14 items from 2016
A couple of months ago, we noted how it’s been a seriously underwhelming year for Chinese-language cinema – an assessment that stands despite the recent release of Berlinale-winner Crosscurrent. Well, turns out the Middle Kingdom might have a year-end surprise or two up its sleeve after all. Having scored a Fipresci prize at Toronto and the prestigious Golden Seashell at San Sebastián, I Am Not Madame Bovary is a healthy return to form for veteran director Xiaogang Feng that, while not exactly hitting the ball out of the park, delivers a genuinely funny, slyly observant diagnosis of contemporary China complete with lush, absurdist flair.
The many cultural references that give a societal satire like this its texture but inevitably get lost in translation begin with the title. Instead of Flaubert’s world-known creation, it’s actually Pan Jinlian that our heroine Li Xuelian (played by Bingbing Fan) denies of being. »
- Zhuo-Ning Su
A director who’s won awards as a screenwriter, martial arts choreographer and literary novelist, Xu Haofeng seriously believes in multitasking. The writer of Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster and Chen Kaige’s Monk Comes Down the Mountain, Xu sits in the director’s chair for The Final Master, the latest piece in his collection of “cold weapon” films, spotlighting the use of traditional Chinese knives in battle. Director Xu spoke with me about adapting his own novels and mixing philosophy and politics with his kung fu. The Lady Miz Diva: The Final Master is the third in a trilogy of adaptations of your own novels. I often hear filmmakers talk about the difficulties in adapting literature. What was it like for you adapting your own work? Xu...
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If your weekends are anything like mine, most times they are filled with movie and drama marathons. While I do enjoy the occasional interaction with other human units, I mostly prefer to shed the stress of the previous work week by relaxing at home.
However, when watching movies is your go-to activity, selections can quickly become depleted. Luckily for me, I have become quite good at finding hidden gems throughout various technology sources. They usually feel like a sweet reward during droughts of fresh material. One source that has been quite rich with great finds is Google Play. I found the following two-day movie rentals on Google Play for just a few bucks.
Monk Comes Down the Mountain
The first treasure is a star-studded martial arts action film directed by Chen Kaige. Monk Comes Down the Mountain is a story about a monk who finds himself unexpectedly forced out of »
- CoolHappyMe P
The Cannes Film Festival’s awards will be handed out on Sunday, and for a change women are expected to be directly in the spotlight. In the 69-year history of the festival, no woman has been the sole recipient of the Palme d’Or, the award traditionally given to the director of the year’s top film. Jane Campion took the prize for “The Piano” in 1993, but she shared the award with director Chen Kaige, who tied for the Palme with his “Farewell My Concubine.” And in 2013, the jury specified that the Palme for “Blue Is the Warmest Color” should go. »
- Steve Pond
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Farewell My Concubine (1993) is playing on Mubi May 22 - June 21, 2016 in the United States.Farewell My Concubine, the Cannes-winning, Oscar-nominated, internationally-heralded 1993 film from director Chen Kaige, is quite the busy movie. Extensive in its meticulous depiction of Chinese history, the film charts the tumultuous course of the country from 1924 to 1977, including the ups and downs of political strife, the correspondingly fluctuating social conditions, and the general upheaval brought forth by 20th century modernity. With this as its framework, and with such large-scale concerns seeping into the primary narrative one minute and delicately fading away the next, the film is all the while essentially focused on two people, actors Douzi and Shitou. From their first encounter as young boys training for the Peking Opera, to their maturation on and off the stage as full-fledged stars and complex human beings, to a seemingly sedate middle-age conclusion, »
There are early murmurs that this year’s jury could make history by awarding Andrea Arnold the first female solo-director Palme d’Or for “American Honey.” Only one other female director, Jane Campion, has won the prize, but she had to split the 1993 honor for her film “The Piano” with a man — Chen Kaige and his “Farewell My Concubine.”
Oddsmakers are speculating that “American Honey” will appeal to at least to two jurors in particular: George Miller, because of the film’s kinetic cinematography; and Kirsten Dunst for its pop-fuelled soundtrack that bring mind the rhythmic backdrop of her own “Marie Antoinette.”
“Loving” received respectful but muted reactions. “Paterson” may be too understated for the top award. And German comedy “Toni Erdmann” has the raves, but it’s not weighty. Unless Sean Penn mounts a last-minute surge for “The Last Face,” this could be Arnold’s prize to lose …
Speaking of awards, »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Chicago – One of the gems of the Chicago film scene began last year, and is successfully finishing its second season. The Asian Pop-Up Film Festival is the invention of its founder, Sophia Wong Boccio, a Hong Kong native who has lived all over the world, but never forgot her background in film, rooted from her parents. With that passion, she began the festival to share her vast knowledge of films from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, and expand access to them in Chicago.
The final film of the second season will be a North American premiere, “The Mobfathers” – on Thursday, May 19th, 2016 – from Hong Kong director Herman Yau, followed by a Closing Night Gala the following evening on May 20th. Director Yau will be in attendance at both events, and Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com will moderate a Q&A with the director at the Gala. For more »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Actor-musician, Common and Chinese actress Xu Qing have joined Ethan Hawke in the cast of thriller “24 Hours to Live.” To be directed by Brian Smrz, the film starts production in South Africa next month.
Common, who recently won an original song Academy Award with John Legend for “Selma,” has had film roles including “Run All Night” and “Wanted.” Xu (aka Summer Xu) started her film career in Chen Kaige’s “Life on a String” and was recently seen in “Looper” and hit comedy drama “Mr Six.”
- Patrick Frater
Taking a leaf from “84, Charing Cross Road,” Xue Xiaolu’s “Book of Love” centers on a Macau casino hostess and L.A. realtor who fall in love on paper rather than in the flesh. For a romantic comedy, there’s almost no spark or intimacy; instead, it boasts more gambling and swindling than Wong Jing’s “From Vegas to Macau” trilogy. But the emotional journeys of two opportunists losing their bearings in cities overrun by mainland big-spenders prove more engaging. Piggybacking on Xue’s sophomore hit “Finding Mr. Right,” the film, which reunites co-stars Tang Wei and Wu Xiubo, has secured releases in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, though its appeal may not translate to non-Chinese viewers.
Xue’s last film was a sleeper that grossed $79 million, cementing the romantic comedy as a most lucrative genre in China’s burgeoning commercial market. She set a trend by referencing »
- Maggie Lee
For many mainstream filmgoers, Farewell My Concubine is perhaps the best-known Chinese language film of the 1990s, helped in no end by its success at the Cannes Film Festival. Directed by Chen Kaige (Yellow Earth, Temptress Moon), the film traces the troubled friendship between two Peking Opera performers during 50 years of war-ravaged Chinese history. Leslie Cheung (A Better Tomorrow, Days Of Being Wild) and Zhang Fengyi (The Emperor And The Assassin, Red Cliff) play the central duo Dieyi and Xiaolou, while Gong Li (Red Sorghum, Raise The Red Lantern) portrays Jiuxian, the former prostitute who drives them apart. Beginning in 1924, Farewell My Concubine follows a country in turmoil, from the Japanese occupation, through the resistance movement by the Kuomintang and ultimately the...
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A $65 million CGI-animated “Astro Boy” was released in 2009 by Imagi Animation Studios, based on the mangas and anime series by Osamu Tezuka and voiced by Freddie Highmore. The film grossed $40 million worldwide.
Astro Boy first appeared in a Japanese manga series from 1951 to 1968, selling over 100 million copies worldwide. The character was the star of a TV series in 1980 and 2003.
- Dave McNary
Filming has wrapped on the largest ever Chinese-Australian co-production at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast.
The 3-D Movie, Nest, stars Chinese megastar Li Bingbing, Kellan Lutz (The Twilight Saga, Expendables 3), Kelsey Grammer (Transformers), Stef Dawson (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Chinese popstar and actor Wu Chun and Shane Jacobson (The Dressmaker, Oddball, Kenny).
Nest is the largest Chinese-Australian co-production to date, with investment funding from Screen Australia and Screen Queensland, and features an award-winning team both in front of and behind the camera..
Visual FX will be created by Cutting Edge and the world renowned, »
- Brian Karlovsky
10 February 2016 7:05 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
The Berlin international film festival's ties with Chinese cinema run deep. The event was the first major European festival to screen a Chinese movie in its main competition — Chun Yen 's The Valley of the Lost Soul (Wang hun gu) in 1957 — and it was the first to award its top prize to a Chinese picture. Zhang Yimou won the Golden Bear in 1988 for Red Sorghum, five years before the Cannes Film Festival gave Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine the Palme D'or (two additional Golden Bears have been awarded to Chinese films in the years hence, while no
- Patrick Brzeski
Sam Shepard's influence before he worked with Volker Schlöndorff on Max Frisch's Homo Faber (Voyager), Peter Carey and the script, Yasujiro Ozu actors Chishû Ryû and Kuniko Miyake, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and The Man Who Knew Too Much, Chen Kaige, Robby Müller and Vermeer, Yohji Yamamoto, Notebook on Cities and Clothes, Lord Byron and much more are inspected here.
Until The End Of The World stars Solveig Dommartin, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Jeanne Moreau, Rüdiger Vogler and Sam Neill and an extraordinary soundtrack featuring Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, U2, Julee Cruise, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Crime and the City Solution, Neneh Cherry, R.E.M., Patti Smith, Daniel Lanois, T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Jane Siberry, k.d. lang with uncredited performances by David Byrne with Talking Heads, Tom Waits »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
14 items from 2016
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