HKMDB Daily News

May 25, 2009

May 25, 2009

cyborg300Kungfu Cyborg advert

South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook’s vampire romance “Thirst” shared the festival’s jury prize, the third-place award.

The directing award went to Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza for “Kinatay,” a harsh story centered on police inflicting bloody retribution on a prostitute who crossed them.

Chinese director Lou Ye’s “Spring Fever,” a tale of forbidden romance involving homosexual relationships, won the screenplay award for writer Feng Mei.
Cannes awards
All three of the Asian kudos drew heavy booing from the assembled press corps. Biggest scorn was reserved for the director prize for Filipino Brillante Mendoza’s rape-and-dismemberment drama “Kinatay” (of which even admiring jury member Hanif Kureishi admitted, “I don’t ever want to see it again, myself”), followed by jeers for “Thirst” and mainland Chinese director Lou Ye’s “Spring Fever,” which copped screenplay (generally seen as its weakest element).
Korea Times: ‘Thirst’ Wins Jury Prize
Korea Times:’Thirst’ Gets Jury Prize in Cannes

From HKTopTen, now available in blog format (see blogroll, right):
Josephine Siao Thanks Stephen Chow

NYTimes: Showing the Glimmer of Humanity Amid the Atrocities of War - Lu Chuan

Also from HKTopTen, on The City of Life and Death’s lead actress, Jiang Yiyan:

Jiang Yiyan - Why, you're talking about little ol' me?

(May 14) THE CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH premiered last week. Lead actress Jiang Yiyan came to Hong Kong to promote with director Lu Chuan. This new star from the Beijing Film Academy appeared on TVB, Cable and other media interviews. Everyone was surprised that Jiang Yiyan who played a heroic prostitute in this film was very mild mannered and quiet. RTHK Radio 5’s film program host Sze Kai Keung and Lau Shek Yin said that Jiang Yiyan opened the entire station’s men and described her as having Fan Bingbing’s feminine charm, Li Bingbing’s quick wit, Gao Yuanyuan’s sweet looks, Vicki Zhao Wei’s cleverness, and Xu Jinglei’s power of making men’s hearts pound without any word or movement. Four days after the show aired, the station received nearly 50 letters from male listeners who told Sze Kai Keung that they saw Jiang Yiyan on television and were completely under her spell. They wanted to form a fan club through RTHK Radio 5 and invite Jiang Yiyan to appear in Hong Kong again. Sze kai Keung responded that they were very busy with radio and did not have time to organize them. They could only relay their good intention to Jiang Yiyan’s manager Wang Jinghua.

Jiang Yiyan
Jiang Yiyan

Dark documentary on China underbelly chills Cannes
“Petition” documents the plight of China’s judicial “petitioners” — people from across the land who gather in Beijing in the hope of righting legal wrongs suffered back home.

Lush images, audience walk-outs as Cannes winds up
Tsai Ming-Liang

‘Kinatay’ draws raves, rants in Cannes
Roger Ebert: What were they thinking of?
Q&A: Brillante Mendoza

‘Sophie’s Revenge’ nabs buyers
Zhang Ziyi stars in Eva Jin’s romantic comedy

Ang Lee Partnership Gives Him Broad Film Focus

Cannes closing ceremony
Zhang ZiyiShu Qi
Zhang Ziyi slide show
Shu Qi slide show

Vanishing history `robs city of movie magic’

May 21, 2009

May 21, 2009

Poster for Tracing Shadow

Posters for new Jiang Wen film Let the Bullets Fly released at Cannes

Jiang Wen Will “Let the Bullets Fly”

D is for Detective and Dee

Zhou XunWang BanChow Yun-Fat
Ren QuanDirector Hu Mei
Confucius photo gallery

Decipher Confucius’ Alleged Romance


Fan Bingbing

East Wind and Rain photo gallery

Anthony Wong
Director To poses with cast members at film “Vengeance” at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival

Michelle Ye, Anthony WongSimon Yam, Johnny Hallyday
Michelle YeohShu Qi
Vengeance premiere

Tony Leung Chiu-WeiAnthony Wong
Vengeance red carpet photo gallery

Donnie Yen Longs for Romance in New Film
Donnie Yen says his new film “14 Blades” will compensate for his unrequited love for Zhao Wei in a previous film.

Screen Daily: Like You Know It All (South Korea)
Screen Daily: Air Doll (Japan)
Variety: Air Doll
Screen Daily: A Brand New Life (Une Vie Toute Neuve)(France-South Korea)
Korea Times: Bong’s ‘Mother’ Highlights Maternal Love
Confucius Chow

Director given French honour

Johnnie To, whose latest movie ‘Vengeance’ is competing for the Cannes festival’s Palme d’Or, on Monday was made an officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

Two Johnnies bid for Cannes glory

Variety: China central to Hong Kong’s film future
Mainland’s size, potential lure island producers

Tony Leung Ka-Fai in Hong Kong crime thriller
Award-winning actor Tony Leung Ka Fai has the distinction of being picked to play Hong Kong’s notorious Chief Inspector Lee Rock in the 1960s.

Basketball-Playing ‘Bodyguard’

Zhang’s Turandot Fervor a Riddle for Critics

‘Red Cliff’ to Hit North America

Screen Daily: Fortissimo Films has picked up international rights outside China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan to Prince Of Tears from acclaimed filmmaker Yonfan and has already sold it to Ocean Films for France.

Hollywood Reporter: Art house pic ‘Prince of Tears’ finds home

Variety: Hong Kong cinema timeline
Hong Kong Cinema at 100
Variety: Spotlight: Hong Kong talent

Hollywood Reporter: Cannes’ red carpet is blood-soaked
Gore quotient giving even festival veterans pause

Josie Ho slashes conventions in new film, Dream Home

Sun Li, Tony Leung Ka-Fai
Iron Road (Gold Mountain) with Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Sun Li, Peter O’Toole - Shanghai International Film Festival

Johnny Hallyday, Michelle YeJohnnie To
Vengeance - Cannes Photo Call

Johnnie To Receives Award - photo gallery

Vengeance Premiere - 2009 Cannes Film Festival

‘Spring Fever’ Photocall At Cannes Film Festival

Spring Fever Premiere

Ang Lee
Shu QiZhang Ziyi
Shu Qi attending Inglourious Basterds screening

Maggie Cheung is a no-show at Cannes this year (and reportedly cut from film)
Zhang Ziyi
Zhang Ziyi on short film judging panel at Cannes

Karen Mok
Karen Mok for a shampoo brand

Zhang Ziyi Shows Care for Children

Oops! Be Careful with Your Lipstick, Ziyi!

Faye Wong from shampoo commercial, looking like Gong Li in Curse of the Golden Flower

Michelle Reis (right) and sister
I spy: Michelle Reis with older sister, without her wedding ring

Cops look for angle on acid attacks

May 16, 2009

Spring Fever (Screen Daily Review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 10:09 am

Dir. Lou Ye. Hong Kong/France. 2009. 115mins.

Using the flower as a metaphor is risky business for an artist, given its overexposure and abuse. Borrowing from stories from the 1920s from gifted Chinese author Yu Dafu, director Lou Ye, aided by Zeng Jian’s astonishing camerawork, manages to hit a poignant note with floral imagery in Spring Fever.

Close-ups of flowers not only open and close the film, they also pop up intermittently, mirroring shifts in both the story line and the state of mind of its gay protagonist. This integration of visuals and narrative, however, is the exception rather than the rule in this ambitious and - by mainland Chinese standards - daring project. The screenplay is so convoluted and contains so many loose ends that the intense style (fragmented editing, jerky, handheld camera) only highlights the movie’s occasional lapses into incoherence. Add to that relatively explicit sex scenes between males, and the result is small chance of finding an audience in most markets, including Lou Ye’s native China (where he is technically banned from filmmaking on account of the overt politics of Summer Palace). Gay festivals and possibly a few sophisticated urban markets should express interest.

The passionate relationship between a closeted, married intellectual, Wang Ping (Wu Wei), and the film’s central figure, travel agent by day, transvestite by night Jiang Cheng (Qin Hao) - a more stereotypical movie homosexual - is more daring by Chinese standards than it would be in most western countries, where it comes off as quaint and hackneyed. Lou Ye references Francois Truffaut’s classic ménage-a-trois Jules and Jim as an inspiration, but the film owes much more to Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together.

The gay Chinese men in the latter are manual laborers in Argentina, where they are not subjected to the same social constraints as provincial Nanjing residents Wang and Jiang. One of the fellows in Happy Together falls for a younger, naïve heterosexual co-worker; in Spring Fever, Jiang dumps the conflicted Wang, then goes after straight Luo Haitao (Chen Sicheng), whom Wang’s jealous and vindictive wife has hired to follow and film them in flagrante. The inclusion of Luo’s girlfriend in the web of relationships complicates matters for the viewer as much as it does for the men. Tossing in a full-time cross-dresser friend of Jiang’s who becomes his lover, a relationship that flies in the face of real life, serves as an upbeat ending but feels tacked on. Lou Ye does delve successfully into more universal subjects such as loyalty, betrayal, and obsession, but an overall triteness undermines their impact.

Like the 19th-century German philosopher Schopenhauer, Yu Dafu saw weeds in any field of flowers. In spite of the beauty of the movie’s lotuses, Lou Ye conveys the writer’s cynicism. On-screen text reads, “The sky is covered by grey clouds, like decomposing bodies;” pounding rain follows the troubled characters throughout the film. Yet the attempt at optimism prevails. When one of the men finally pulls himself together, the director once again quotes Yu Dafu: “Flowers always know the season in which they must bloom.”

Production companies
Dream Factory HK
Rosem Films

International sales
Wild Bunch
Tel: (33) 1 53 01 50 20

Nai An
Sylvain Bursztejn

Mei Feng

Zeng Jian

Robin Weng
Zeng Jian
Florence Bresson

Production design
Peng Shaoying

Peyman Yazdanian

Main cast
Qin Hao
Chen Sicheng
Tan Zhuo
Wu Wei
Jiang Jiaqi

May 15, 2009

Spring Fever (Variety Review)

Filed under: Reprints — Tags: — dleedlee @ 9:43 am

Spring Fever
Chunfeng chenzuide yewan

(Hong Kong - France) A Le Pacte (in France) release of a Dream Factory H.K. (Hong Kong)/Rosem Films (France) production, with participation of Fonds Sud Cinema, French Ministry of Culture & Communication, CNC, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Nai An, Sylvain Bursztejn. Co-producer, Lou Ye. Directed by Lou Ye. Screenplay, Mei Feng.

With: Qin Hao, Chen Sicheng, Tan Zhuo, Wu Wei, Jiang Jiaqi, Huang Xuan, Liang Ming.
(Mandarin, Cantonese dialogue)

Three years after tweaking the nose of China’s Film Bureau with full-frontal nudity and direct references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident in “Summer Palace,” mainland helmer Lou Ye is at it again — this time with lashings of gay sex — in the five-way ensembler “Spring Fever.” Pic circumvents the bureau’s five-year filmmaking ban on Lou by being registered as a Hong Kong-French co-production, though beyond fests (especially gay ones) and the hardcore arthouse crowd, this over-long, very Euro-flavored “Spring” won’t make many B.O. wickets bloom.

Shot clandestinely in Nanjing, central China, on digital equipment — cleanly transferred to 35mm, though murky in interiors — “Spring Fever” aims to evoke an atmosphere in which characters are swept up in a metaphysical fever, which blurs some sexual inclinations while reinforcing others. The movie’s poetic Chinese title literally means “A Night Deeply Drunk on the Spring Breeze.”

With its shifting, unstable weather — from spring rain and overcast haze to sunny spells — the pic does intermittently evoke a time of year when nature is stirring after a long period of hibernation. But the effect is weakened by the lack of visual consistency in d.p. Zeng Jian’s lensing, and with a lot of the action taking place in dully lit interiors, the connection between nature and the human world remains more in the pic’s English and Chinese titles than in what comes through on the bigscreen. Overall tone, especially in the second half, is more of autumnal melancholy than of spring fever.

Helmer Lou starts off as he means to continue, with a full-on (but genitalia-free) sex sequence between married Wang Ping (Wu Wei) and his male lover, Jiang Cheng (Qin Hao). What Wang doesn’t know is that his wife, schoolteacher Lin Xue (Jiang Jiaqi), is having him followed by unemployed Luo Haitao (Chen Sicheng), who snaps photos of the two men together.

During an awkward dinner a trois, in which Jiang poses as Wang’s old university friend, Lin plays along. But when Wang later finds out she’s had him followed, Lin not only bawls her hubby out at home but also humiliates Jiang at his workplace.

These brief scenes, superbly played by actress Jiang Jiaqi, are among the few authentically emotional and gripping sequences in the movie, which otherwise schematically moves feelings and characters around at the script’s convenience.

Things turn more melancholy and moony as Luo — in a sudden development that’s never properly justified dramatically or psychologically — becomes less interested physically in his g.f. (Tan Zhuo) and more sexually drawn to his initial quarry, Jiang. Ensuing emotional complications over the remaining 75 minutes result in a suicide, much heart-searching (though little of it via meaningful dialogue) and one scene after another of gay lovemaking.

The screenplay is much better constructed than the untidy “Summer Palace,” but the pic is still a long, long way from Lou’s inventive and involving “Suzhou River” and flawed but impressively ambitious period drama, “Purple Butterfly.” As Lou has seemingly catered more and more to Euro tastes (and Western sensibilities), his vision and imagination have become progressively more restricted.

Script has little idea what to do with Wang or either of the female characters, all of whom are left stranded as the pic focuses on Luo’s homosexual “affair” with Jiang. Perfs are OK, but with little to chew on in the script, the actors almost seem to blend into each other at times.

Atmospheric score by Iranian composer Peyman Yazdanian (”Summer Palace”) adds some color.

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Zeng Jian; editors, Robin Weng, Zeng, Florence Bresson; music, Peyman Yazdanian; additional music, Mickey Zhang; art director, Peng Shaoying; sound (Dolby Digital), Fu Kang; assistant director, Zhao Zhiyang; casting, Zhang Yanjia. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (competing), May 13, 2009. Running time: 116 MIN.

May 15, 2009

Storm Warriors poster

Scheduled for December 17th release

Spring Fever cast
Spring Fever Photo Call from Cannes

Chinese director Lou Ye braves ban risk at Cannes
Air Doll cast
Air Doll Photo Call

Shu Qi
Shu Qi - Cannes Opening Night

Confucius presents two minute preview at Cannes

Donnie Yen, Zhou Xun
14 Blades press conference photo gallery

Storyboard slide show

Dadi Film moves into sales for Confucius

Dadi is also co-producing Echoes Of The Rainbow with Hong Kong’s Mei Ah Entertainment, which is directed by Alex Law and Mabel Cheung. Set in 1960s Hong Kong, the film stars Simon Yam and Sandra Ng.

Taipei Times Pop Stop

Michelle Reis antagonises mother-in-law on Mothers’ Day

May 14, 2009

May 14, 2009

Poster for Peter Chan’s JungKu - The Man From 18th Hell

Dante Lam’s The Flying Guillotines
Queen's Road Ripper
Queen’s Road Ripper
The God of Wealth
The God of Wealth
Cinema Popular posters
Peter Chan Brings Demon-Slayer to Life

‘Spring’ has sprung for Lou Ye
Chinese director delivers another controversial pic with Spring Fever

Q&A: Park Chan-wook

Anthony Wong - Sleeveless in Seatte?
Laughing Gor’s Anthony Wong

Louis KooSandra Ng

Forbidden City Cop: Smart Dog - Louis Koo, Sandra Ng

Law Kar-Ying
Forbidden City Cop: Smart Dog - Law Kar-Ying

Shu Qi
Shu Qi - Opening Ceremony at Cannes

Cannes judging panel press conference

Cannes Film Festival Opens

Tsai Ming-liang: Ang Lee is my strongest competitor!

Korea Times - ‘Know’: Hong’s Realm of Comic Realism
New in local theaters and currently showing in the out-of-competition section of the Cannes Film Festival is Hong Sang-soo’s latest feature “Like You Know It All.”

Opinion: Ambitious Lu Chuan Succeeds
Since “The city of life and death”, a historical epic movie also known as “Nanking, Nanking,” made its debut on April 23rd, a heated debate provoked by the film has ensued. The most controversial topic is the way Lu Chuan, the movie’s director, represents the massacre of Nanking.

Huang Xiaoming, Zhou XunHuang XiaomingLi Bingbing, Zhang HanyuAlec So
The Message - photo gallery

Wang ZhiwenAlec So
The Message

Simon Yam attending first screening of Ann Hui’s Night and Fog

Zhao Wei
Zhao Wei at 14 Blades press conference

Nic and parents
Cecilia couldn't attend but sent Nic a gift
Nic and Patrick Tse promote new CD and MV

Faye Wong’s new shampoo ad

Faye Wong’s Comeback Ad Released

Gillian was expecting Hello Kitty!
Gillian Chung was a guest on a Sina’s TV program

Vivan Chow, Ni Kuang
Filial daughter Vivian Chow on Mother’s Day with Ni Kuang (father-in-law)

Edison Chen Sex-Pix Thief Gets Prison

Nina Wang eyed the Nobel Peace Prize

China, Hong Kong confirm influenza cases
Passengers flew from Canada, San Francisco

May 13, 2009

May 13, 2009

Posters for Bodyguards and Assassins released

Tony Leung Ka-Fai

Hu Jun, Eric Tsang, Nic Tse, Donnie Yen, Leon Lai, Fan Bingbing, Wang Po-Chieh, Wang Xueqi, Zhou Yun, Li Yuchun
Scheduled for December 18th release

Louis Koo
Lau Ching Wan, Daniel Wu
Overheard/Wiretap - Lau Ching-Wan, Louis Koo, Daniel Wu

Louis Koo put on thirty pounds for the role

Director Hung Yan-Yan with cast
Hung Yan-YanJiang Luxia - leading lady
Sam LeePeggy Tseng Pei-Yu
Coweb Beijing press conference

Li Bingbing - The Message

Donnie Yen in for Bond-esque actioner
‘14 Blades’ will be directed by Daniel Lee

Chinese director Lou Ye to premiere movie at Cannes film festival despite ban - Spring Fever
Lou Ye - Spring Fever press kit

New H.K. sales firm embraces actresses
Vicky Zhao Wei, Tang Wei have faced career hurdles

Ethan Ruan replaces Jay Chou as triad member in new film

Cinema Popular unveils China’s first superhero movie
Cinema Popular is unveiling four new projects at Cannes:
Jung Ku - The Man From 18th Hell (Peter Chan), The Flying Guillotines - (Dante Lam), Queen’s Road Ripper, God of Wealth
Korea’s Sidus to co-produce One Armed Swordsman remake
Fortissimo takes on Tian Zhuangzhuang’s Warrior
Focus, Edko seal three film deal
True Legend, The Warrior and The Wolf, and Murderer (starring Aaron Kwok)

Don’t bow down to vices, says Tsai Chin

Attending Guests: Want a date with Taiwanese female stars? Pay up

Ashes of Time cast
Stumbled across this picture and I thought people might enjoy seeing it. Notice who’s in it? Joey Wang!
And a couple more:

Zhao Wei slide show

Jamie Cheung (Dragonball: Evolution) slide show

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