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Gong Li to Star in Martin Campbell’s Action-Thriller ‘Ana’ (Exclusive)

Gong Li to Star in Martin Campbell’s Action-Thriller ‘Ana’ (Exclusive)
Chinese actress Gong Li will star in the Europe-set action-thriller “Ana,” with Martin Campbell on board to direct.

Rush Hour” producer Arthur Sarkissian and China’s Bruno Wu are producing the movie, which Wu is also financing. Sarkissian told Variety that they plan to start production in March or April.

The script is written by Richard Wenk, whose credits include “The Equalizer,” “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” and “The Expendables 2.” Sarkissian said “Ana” will be similar in tone to Luc Besson’s 1990 actioner “La Femme Nikita.”

“Ana” re-teams Campbell and Sarkissian following the Jackie Chan actioner “The Foreigner,” which opens Friday in North America with expectations of a $10 million debut weekend. “The Foreigner” is projected to earn $88 million in international markets by the end of the upcoming weekend.

Gong’s credits date back to Zhang Yimou’s directorial debut, “Red Sorghum,” which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1988. Since then, she’s appeared
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Tiff 2017. Correspondences #2

  • MUBI
Dear Danny and Kelley,What a joy this time of the year to reconnect with old cinephile friends, and to meet new ones. The film festival I’ve been to more times than any other, Tiff seems to grow more personally important with each new visit—as a locus of discovery, an escape from the routine, a sanctuary and a labyrinth, exhausting and intoxicating. Could even a vérité master like Frederick Wiseman capture all its contradictions? The cinema and people I encounter during my ten days here comprise a refuge, a reminder of sublime possibilities in the midst of brutish realities. Art keeps the beast at bay, or so they say. Indeed, the very first film I saw, Alain GomisFélicité, opens with just such a clash. In a roisterous Congolese bar, various squabbles hush up as a woman steps up to the microphone for a fierce, gorgeous song. As
See full article at MUBI »

Movie Review: I Am Not Madame Bovary, the heroine of this uneven Chinese protest yarn insists

Back in 1992, China’s most renowned director (internationally, at least) and its most famous actress (ditto) teamed up to make an offbeat portrait of maniacal tenacity. The Story Of Qiu Ju—it was the fifth consecutive collaboration between Zhang Yimou and Gong Li—stars Gong as a hugely pregnant peasant who stubbornly works her way up the country’s justice system, rung by rung, seeking redress for her husband, who got kicked in the nuts by their village chieftain. Doesn’t sound like a potential franchise, but here, nonetheless, comes I Am Not Madame Bovary, a remarkably similar one-woman-vs.-the-system tale helmed by China’s most commercially successful director, Feng Xiaogang (Aftershock, Assembly), and starring its most popular actress, Fan Bingbing (who’s such a megastar that the Chinese release of Iron Man 3 included extra scenes in which she appears; she also played Blink in X-Men: Days Of ...
See full article at The AV Club »

Zhang Yimou’s ‘Great’ Adventure

Zhang Yimou’s ‘Great’ Adventure
At an age when most men might prefer to slow down, Zhang Yimou is set to take on a string of global-scale projects that will venture beyond cinema.

These projects aren’t just ambitious and lucrative for Zhang, according to China film observers. They’re also widely viewed as key projects capable of exporting China’s soft power and competing for high-profile accolades. The latter goal would seem to be well within reach of Zhang, a two-time Golden Lion winner at the prestigious Venice Film Festival.

The iconic Fifth Generation director is in post-production on “The Great Wall,” his first English-language film. With a budget of $135 million, it stars Matt Damon, Andy Lau and Zhang Hanyu.

Zhang previously enjoyed great box office success with his 2003 martial arts epic “Hero,” which raked in 250 million yuan ($41 million) in China — more than three times what he had expected — and $177 million worldwide. Afterward, “House of Flying Daggers
See full article at Variety - Film News »

[Tiff Review] Mr. Six

From the late 80’s until the early 00’s, Chinese cinema has been a mainstay at A-list film festivals worldwide, picking up trophies left and right. Things changed, however, as the Mandarin film market experienced an exponential growth in the last decade, inspiring many award-winning “underground” filmmakers to go “mainstream.” While making movies for a mass audience is in itself a perfectly valid pursuit, the drastic decline in quality of these auteurs’ commercially-oriented work has been more than disheartening. Golden Bear (Red Sorghum) and two-time Golden Lion (The Story of Qiu Ju; Not One Less) winner Yimou Zhang, for example, has given us splashy CG-extravaganzas like House of Flying Daggers or Curse of the Golden Flower that are a far cry from his earlier work in terms of subtlety and insightfulness. Palme d’Or winner Kaige Chen (Farewell My Concubine) crashed and burned with the much-maligned Sacrifice; and Cannes Granx Prix
See full article at The Film Stage »

Coming Home Is a Moving Reunion Between Zhang Yimou and Gong Li

  • Vulture
Coming Home Is a Moving Reunion Between Zhang Yimou and Gong Li
Once upon a time, the filmmaker Zhang Yimou and his then-muse Gong Li collaborated on some of the most momentous works of new Chinese cinema. The films they made were diverse. They included lush, ruthless period dramas like Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern, as well as a neo-neorealist tale of bureaucracy gone haywire, The Story of Qiu Ju. Though ostensibly apolitical, these films nevertheless painted vivid portraits of a society where the status quo — whether it consisted of the traditionalist mores of the past, or the state machinery of the present — was forever stifling. (Their masterful 1994 collaboration To Live actually got Zhang banned from filmmaking for two years by China’s state censors.) The pair — also romantically linked for a while — eventually went their separate ways, though both continued to grow in stature. Zhang became a state-approved filmmaker of (admittedly still pretty great) historical epics like Hero and The House of Flying Daggers,
See full article at Vulture »

Amy Adams, Lupita Nyong'o, and a Michael Jackson documentary part of news from Cannes

  • Hitfix
Amy Adams, Lupita Nyong'o, and a Michael Jackson documentary part of news from Cannes
Cannes, France (AP) — The Associated Press is all over the Cannes Film Festival — from its glitzy premieres to the celeb parties and quirky moments in between. Here's what reporters have seen and heard: ___ Lupita Nyong'o Stuns at Calvin Klein Glowing Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o shone bright at the Calvin Klein celebration of Women In Film event in Cannes. She wore a shimmering blue Calvin Klein strapless dress with a slashed bodice styled with silver sandals. To complement that look, the "12 Years a Slave" star wore enviable teardrop cut out crystal earrings. During the exclusive event, she hung out with fellow Wif attendees Julianne Moore, Rooney Maara and Naomi Watts. — By Thomas Adamson ___ Paramount Buys Adams Sci-Fi Thriller One of the hottest properties in Cannes has been acquired by Paramount Pictures. Paramount has purchased the North America and China distribution rights for "Story of Your Life," a sci-fi thriller to star Amy Adams.
See full article at Hitfix »

Gong Li to Head Shanghai Festival Jury

Gong Li to Head Shanghai Festival Jury
Hong Kong — Top Chinese actress Gong Li is to head the main competition jury at next month’s Shanghai International Film Festival (June 14-22).

She will be the first woman to head the Golden Goblet jury and the first Chinese after three years of foreign jury presidents (Tom Hooper, Luc Besson and Danny Boyle).

While a student at the Central Drama Academy, she landed the leading role in Zhang Yimou’s directorial debut “Red Sorghum,” which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin festival in 1988. Since then she has played major roles and accumulated awards for films including “The Story of Qiu Ju,” “Farewell My Concubine” and “Miami Vice.”

In 1997 she was on the jury at Cannes. She has also served as jury president at the Berlin, Venice and Tokyo festivals.

Other jury members will be revealed in the coming weeks.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Berlin: Sony Pictures Classics Closes Deal On Zhang Yimou’s ‘Coming Home’

Berlin — Critically acclaimed Chinese helmer-producer Zhang Yimou has lured back Sony Pictures Classics, his longtime North American distributor, with the Gong Li starrer ”Coming Home.”

Sold by Wild Bunch,”Coming Home” marks Sony Pictures Classics’ 12th acquisition of a Zhang-directed film.

Wild Bunch started pre-selling the pic at the Efm.

The last Zhang pic acquired by Spc dates back to “A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop,” a remake of the Coen brothers’ “Blood Simple,” in 2009. Other films by Zhang distributed by Spc include “Raise the Red Lantern,” “The Story of Qiu Ju” and “Curse of the Golden Flower.”

Inspired by Yan Geling’s “The Criminal Lu Yanshi, “Coming Home” is a romance drama chronicling the journey of a Chinese dissident (Chen Daoming) from the 1920′s to the 1990′s.

Pic is now in post and will be ready by May, in time for Cannes.

Among the many accolades he
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Zhang Yimou and Gong Li Reunited in ‘Return’

Zhang Yimou and Gong Li Reunited in ‘Return’
Hong Kong – Top Chinese director Zhang Yimou and his former muse, star actress Gong Li have begun production on the aptly named drama “Return.”

Although the two were romantically linked for many years and worked together on more than half a dozen film films including “Red Sorghum,” “The Story of Qiu Ju” and “Raise The Red Lantern,” they have not been professionally connected since 2006’s “Curse of the Golden Flower.”

Return” is Zhang’s first movie for Le Vision Pictures, the production offshoot of Chinese online video group Le TV, since he joined the company earlier this year as artistic director.

The film, which deals with issues including the controversial Cultural Revolution period of Chinese history as well as dementia and self-image, is an adaptation of “The Criminal Lu Yanshi,” a novel by Yan Geling, author of the book that Zhang previously directed as “The Flowers of War” with Christian Bale in a starring role.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Global Showbiz Briefs: Chinese Valentine’s Day A Boxoffice Smash; Zhang Yimou-Gong Li Reunion Rumored; More

  • Deadline TV
Chinese Couples Turn Out In Droves For Valentine’s Day Chinese Valentine’s Day was a big box office draw for couples, FilmBiz Asia reports. The Tuesday holiday set a record with $22.9M in takings. That was largely down to three films: Pacific Rim, which added $5.74M; sequel Tiny Times 2 with an extra $5.6M: and Fan Bing ringing up a further $4.7M in One Night Surprise. The films were up 81%, 105% and 156%, respectively, compared with Monday, Fba said. Zhang Yimou Eyeing Screen Reunion With Gong Li? Also in China, veteran director Zhang Yimou is tipped to be prepping a reteam with actress Gong Li. During a financial conference this week, Le Vision Pictures CEO Zhang Zhao reportedly said the director will shoot Return, “a Cultural Revolution story,” in the fourth quarter of the year. “He has made commercial films for 10 years, and has got fed up. Now he wants to come
See full article at Deadline TV »

‘The Flowers of War’ Us Trailer: Christian Bale, the War Hero

‘The Flowers of War’ Us Trailer: Christian Bale, the War Hero
Not too long ago the small outfit Wreckin Hill Entertainment picked up Us rights [1] to Zhang Yimou's new film The Flowers of War. That's the film in which Christian Bale plays a roguish American who ends up taking responsibility for a group of girls and women who take refuge in a church during Japan's siege of Nanking during World War II. The film is China's entry for this year's Best Foreign Language film (it is also the most expensive film produced in China) and has an Oscar-qualifying run set to begin December 21 in New York, with openings on Dec 23 in La and San Francisco. To promote that Oscar run there is now a Us trailer for the film, and it is far more coherent and story-oriented than the sales trailer [2] we saw some time ago. It still shows off the film's wartime scope, but it also foregrounds the narrative so
See full article at Slash Film »

Asia Pacific Screen Award to Chinese producer-director Zhang Yimou

Asia Pacific Screen Award to Chinese producer-director Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou

Chinese film producer and director Zhang Yimou will be the 2011 recipient of the Fiapf Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia-Pacific region. It was announced by the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (Apsa) and Fiapf-International Federation of Film Producers Associations announced on Tuesday.

The awards will be given at the fifth annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony on Australia’s Gold Coast on November 24.

As the recipient of the Fiapf Award, Zhang Yimou will be inducted into the Asia Pacific Screen Academy, joining fellow Fifth Generation filmmakers Tian Zhuangzhuang and Chen Kaige.

Zhang Yimou began his filmmaking career with Red Sorghum, starring legendary Chinese actress Gong Li in her first leading role. It won a Golden Bear for Best Picture at the 38th Berlin International Film Festival in 1988. In 1990, Zhang’s film Ju Dou became China’s first Academy Awards nomination in the Best Foreign Film category.
See full article at DearCinema.com »

‘The Flowers of War,’ With Christian Bale, Gets Us Distro, an Oscar-Qualifying Run and Early 2012 Release

The Chinese release of Zhang Yimou's WWII film The Flowers of War is imminent in China, where the film will open on December 16. But its fate has been undecided in the States. Now Wrekin Hill Entertainment, in association with Row 1 Productions, will release the movie in a limited late December Academy qualifying run, and give the movie a wider release in early 2012. In The Flowers of War, which is set in 1937, Christian Bale plays "a salty mortician who apparently has come to town to bury the priest of a cathedral in Nanking," and ends up taking over for the priest when invading Japanese forces threaten the students of a girls' school that is also housed in the cathedral. We saw a Chinese sales trailer [1] not long ago, but with distribution set for the movie we can probably expect a trailer for Us audiences in short order. The press release is below.
See full article at Slash Film »

The Flowers Of War Starring Christian Bale Set For December 2011 Release

Zhang Yimou.S The Flowers Of War - China.S Oscar Entry – Goes To Wrekin Hill In Association With Row 1 Productions

Epic Starring Christian Bale Will Open In Late December 2011

Following Its Wide Release on Dec. 16 in China

Chris Ball, President and CEO of La-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that his company, in association with Row 1 Productions, have acquired the North American distribution rights to award-winning Chinese director Zhang Yimou.s (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) and producer Zhang Weiping.s The Flowers Of War starring Academy Award® winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight). The film has been selected as this year.s official foreign language entry for China at the Academy Awards. Wrekin Hill, in association with Row 1, will open the film in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in late December 2011 and the film will then expand through
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Zhang Yimou’s ‘The Flowers of War’ Goes to Wrekin Hill

  • The Film Stage
After months of speculation that went hand-in-hand with talk of Oscars, the U.S. distribution contest for Zhang Yimou‘s The Flowers of War has ended a tad anticlimacticly. A press release announces that Wrekin Hill — the company recently behind Hesher, The People vs. George Lucas, and The Way Back — have picked up the Christian Bale starrer for an opening later this year. With Row 1, they’ll release it in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco “in late December 2011,” rolling it out to other markets at the start of next year.

Awards hope isn’t completely dissipated by this news — but it could very well be hurt. Wrekin Hill is a very small distributor who couldn’t find the proper method to support Peter Weir‘s The Way Back, a film that could have easily earned a nomination for something more technical — cinematography, perhaps — so long as it had the proper backing.
See full article at The Film Stage »

Afm: Wrekin Hill Acquires Zhang Yimou’s ‘Flowers Of War’ Starring Christian Bale

  • Deadline
Los Angeles, CA (November 7, 2011) — Chris Ball, President and CEO of La-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that his company, in association with Row 1 Productions, have acquired theNorth American distribution rights to award-winning Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) and producer Zhang Weiping’s The Flowers Of War starring Academy Award® winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight). The film has been selected as this year’s official foreign language entry for China at the Academy Awards. Wrekin Hill, in association with Row 1, will open the film in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in late December 2011 and the film will then expand through early 2012. The Flowers Of War will have a wide release in China on December 16th following three premiere events in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Based on a screenplay by Heng Liu (The Story of Qiu Ju
See full article at Deadline »

The Flowers of War Acquired by Wrekin Hill Entertainment

The Flowers of War Acquired by Wrekin Hill Entertainment
Christopher Ball, President and CEO of La-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that his company, in association with Row 1 Productions, have acquired the North American distribution rights to award-winning Chinese director Yimou Zhang's (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) and producer Weiping Zhang's The Flowers of War starring Academy Award winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight). The film has been selected as this year's official foreign language entry for China at the Academy Awards. Wrekin Hill, in association with Row 1, will open the film in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in late December 2011 and the film will then expand through early 2012.

The Flowers of War will have a wide release in China on December 16th following three premiere events in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Based on a screenplay by Heng Liu (The Story of Qiu Ju), The Flowers of
See full article at MovieWeb »

China Selects Zhang Yimou's Flowers of War, Starring Christian Bale, as Oscar Entry

China Selects Zhang Yimou's Flowers of War, Starring Christian Bale, as Oscar Entry
The backers of Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War, a tough period drama set during the horrific 1937 Nanking Massacre, are heaving sighs of relief. China has chosen the film as its official Oscar entry. It is due for December 16 release in Asia and was for sale at the recent Toronto Film Festival, where I saw a stunning 20 minutes of footage. This means that a buyer is now more likely to step up to qualify the film at year's end for a Christian Bale Oscar campaign, knowing that The Flowers of War may wind up a foreign Oscar nominee. (There's just enough Chinese in the English/Mandarin dialogue to qualify.) Based on a screenplay by Heng Liu (Assembly, The Story of Qiu Ju), The ...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

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