5 items from 2007
Despite the risque subject matter and long running time, distributor CJ Entertainment gave "Lust, Caution" a fairly wide release, with just over 300 screens.
Lee's previous film, "Brokeback Mountain", had a much smaller release, earning around US$1.3 million in a four-week run.
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was Lee's most successful movie in Korea, taking in about US$5 million in 2000. »
SAN RAFAEL, California -- The tribute to filmmaker Ang Lee at the Mill Valley Film Festival Friday evening was something of a homecoming for the Oscar winning director of Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. When Lee brought out his first film, Pushing Hands, in 1992, Mill Valley "was the only place in the world that would show my film," Lee told the audience. "Even Sundance turned it down."
Then again, in 1997, Mill Valley screened his The Ice Storm when he was still a virtually unknown director. When he finally returned to Marin County several years later to live for the better part of a year while doing special visual effects at ILM for The Hulk, he was world famous, having made the most successful Chinese-language film ever with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Lee's latest film, Lust, Caution, an intense psycho-sexual drama set in Japanese-occupied China during World War II -- which has opened to significant boxoffice in Asia, especially Taiwan and Hong Kong, but divided Western critics so far -- opened the festival the night before, kicking off Mill Valley's 30th anniversary celebration.
So his love of the area and of its festival, one of the key regional festivals in the country, was unmistakable, as was the emotional response to his work by a packed house.
Between film clips from his 10 feature films, Lee took the audience through the cultural and cinematic education of a Taiwanese man who has become a major international moviemaker.
Lee spent the first 23 years of his life in his native country, including college and military service. "I was culturally rooted and I didn't speak English," he noted. "I didn't learn to speak English until after 'Sense and Sensibility. I felt sorry for the actors I had to direct."
His initial love affair was with the theater, not film. Standing on stage, facing an audience for the first time, an experience he re-creates in Lust, Caution, thrilled him. There was also, he pointed out, no filmmaking tradition in Taiwan at the time.
Coming to New York and not knowing English well, he knew he could not act so he moved into directing. In delving into Western stage drama, he had to break with his own cultural biases. »
Actress Michelle Yeoh is ecstatic after she was awarded the French Legion of Honor in her native Malaysia. The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star was presented with the knighthood - France's highest civilian honor - by Alain de Boispean, the French ambassador to Malaysia, in the country's capital of Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. And 45-year-old Yeoh is stunned by the accolade. She says, "Deep down I am a small town girl... who has been living a magical dream." »
NEW YORK -- Dori Begley has joined Magnolia Pictures in the newly created position of director of acquisitions.
Begley will report to longtime head of acquisitions Tom Quinn in the company's New York headquarters. She arrives at Magnolia after serving as manager of acquisitions at Sony Pictures Classics from 2000-07 and most recently as associate programr for the Tribeca Film Festival.
"I've known (Dori) for some time and have always wanted to work with her in some capacity," Quinn said. "She brings a breadth of experience and talent which will enable us to be a more proactive buyer as we continue to grow."
Begley said: "Magnolia's infectious passion is unparalleled in this business. As the industry evolves, their dynamic model makes it a very exciting place to be. I couldn't be more thrilled to come on board."
Lionsgate has come aboard as domestic distributor of the action epic The Forbidden Kingdom, which it will co-release in the U.S. with the Weinstein Co. The film marks the first onscreen pairing of martial arts stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li. The project had previously been referred to as the untitled J&J project.
Principal photography is scheduled to begin May 2 in China. Rob Minkoff will direct from an original screenplay by John Fusco that is based on the Chinese legend of the Monkey King. The film's producer is Casey Silver of Casey Silver Prods. Relativity Media is financing the film, with the company's Ryan Kavanaugh serving as executive producer. Action choreographer Wo Ping is creating the fight sequences, and the director of photography is Peter Pau, who won an Academy Award for the cinematography in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
5 items from 2007
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