu Shiying. (Putonghua dialogue)

A microcosm of China past and present flows through Xu Tong’s intimate docu “Shattered,” in which the maverick indie filmmaker continues to refine his techniques and concerns shown in his previous “Wheat Harvest” and “Fortune Teller.” Xu’s ability to hone in on colorful characters is unerring, with loquacious Tang Xixin and his sharp-tongued daughter Tang Caifeng (last seen in “Fortune Teller”) dominating the screen. They also rep two very different generations with engaging candor, likely to spark interest from adventurous fest programmers.

“Old Man Tang,” as he’s nicknamed (also the pic’s original, less emphatic title), is an 80-year-old widower and retired vet of the railroads, which he good-naturedly acknowledges in opening minutes. Living alone in a ramshackle house in northeast Hebei province, he finds himself constantly hosting his grown children, though Xu makes it abundantly clear that while Tang barely tolerates most of his kids, he maintains a close relationship with Caifeng.

It’s easy to see why. As she showed in “Fortune Teller,” Caifeng, operating in the shady prostitution business but trying to diversify with an equally illegal mining operation, is her own woman and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Hot-tempered Tang has survived his own travails and never hesitates to tell Xu (handling his characteristically up-close-and-personal camera and sound) exactly what’s on his mind. Each, in a sense, sees a reflection in the other.

Stories of Tang’s past, and by extension China’s, simply pour out of him. Despite many bitter memories (the Communist Party dismissed him when he refused to go to work so he could attend to his ailing young daughter), Tang still keeps lovingly framed portraits on his living room wall of key communist heroes of the 20th century. Such details are important to Xu as a filmmaker: When Caifeng oversees some minor home improvements and the portraits are taken down, it first appears that the symbolic, musty antiques may be put away for good; but no, they’re soon hung back up on the repainted wall.

The father’s endless memory lane alternates with the daughter’s more dangerous current efforts, including trying to help her imprisoned goddaughter Yang Yang, boost business at her brothel, deal with the mine (which Xu apparently had little access to) and generally stay one step ahead of the law. While Caifeng seems to find failure everywhere she turns, she nevertheless maintains a pluckiness and determination that belie the title’s air of defeat. What is shattered, as seen through the prism of this complex family, is a cultural continuity that was maintained in Chinese households in previous generations. Now, the elders are left to more or less stew in the past, while the youngsters must live on the edge.

As usual, Xu’s HD lensing is rough and ready, hardly refined aesthetically but vibrantly immediate. Sound and subtitling are on the rough side.

Camera (color, HD), Xu; sound (stereo), Xu. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (Dragons & Tigers), Oct. 1, 2011. (Also in Hong Kong, Rotterdam film festivals.) Running time: 105 MIN.


November 29, 2011 [HKMDB Daily News]

Variety: Shattered review

A microcosm of China past and present flows through Xu Tong’s intimate docu “Shattered,” in which the maverick indie filmmaker continues to refine his techniques and concerns shown in his previous “Wheat Harvest” and “Fortune Teller.”

CRI: Actress Zhao Wei to Make Directorial Debut

The film, provisionally entitled “To Our Youth That Is Fading Away”, will be an adaptation of the novel of the same name. It will tell the tale of a woman’s emotional struggle with two men whom she meets again many years after their on-campus love triangle.

CF: Vicky Zhao’s First Movie Project

Stanley Kwan will produce the movie. The film’s screenplay will be written by Li Qiang, whose 2005 film “Peacock” picked up a Silver Berlin Bear Award.

Based on the popular novel “To Our Youth that will Fade Away,” the story revolves around a girl named Zheng Wei, who becomes torn between two men; she is forced to make a decision to find her Mr. Right.

Cherrie Ying and actor Dong Dawei (Tong Dawei) are seen on the poster of the comedic road movie “Great Wall, My Love.”


Aarif Lee plays the role of a finance blog owner who places too many irons in the fire in return for first-hand financial information.

THR: Hong Kong Comedian Stephen Chow Voices Support in Chief Executive Election

‘Shaolin Soccer’ star sticks up for friend Henry Tang Ying-yen, one of two candidates for Hong Kong’s highest office.

The comic mastermind also had his own words of wisdom on the possible negative impact on public support for Tang after Tang was discovered to have engaged in extramarital liaisons.

Chow deadpanned, “We’re trying to elect a chief executive here, not to choose a boyfriend.” [Herman Cain might want to borrow this line.]

Chow’s unopposed election to one of 15 seats for the performing arts subsector on the next Hong Kong chief executive election committee came at the last minute on the day before the application closed, after original candidate, 1990s “Heavenly King” of the Hong Kong pop music scene and actor Leon Lai (Forever Enthralled), was found to be ineligible.

Lai’s disqualification to run as the representative of the election committee for the performing arts subsector had made a mockery of the whole election process of the next chief executive, which will be selected by a 1200-member committee – the singer-actor was not eligible as he was not even a registered voter.

After a slump of over a decade, Taiwan’s home- grown films are not only sweeping box offices at home but also winning awards and hit status overseas, thanks to a new cohort of filmmakers.

Director Chen Kaige is shooting his realistic Micro film “Search” in Ningbo of Zhejiang Province. Its scheduled release is in May of 2012. Chen will make three micro films before promoting them on the Internet.

Yao Di attending a launch ceremony in Sichuan for an 80’s-generation micro film (”Lost and Found”?)

Yao Di

Daniel Lee’s “White Vengeance” opens today in Hong Kong

Feng Shaofeng

Feng Shaofeng (Sina-slideshow)

Publicity stills for “Cold Steel’ featuring Tony Leung Ka-Fai

Opening Dec. 2

Peter Ho Yun-Tung (Sina)

The 32-year-old, who rose to fame as part of Taiwanese boy band Fahrenheit, quit the group in June and is now channelling his time into acting, having starred in best selling flicks like 14 Blades and My Kingdom.

MSN: Cecilia Cheng and Lucas Tse hides from the paparazzi (Nov.26)

In other related news, the media speculated that Cecilia had allowed Lucas to skip school again, because the pair was spotted in Shanghai for the past few days. (Sina)

Lucas at the play center


American-Taiwanese singer-actor Peter Ho was recently detained by the customs at an airport in China because the customs officers found that he was carrying more than 100 boxes of condoms in his carry-on luggage

Happy 37th Birthday to Lin Chi-Ling today!


Last night, with Huang Xiaoming in Beijing attending a charity dinner (Sina)

Lin Chi-Ling earlier this month


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