Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) - News Poster


John Woo to direct 'Manhunt' remake

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John Woo to direct 'Manhunt' remake
John Woo is to direct a remake of action thriller Manhunt, based on a novel by Japanese writer Juko Nishimura, for Hong Kong-based Media Asia Films.

The novel, Kimi Yo Funnu No Kawa O Watare, was first adapted in 1976 as a Japanese film starring legendary actor Ken Takakura, who passed away last year. It was the first foreign film released in China after the Cultural Revolution.

The story follows a prosecutor who is framed for robbery and rape and sets out on a one-man mission to clear his name. Media Asia acquired the rights to the original novel from Japanese publisher Tokuma Shoten Publishing.

Woo has been a huge fan of Takakura since watching him in Yasuo Furuhata’s 1983 Station. In 2005, the Japanese actor worked with Chinese director Zhang Yimou, starring in Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles.

“When I found out that John was a huge fan of the late Ken Takakura, I immediately
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Biography of Zhang Yimou Reveals Scandalous Underbelly of Chinese Film

Biography of Zhang Yimou Reveals Scandalous Underbelly of Chinese Film
An unusual kiss-and-tell style biography of Zhang Yimou portrays the leading Chinese director as stubborn yet credulous and manipulable, lousy at personal communication, and a victim of emotional blackmail.

The book, “Fate: Zhang Yimou the Lonely,” written by his script consultant of 16 years, Zhou Xiaofeng, makes allegations that are tougher still about Zhang Weiping (no relation), Zhang Yimou’s producer for over a decade.

Zhou claims that Zhang Weiping preyed on the director’s many flaws to position himself as Zhang Yimou’s savior for a period between 1997 film “Keep Cool” through to 2012 wartime melodrama “The Flowers of War,” after which their relationship ended.

Zhou says that Zhang Weiping disguised third-party investments in a string of movies as his own equity and lied about budgets in order to avoid paying dividends and salaries. Zhang Weiping invested RMB128 million ($20.8 million) in “Flowers” instead of the RMB650 million ($107 million at current exchange rates) he publicly stated,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Rest in Peace: Ken Takakura (1931-2014) and Bunta Sugawara (1933-2014)

In November 2014 Japanese Cinema lost two of its greatest: Ken Takakura and Bunta Sugawara. Since both legendary actors have had a great impact on the world of Japanese film and have starred in countless classic productions, I felt the need to write a short article about the matter and salute these two great actors.

On the 10th of November 2014, Ken Takakura passed away at the age of 83. He was known as the “Japanese Clint Eastwood”. Starting his career in 1955, Takakura became mostly known for his portrayal of tough but disciplined gangsters in the 1960s and 1970s. Most famous of these films is his performance as gangster Shinichi Tachibana in the Abashiri Prison series (1965-1972). This lead to him eventually working together with Sydney Pollack for the film The Yakuza (1974), his first international production.

But it wasn’t until 1989 before Takakura became internationally known by playing alongside Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Japanese Actor Ken Takakura Dies at 83

Japanese Actor Ken Takakura Dies at 83
Ken Takakura, who first rose to stardom in the 1960s playing yakuza outlaws, but later became Hollywood’s go-to actor for made-in-Japan films, died on Nov. 10 at age 83 of malignant lymphoma. A private funeral had already been held when the Japanese media broke the story today.

The legendary actor most recently starred in “Dearest” and Zhang Yimou’s “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles.” Western audiences best know Takakura for his roles in Ridley Scott’s “Black Rain” and 1992′s “Mr. Baseball.”

Born on Feb. 16, 1931 in Fukuoka, Japan, Takakura entered the Toei studio in 1955 after graduating from Meiji University. His breakout role was as an escaped prisoner in Teruo Ishii’s 1965 hit “Abashiri Prison,” which was loosely based on Stanley Kramer’s 1958 “The Defiant Ones.” The film spawned a long-running series, while Takakura churned out hit after hit for Toei in the remainder of the decade and beyond. Usually playing
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes Film Review: ‘Coming Home’

Cannes Film Review: ‘Coming Home’
Filmmaking doesn’t get more traditional or timeless than Chinese master Zhang Yimou’s “Coming Home,” a family drama of guilt, love and reconciliation set during the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution. Heartbreaking in its depiction of ordinary lives affected by political upheaval, this ode to the fundamental values that survive even under such dire circumstances has an epic gravity that recalls another great historical romance, “Doctor Zhivago.” While younger viewers may find Zhang’s classical style and grungy period backdrop too unfashionable to engage, the film’s rich melodramatic thrust has opened the floodgates for domestic audiences, grossing nearly $19.6 million in five days. Sony Classics will release the film Stateside.

Coming Home” is adapted from the novel “The Criminal Lu Yanshi” by American-based novelist Yan Geling, whose “The 13 Flowers of Nanjing” was adapted into Zhang’s “The Flowers of War.” While Yan’s fiction traced Lu’s life from
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Zhang Yimou’s ‘Coming Home’ Gets Stunning Teaser

Zhang Yimou’s latest offering, Coming Home, looks to be a very powerful and unforgettable film, and that’s based solely on this subtle and moving teaser trailer. Yimou, director of Hero, House Of Flying Daggers, Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles and The Road Home, has had a very prolific career where he has mixed martial arts with calm dramas, and even found time for a Blood Simple remake in the form of A Woman, A Gun And A Noodle Shop.

His latest stars Gong Li and Chen Daoming. Chen stars a husband forced into marriage, who soon escapes to America, only to return to face his family and the consequences. Coming Home is all set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and will hopefully get international distribution soon after. The use of simple but stunning shots, backed up by a beautiful piano score, have placed this high on my Watch List.
See full article at The Hollywood 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 »

Steven Spielberg Eyes China Pic With Zhang Yimou — Report

Steven Spielberg Eyes China Pic With Zhang Yimou — Report
Steven Spielberg is reported to be interested in working with Chinese director Zhang Yimou on an international Chinese film.

“I would like to make a movie in China with my dear friend,” Spielberg reportedly told China’s official newspaper China Daily in a phone interview. “We would work together on an international film that could take place in China.”

Zhang, director of “Raise The Red Lantern” and “Hero,” is currently said to be eyeing “Quasimodo,” an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” as a musical film for Warner Bros., among other projects.

However, Zhang recently signed up as artistic director of LeVision Pictures, the movie production arm of Chinese online video group LeTV, and is also moving ahead with Chinese movie projects.

China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film & Television (Sapprft) recently approved the screenplay for “歸來” (a project which has no
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Trailer Debut for Gao Xiaosong’s Martial Arts Flick My Kingdom

You can’t go wrong when screen legends Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao are in a picture together. You just can’t. Director Gao Xiaosong’s upcoming period actioner “My Kingdom” — which is penned by “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles” scribe Zou Jingzhi — looks pretty damn cool, even if the aforementioned actors only have supporting roles. But why take my word for it? Take a few minutes out of you busy scheduled and spend some time gawking at the preview for a spiffy new kung fu movie. It might make your day that much brighter. Here’s what it’s all about: In the closing days of the 19th century, the Prince Regent of the crumbling Qing Dynasty orders the mass execution of the entire Meng clan. Before his beheading in a crowded Beijing marketplace, the Meng clan leader vows that his family will avenge this travesty of justice.
See full article at Beyond Hollywood »

Music Video and Making-of Video For The Lost Bladesman

As the release date is approaching near, more promotional material to Alan Mak & Felix Chong's biographical martial arts film The Lost Bladesman has turned up via Mtime in the form of a music video and a behind-the-scenes video. The theme song, performed by Tan Jing is entitled "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles" (千里走单骑).During the warring period of the three kingdoms, ancient China is in turmoil. To unify the country general Cao Cao, the real power behind the emperor, enlists the aid of the greatest warrior in the land Guan Yun Chang (Donnie Yen). However, Guan Yun Chang is a loyal friend of Cao Cao's enemy Liu Bei. To persuade the peerless warrior to fight, Cao Cao takes his beloved Qi Lan (Sun Li)...
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Modern Maestros: Zhang Yimou

Robert here, with another entry in my series about great contemporary directors.

Maestro: Zhang Yimou

Known For: films about the lives of women in China and more recently wuxia epics.

Influences: American Noir, Chinese fantasy and mythology

Masterpieces: Raise the Red Lantern

Disasters: none

Better than you remember: If you're among those who think his recent films aren't as good as his older ones, you might be right, but if you think they're bad, then I'd say they fall into this category.

Box Office: 53 mil for Hero

Favorite Actor: the beautiful, ravishing, talented Gong Li

It's entirely possible that Zhang Yimou's greatest achievement of the past ten years had nothing to do with film. He garnered his largest audience and highest place on the world stage for directing the Opening Ceremonies to the Olympic Games. Those who saw the spectacle were blown away by the beauty and artistry. Those who
See full article at FilmExperience »

First Trailer For Zhang Yimou's The Love Of The Hawthorn Tree

After the big budget bombast of Hero, The House Of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower it would appear that Zhang Yimou is well and truly back to being himself. And when being yourself means being the director of some of the most sensitive and compelling relationship dramas of your generation, well, that's a pretty good thing to be.

Yes, Yimou had one more typical film - the excellent Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles - tucked in the midst of his big budget trio but he's lived a rather odd life since, first coordinating the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics and then making a sort of Chinese opera inspired remake of the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple.

In that context it's hard not to see The Love Of The Hawthorn Tree as a deliberate return to roots, both in style and in roots, with the film being
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

THR Indie nod to SPC chiefs at Sundance

THR Indie nod to SPC chiefs at Sundance
Sony Pictures Classics co-presidents Tom Bernard and Michael Barker will be the recipients of The Hollywood Reporter's inaugural Indie Mogul Award, to be presented next month at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

The award was created to recognize the continued growth of the independent film arena and to celebrate the achievements of prominent executives with a reputation for producing and releasing quality indie features.

Bernard and Barker, 25-year veterans of the indie sector, have built a reputation in the industry as the chief purveyors of high-profile films and enjoy ongoing relationships with some of cinema's most respected auteurs.

This year, the executives have backed an eclectic slate that includes such critically acclaimed pictures as Germany's The Lives of Others, China's Curse of the Golden Flower and Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles and Spain's Volver, and they continue to prove that, with the right business model, there's money to be made on foreign-language product.

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