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Asian Film Award Nominees: "Legend of the Demon Cat" and More...

by Nathaniel R

Legend of the Demon Cat

It's difficult to keep track of the cream of the crop of Asian cinema because there are so many different bodies handing out prizes and so many of the major international awards bodies ignore that region altogether. One of the youngest of the Asian awards bodies is the bluntly titled "Asian Film Awards" which have only been operating since 2007. Their nomination leader this year is a film called Legend of the Demon Cat from Chen Kaige (who is most famous stateside for his 1993 arthouse smash and Oscar nominee Farewell My Concubine from 1993) but his latest isn't actually up for the top category, instead heavily dominating the tech fields. The film has not yet been released in the States.  Since these awards are based out of Hong Kong their nominees skew heavily towards Chinese productions...
See full article at FilmExperience »

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 »

Toronto: Chen Kaige Unveils Sneak Peek of ‘Demon Cat’

Toronto: Chen Kaige Unveils Sneak Peek of ‘Demon Cat’
Chinese director Chen Kaige is doing double duty in Toronto. He heads the jury for the festival’s cutting-edge Platform section. On Sunday he presents a sneak peak of his new movie, “The Legend of the Demon Cat,” and discusses his cinematic journey.

In a 30-year career, stretching from the pre-reform era to the more commercial modern era, Chen has directed some of China’s most beloved arthouse movies (“Temptress Moon”) to box office record breakers (“The Promise”). He won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1993 with “Farewell My Concubine.” “Demon Cat” is his first film in six years and is constructed on a different scale.

Billed as an epic, a period romance and a detective story, the film is plunge into the rich culture of the Tang Dynasty, some 1,300 years ago, which Chen says is one of favorite periods in Chinese history. It is also an attempt to shed new light on the Concubine Yang
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The Legend Of The Demon Cat: Watch The Teaser For Chen Kaige's Period Fantasy

Iconic Chinese director Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine) makes a forway into the world of period fantasy with his upcoming effort The Legend Of The Demon Cat. Based on a Japanese novel by Mineo Yoneyama, this one has flown remarkably under the radar for a big budget effort by such a high profile director but with the release scheduled for December the first teaser has arrived now. Set in the Tang Dynasty the story is very much what you'd expect from the title - with a demon cat arriving and wreaking havoc on the wealthy and powerful - and looks every bit as beautifully excuted as you would hope. Check the treaser below....

[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

The Final Master Arrives on Digital, Blu-ray Combo Pack & DVD July 25th

Haofeng Xu (screenwriter of The Grandmaster) writes and directs the action-packed martial arts drama The Final Master, available on digital,

Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD July 25 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Liao Fan (Let the Bullet’s Fly), Jiang Wenli (Farewell My Concubine), Chin Shi-Chieh (The Guillotines), Song Jia (Falling Flowers) and Song Yang (The Sword’s Identity) star in the story of a Wing Chun master who must defeat eight martial arts schools in order to open his own school, but he becomes a chess piece in the local power dynamics. Bonus content includes a featurette on the Director and a look at “The Weapons” used in the film.

The Final Master won Best Action Choreography at the 2015 Golden Horse Film Festival and was named a Film of Merit in 2016 from the Shanghai Film Critics Awards.

In 1930s China, unrest rules the nation. Chen, the last Wing Chun master,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Artificial Eye co-founder Pamela Engel dies aged 82

  • ScreenDaily
Engel also co-founded UK distributor New Wave Films.

Art-house “trailblazer” Pamela Engel, known for co-founding distributor Artificial Eye and programming London cinemas including the Lumiere, Chelsea Cinema, Camden Plaza and the Renoir, has died aged 82.

A huge figure in the UK’s independent film business, Engel’s death has sparked messages of praise across the distribution and exhibition sectors.

Born Pamela Balfry in 1934, the UK executive started out in the late 1950s as a secretary for then Sight and Sound editor Penelope Houston.

She would go on to work as an assistant to Richard Roud at the London and New York Film Festivals before joining Derek Hill’s art-house venue Essential Cinema in the late 1960s.

Odyssey

Balfry and first husband Andi Engel established distributor Artificial Eye in 1976, thus “beginning an odyssey of distribution and exhibition unlikely ever to be surpassed,” in the words of former London Film Festival director Sheila Whitaker.

Despite separating
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Chen Kaige’s ‘Demon Cat’ Picked Up by Moonstone, Emperor (Exclusive)

Moonstone Entertainment and Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Pictures will share sales duties on “Legend of the Demon Cat,” the latest film from Palme d’Or winning Chinese director Chen Kaige.

A period action drama, the film sees a Chinese poet and a Japanese monk join forces to investigate the influence of a demonic cat, which has possessed a general’s wife, wreaked havoc on the royal court and killed legendary courtesan Yang Guifei. The film, originally presented under the title “Kukai,” is adapted from a bestselling four-volume novel about love, death and revenge by Yumemakura Baku.

The film is structured as a Japan-China co-production involving China’s New Classics Media and Japan’s Kadokawa. Hong Kong’s Emperor boarded later. The international cast is headed by Sometani Shota and Huang Xuan, as well as Keiko Matsuzaka (“The Happiness of the Katakuris”).

International sales are split. Emperor is handling South Asia,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

9 Cannes Film Festival Game-Changers Now Streaming

9 Cannes Film Festival Game-Changers Now Streaming
Editor’s Note: This article is presented in partnership with FilmStruck. The exclusive streaming home for The Criterion Collection, FilmStruck features the largest streaming library of contemporary and classic arthouse, indie, foreign and cult films as well as extensive bonus content, filmmaker interviews and rare footage. Learn more here.

Throughout its 70 year history, the Cannes Film Festival has been at the forefront of game-changing cinema. New directorial voices and international film movements have all used the festival as a launch pad to global recognition. If a film or artist has shaped cinema over the last seven decades, chances are they’ve been the toast of Cannes at least once. Many of these historic Cannes titles are streaming exclusively on FilmStruck, and we gathered up 10 of our favorites you need to watch below.

“Rome, Open City”

The first Cannes Film Festival was originally set for September 1939, but World War II caused a seven-year delay.
See full article at Indiewire »

Kung Fu legends: The Venom Mob

Craig Lines Dec 14, 2016

The legendary Venom Mob never became kung fu cinema stars as individuals. But as a group? Let us tell their story...

A film critic, an accountant, an orphan and three opera students take on the martial arts world. It sounds like a plot from a crazy kung fu film in itself but, incredibly, forms the basis for the real life story of the legendary Venom Mob...

In 1970s Hong Kong, the film industry was driven by star power. Most of the big names were at some point contracted to Shaw Brothers and actors like Alexander Fu Sheng, Jimmy Wang Yu, Gordon Liu or Ti Lung could always guarantee a crowd. As daring as certain elements of classic Hong Kong cinema still feel, the studios were rarely willing to take risks when it came to the stars, believing that audiences just wouldn't show up if they didn't recognise the name on the marquee.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Philip Lee to Revive ‘The 19th Step,’ Launch Paul Haggis Trilogy (Exclusive)

Philip Lee, a producer who straddles China and Hollywood, is on board to produce an Indian martial arts film and a trilogy of movies by “Million Dollar Baby,” and “Crash” writer Paul Haggis.

Lee, who was associate producer on “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and executive producer on “Cloud Atlas,” “The Revenant,” and “Assassin’s Creed,” recently teamed with Hollywood financier Markus Barmettler to launch production venture Facing East. He spoke to Variety after delivering a master class in Goa at the recent Film Bazaar.

“The 19th Step” is a project that was previously announced in 2008 with Indian filmmaker Bharat Bala to direct. The film will be based on the ancient Indian martial art Kalaripayattu that later evolved into Oriental martial arts like Kung Fu.

The film was due to star India’s Kamal Haasan, Asin, and Japan’s Tadanobu Asano but eventually fell through due to what Lee describes as “stupid reasons.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Stills from “The Legend of the Demon Cat” Released

Based on the popular Japanese novel ‘Shamon Kuukai’, Chinese-Japanese collaborative film “The Legend of the Demon Cat” has released gorgeous stills of the fantasy movie set in the Tang Dynasty era.

This latest offering from acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige (best known for “The Emperor and the Assassin” (1998), and “Farewell My Concubine” (1993)) stars young Japanese actor Shota Sometani, Liu Haoran, Kitty Zhang, Huang Xuan and Zhang Rongrong. The supernatural film tells the tale of the mysterious killings that take place in the capital city of Chang’an after the appearance of a talking cat. Shortly after, a monk and a poet decide to work together to unearth the truth that leads tozhang a shocking revelation.

In the movie stills released by the film’s production company Emperor Motion Pictures, the major characters are revealed, together with the impressive backdrop of scenery and props that were painstakingly customised for the movie.
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Walter Salles, Vincent Maraval pay tribute to Don Ranvaud

  • ScreenDaily
Walter Salles, Vincent Maraval pay tribute to Don Ranvaud
Friends of Don Ranvaud remember the recently passed producer-sales agent-academic. “He was guided by ideals in a world where this is becoming rarer,” Salles tells Geoffrey Macnab.

Don Ranvaud was one of the most colourful figures on the international film circuit, a globe-trotting producer-sales agent-journalist-academic whose methods were sometimes chaotic but who inspired enormous affection and loyalty. Following his death last weekend, figures from across the industry have paid tribute to him.

Don was a passionate, inspiring friend, and all of us who had the privilege to collaborate with him in Brazil are shocked and saddened by his disappearance,” director Walter Salles told Screen. “Don’s whole life revolved around cinema, and it is telling that he passed away in a film festival [Ranvaud suffered a hear attack at the Montreal Film Festival on September 5].

“What interested him was the humanity in films, what we could learn from the story and its characters. Don was vital for Central Station coming to life, as well as
See full article at ScreenDaily »

An Appreciation: Donald Ranvaud, A True Man of the Cinema

An Appreciation: Donald Ranvaud, A True Man of the Cinema
Sunday morning, I woke up to some terrible news. One of my oldest friends, comrades and fellow travelers, someone who not only moved and touched me deeply as a beautiful human being but whose opinions, views and philosophy hugely shaped my own views on life, cinema, art and many other things, had suddenly passed away.

Donald Ranvaud and I were both in Montreal at the film festival, me with a film in competition, he on the jury. He went to bed Saturday promising to call me in the morning to schedule dinner Sunday when his jury deliberations were over. He never made it to the jury meeting.

Don was a genuine uomo universale. He wrote for a number of international journals and newspapers, and taught English and comparative literary studies at British universities with passion and a childlike ability to approach almost any problem from an oblique perspective that allowed
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Producer Donald Ranvaud, Who Made Movies on Four Continents, Dies at 62

Producer Donald Ranvaud, Who Made Movies on Four Continents, Dies at 62
British film producer Donald Ranvaud, who made movies on four continents, including the Oscar-nominated “City of God,” died Monday in Montreal while attending the World Film Festival there as a juror. He was 62.

Ranvaud, considered an innovator on the global independent film circuit, was found dead in his hotel room on the last day of the festival. The cause was reportedly a heart attack.

Born in Florence, Italy, in 1953, Ranvaud taught English and comparative literature at the University of Warwick and the University of East Anglia and also had a distinguished career as a film journalist for Sight and Sound and Cahiers du Cinema, among other publications, before becoming a producer in the late 1980s.

In 1988, he set up the European Script fund with actress Renee Goddard as part of the then-nascent Media Program of the Commission of the European Community. A year later, he became a pioneering full-time producer in far-flung countries,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Catherine Deneuve to Receive the 2016 Lumière Award

Catherine Deneuve to Receive the 2016 Lumière Award
Paris — Legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve will receive the 8th Lumière Award at France’s 2016 Lumière Grand Lyon Film Festival, a unique event which focuses near totally on film classics.

Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodovar and Martin Scorsese figure among past recipients of the Lumière Award. They all travelled to Lyon to pick up the award, granted by Lyon’s Institut Lumière, run by French director Bertrand Tavernier and Cannes head Thierry Fremaux.

“This year’s Lumière Award goes to Catherine Deneuve for what she is, has done, says, acts, sings and delights from time immemorial and forever,” the Institut Lumière said Monday in a press statement.

“The face of French cinema,” according to Scorsese, Deneuve’s career is remarkable for its longevity, great films, the directors she has worked with, and the contrasting facets of a figure which confounds easy categorisation.

Deneuve began making films before France’s Nouvelle Vague,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes Report, Day 11: For a Change, Women Dominate the Palme d’Or Race

Cannes Report, Day 11: For a Change, Women Dominate the Palme d’Or Race
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.
See full article at The Wrap »

Close-Up on "Farewell My Concubine": A Spectacular Ode to Life, Love, and Art

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,
See full article at MUBI »

Cannes Gossip: Will ‘American Honey’ Win the Palme d’Or?

Cannes Gossip: Will ‘American Honey’ Win the Palme d’Or?
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,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Interview: Sophia Wong Boccio of Asian Pop-Up Cinema on Closing-Night Gala on May 20, 2016

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
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Tribeca Film Review: ‘First Monday in May’

Tribeca Film Review: ‘First Monday in May’
Cultures collide in “First Monday in May,” a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2015 exhibition “China: Through the Looking Glass” and its premiere courtesy of the Anna Wintour-spearheaded Met Gala. With considerable access to these twin productions, director Andrew Rossi charts the clash between a variety of old and new world forces. Eventually less an in-depth investigation than a superficial celebration of disparate styles, it’s a tribute to the Met — and especially its star Costume Institute curator, Andrew Bolton — that should fit discerning audiences like a finely tailored glove after its premiere as the opening night selection of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

“It’s a kind of theater … fashion can create a dream, create a fantasy,” opines Wintour at the opening of “First Monday in May” — named after the date of the Met Gala. Such fanciful inventiveness is at the
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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