Friday, September 30, 2005

Review: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress !

BY ROGER EBERT / September 30, 2005. Rate: **+1/2*

"Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" is artfully designed to appeal to lovers of romance and books, but by the end of the film I was not convinced it knew much about either. The romance is sincere but lacking in passion, and the books have the strange result of sending the heroine away from both men who love her, and toward an unknown future in the big city.

The story takes place in 1971, when two city boys are sent to a remote mountain area to be "re-educated" under the Cultural Revolution. Luo (Kun Chen) confesses to the Village Chief that his father is a "reactionary dentist" who committed the sin of once treating Chiang Kai-shek. Ma (Ye Liu) is the child of intellectuals. Enough said. In the rural vastness, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, they stagger up a mountain side with barrels of waste, and work in a copper mine.

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The Seamstress (Xun Zhou) is transformed when two young men introduce her to forbidden Western books in "Balzac and the Little Chinese Princess."

The Chief (Shuangbao Wang) takes a hard line at first. He goes through the young men's possessions, throwing a cookbook into the fire because in the village they will not eat bourgeois chicken, but proletarian cabbage and corn. Ma has a violin, which the Chief thinks is a toy until Ma begins to play Mozart. Everyone in the village is enchanted by the music, which the Chief allows after being informed the composition is in honor of Chairman Mao. Nearby lives the Little Seamstress (Xun Zhou), with her ancient grandfather the Tailor (Cong Zhijun). The boys are attracted to her beauty and grace, and Luo courts her while Ma feels the same way

The movie has been co-written and directed by Sijie Dai, based on his own best seller, in which the young men find a cache of forbidden Western books and read them aloud to the Seamstress. They also teach her to read and write. The novels are by Balzac, Dumas and Flaubert, whose Madame Bovary perhaps inspires the seamstress to one day leave the village and set out alone to walk to the city. The boys protest, passively and let her go. To be sure, by this time she's been through harrowing experiences and is no longer the innocent we first met, but still: Is this a success story about literacy, or a failure to communicate?

Some of my favorite episodes from the novel are well visualized in the movie, including the way Luo and Ma travel to a nearby town, watch Korean films and return to describe them to the villagers with great drama (making up most of the details). There's also the drama of Luo's sudden departure for the city, and an emergency that Ma helps the Seamstress to survive. But somehow the principal characters seem oddly remote from their own lives. We're not sure what literature means to them (aside from the sentimental assumption that it is redemptive). And we're not sure how deep the love between Luo and the Seamstress can possibly be, considering the way they eventually part.

When the movie violently yanks us 20 years into the future for the epilogue, it is an unsatisfactory one in which one character shows his video footage of how the mountain district was flooded after a new dam was built, but the two men are never really clear about their feelings for the Seamstress or each other. There should have been more urgency at the time, more powerful memories afterward, and less complacency about the way the Seamstress disappears from the story.

I do believe that books are redemptive. I believe that no child is without hope who can read and has access to books and the time to read them. That alone can change a life. But in "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" the city boys go through the motions of transforming the Seamstress through books, without the how and why. What does she think -- do any of them think -- about the strange foreign worlds described by Balzac and the others?

I am reminded of the scene in Truffaut's "The 400 Blows" where the young hero has a shrine to Balzac; Seamstress has a sort of shrine, too, a hidden grotto, but without Truffaut's perception about how his character changes. And after some initial hardships, the lives of the boys seem to become easier, and filled with free time; there's no sense that the Village Chief represents a real danger to them, and a scene where Luo treats his tooth is badly acted and seems awkward. The elements in the story push all the right buttons, but the buttons don't seem to be wired to anything.

Source: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com

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Love triangle in Perhaps Love !

Brilliant! That is the early buzzword surrounding Peter Chan Ho Sun’s latest directorial effort Perhaps Love (Ru Guo Ai). So brilliant in fact that the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong has voted it as Hong Kong’s entry to the 78th Annual Academy Awards in the best foreign language film category, beating Sammi Cheng’s Everlasting Regret (Chang Hen Ge) and Jackie Chan’s The Myth (Shen Hua) for the honour.

Earlier, it was reported on website CRI Online that Chan had declined invitations to five international film festivals. He explained that since Perhaps Love is not an art movie there was no need to attend film festivals to promote it. His sight was instead set on the Oscar race.

Perhaps Love has been garnering a lot of attention since its first press screening at the prestigious 62nd Venice Film Festival. For one, it was picked by festival chairman Marco Mueller to close the festival, after having only watched 40 minutes of the then unfinished movie in Beijing.

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Zhou Xun plays actress Sun Na in the film.

When asked why he chose the movie, Mueller put it down to the movie’s unique musical score.

But more than that, the Mandarin movie is the first Chinese musical to be produced in four decades and it also boasts of an impressive line-up of Who’s Who from cast to crew.

There is director Chan, best known for his critically acclaimed romantic comedy Comrades, Almost A Love Story, producer Andre Morgan (Million Dollar Baby), Oscar-winning cinematographer Peter Pau (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), scriptwriters Aubrey Lam and Raymond To (one of Hong Kong’s leading playwrights), celebrated art director Yee Chung Man, international kung fu action director Tung Wei, music composers Peter Kam and Leon Ko, renowned Bollywood dance choreographer Farah Khan (according to Chan, Chinese people don’t dance, which is why he turned to Bollywood), Asian heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro (House of Flying Daggers), Hong Kong Heavenly King Jacky Cheung, dreamy Chinese actress Zhou Xun (The Little Chinese Seamstress and Suzhou River) and South Korean dreamboat Ji Jin-hee (Jewel in the Palace).

The US$10mil (RM38mil) film, which is funded by Astro Shaw and Television Broadcast Limited (TVB), and distributed worldwide by Celestial Pictures, was shot in Beijing and Shanghai. It is filled with fabulous set designs, breathtaking circus performances and mesmerising Broadway-style musical numbers.

Perhaps Love is a movie-within-a-movie, featuring a love triangle that parallels the actors’ lives. Switching between contemporary China and the decadent 1930s, the film opens with the story of film student Lin Jian Dong (played by Kaneshiro) who falls for Sun Na (Zhou). Sun, however, valuing her career more, gives up the relationship.

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Takeshi Kaneshiro in a scene from Perhaps Love.

A decade later, Sun becomes a leading movie star with the help of her lover, renowned director Nie Wen (Cheung). Lin has also become a star in his own right. Fate reunites them. They star in a musical about a love triangle, directed by Nie. Ji, portraying a modern Cupid, narrates the story.

While the media has branded the lavish musical as China’s version of Chicago, Chan has a different view.

In an interview with news agency AFP, he said Perhaps Love is a variation of a love story rather than a musical.

And unlike Moulin Rouge and Chicago, the actors only sing when cameras start rolling for the musical Nie is making.

Viewers will hear all four leads working their vocal chords in the film. While Zhou and Ji (who sings in Mandarin) are not singers by training, unlike Cheung and Kaneshiro (who sings for the first time in a decade), Chan is not the least bit worried.

Perhaps Love will be released in Malaysia on Dec 8.

By LI EE KEE - www.star-ecentral.com

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"Perhaps Love" clears its way to Oscar !

2005-09-27 - Director Peter Chan's musical movie "Perhaps Love" edged out Jackie Chan's "The Myth" and Stanley Kwan's "Everlasting Love" to become Hong Kong's official entry for the Oscar best foreign film award, an industry association announced Tuesday.

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The movie was chosen in a vote by the 11 directors of the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong.

"Perhaps Love" features an international cast and crew including Hong Kong pop star Jacky Cheung, South Korean actor Ji Jin-hee, Taiwanese-Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro and Chinese actress Zhou Xun. It was shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Peter Pau and choreographed by Bollywood's Farah Khan, informes the AP.

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(From L to R) Zhou Xun, Jacky Cheung, director Peter Chan, unknwon

According to monkeypeaches.com , Chen Kaige's mega budget fantasy epic The Promise / Wu Ji, Peter Chan's musical Perhaps Love and Tsai Ming-Liang's erotic musical The Wayward Cloud will represent China (the mainland), Hong Kong and Taiwan to bid for the Best Foreign Language Film of the coming Academy Awards. The Promise / Wu Ji won the privilege by beating such films like the highly appraised Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, Cannes winner Shanghai Dreams, Silver Berlin Bear winner Peacock and Letters from an Unknown Woman. In Hong Kong, Perhaps Love is favored over Jackie Chan's latest action The Myth and Stanley Kwan's Everlasting Regret, and in Taiwan, The Wayward Cloud wins without competitors.

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Zhou Xun and Takeshi Kaneshiro in "Perhaps Love"

source: http://newsfromrussia.com/culture/2005/09/27/63803.html .
Sina, sohu and monkeypeaches.com also announced this news

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Monday, September 26, 2005

A Dreamlike Orange Story!

In a melancholy and dreamy style, Oranges Have Ripened tells a tragic love story in a noble family at a time when individuality and love are suffocated by the rigid rules of the feudal society. Xiuhe, a peasant girl, is married to the master of a family to become his concubine, under his wife's arrangement. But she soon finds herself passionately attracted to her master's brother. Every character in this story is plagued by suppressed love and the responsibility for the family wears heavily on their shoulders.



Zhou Xun portrays the innocent and intelligent peasant's daughter, Xiuhe. Her appearance and previous performance have left positive impressions on viewers. Most agree that she is the right choice of actress to play Xiuhe, the poor girl with a love dilemma. Nevertheless, she doesn't think it was an easy job. She couldn't help bursting into tears when she reviewed the edited shots, remembering how difficult performing this role had been.

Xiuhe's admirer is portrayed by Huang Lei, a young actor with a strong intellectual style, best known for his excellent reincarnation of Xu Zhimo, the famous poet from the 1930s. the literary figure shares a similarity with the young brother in this drama, who also pursues liberation and free love.

Ironically, despite fame, power and status, the family patriarch is actually a weak man in character. Kou Shixun plays the elder brother, a challenge he willingly embraced with his rich experience.

The actress who plays the master's wife, Gui Yalei, is an ever£­green tree in the drama industry. A former Golden Horse best actress award£­winner, this experienced Taiwanese actress showed outstanding character control to reincarnate the ways of a complex woman who wants to retrieve her love through another young woman.



In a subdued tone, the story described these people who pursues love in vain. Their emotions are ambiguous, and their way of revealing true feelings vague, with a touch of poetry, one of the most distinguished trademarks of Director Li Shaohong, which he also demonstrated to great effect in The Palace of Desire.

Another characteristic of Li is the picturesque beauty of his scenes. The drama chose a town near Suzhou as its outdoor set, with beautiful views of river, and most importantly, with orange groves over the hills. The crew bought several thousand kilos of oranges, and then hung them in the trees one by one, to shoot the harvesting time sequences. In the drama, ripened oranges are a symbol of matured young women.

Besides the scenery, the drama's picturesque style is also reflected in the costumes and cosmetics. The designer Ye Jintian, won an Oscar for best artistic director for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The final result is superb. Zhou Xun and Gui Yelei put on so many elaborately designed dresses that the drama has also become a fashion show for Qing costumes.

Editor:Guan CCTV.com

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Oranges Have Ripened !

Information
Director: Li Shaohong
Cast:
Kou ShiXun as Mr. Rong
Gui YaLei as Ms. Rong
Zhou Xun as XiuHe
Huang Lei as YaoHui
Released in:2000
Award: ZhouXun - Favorite Actress at the '2001 Chinese Lunar New Year TV Series Award

Poster

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Plot
This story took place in a southern town during the Qing Dynasty. Mrs. Rong and the farm rentor XiuHe represent traditional female figures who resist the feudal wedding system through their own experiences.

Since Ms. Rong was infertile, she was ignored by her husband who left her in a tangerine farm. In order to bring her husband back, she decided to let XiuHe, a girl who looked like her in her youth, marry into the Rong family. If XiuHe could give birth to a child for the Rong family, then Ms. Rong's dream of having her husband beside her forever would come true.

YaoHui, the cousin of Ms. Rong's husband, acted as the groom at the wedding. However, YaoHui fell in love with XiuHe the moment her head veil was lifted ... Since then, everything advanced following a way which led Ms. Rong to despair. Everyone was suffering dilemmas which made the story reach its climax.

Ms. Rong finally awakened. She was determined to help XiuHe to pursue her own happiness, and not be sacrificed for feudal ethics.

News: none

Review:
- A Dreamlike Orange Story!

Picture: none

source: http://zhouxun.info/en/text/tf_t.html

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Night Banquet's Opening Ceremony !

Five days ago, ceremony for the beginning of the production of The Night Banquet (Ye Yan) was held on the set north of Beijing city. The ceremony was simple. Some picture in that event

Click the links for more picture: One , Two



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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Perhaps Love's Clip

I'm not sure this clip is OFFICIAL TRAILER or not. It was post in a Korean site, not in official site of Perhaps Love .... Let enjoy it now : mms://media1.maxmovie.com/av/Maxcrossroad.wmv
Credit to: http://maxmovie.com and http://www.twitchfilm.net/


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Summer



"Summer" is the first album of Zhou Xun, It was released in 2002. With two single Odyssey for Love & Watching the Sea, exacting from Summer , she won the Best Promising Singer Award of CCTV - MTV Grand Awards in 2002.


The cover of Summer (source yesasia.com)

Download the album: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?wkjymzi4tmm (upload by mylove @ zhouxun.chungta.com)


Summer consists of 10 songs (List songs isn't in order on album)
1. Wings
2. Watching sea
3. Happy flower garden
4. Green
5. Tonight
6. Fate
7. Spring
8. Camp-fire
9. Colors of life
10. From tomorrow

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Come Across !

Download the album: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?qtjy52vq2jm (upload by mylove @ zhouxun.chungta.com)

The second album of Zhou Xun, an actress-turned-singer from the Chinese mainland, has had a successful debut, with orders rocketing to 300,000.


The cover of the album "Come Across"

"Come Across", which took Zhou two years to complete, is Zhou's second album. The new album shows Zhou's gratitude toward life, her fans and her boyfriend.

Zhou used a picture of herself without any makeup for the cover of the album, which was reportedly a suggestion from Li. It was a very bold decision, as most singers go to great lengths to come up with special images for their album covers.

The album also includes some pictures Zhou took on her world tour last year as well as an essay she wrote.

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Zhou Xun's Awards



2009
- "One of 10 Chinese outstanding women", award sponsored by Chinese Women's Federation, Sina, Cartier, Yangguang media group ...

- "Best actress" in the 2009 Asian Film Awards, for the role Li Mi in "The Equation of Love and Death".

- "Best movie actress" in the 2nd Performance Grand Ceremony.

- "Best actress" in the 16 Beijing student film festival.

- "Artist of the Year" in the 3rd Asia Pacific Network (APN) Awards.

- "Best actress" for the role Li Mi in "The Equation of Love and Death", Shanghai Film Critics Association Awards.

- "Best actress" in the 9th Chinese Film Media Awards, for the role Li Mi in "The Equation of Love and Death".

2008
- "Actress of the Year" in the 3rd Chinese Student Festival Awards.

- "Star of the Year" Sohu awards.

2007
- "Best supporting actress" in the 26th Hong Kong Film Awards , for the role Qing Nu in "The Banquet".

- "Best supporting actress" in The 12th Golden Bauhinia Awards, for the role Qing Nu in "The Banquet".

- "Most style actress" in 2007 ELLE Style Awards.

2006
- "Best actress" in the 12th Hong Kong Film Critics Society, for the role Sun Na in "Perhaps Love".

- "The omnipotent artist" the 13th East Music Awards.

- "Best actress" in the 25th Hong Kong Film Awards, for the role Sun Na in "Perhaps Love".

- "Most popular actress" in the 13th BeiJing Student Film Festival, for the role Sun Na in "Perhaps Love".

-"Best actress" in the 11th Golden Bauhinia Awards, for the role Sun Na in "Perhaps Love".

- "Most favorite actress" in 2006 HangZhou Student Film Festival, for the role Sun Na in "Perhaps Love".

- "Most promising artist" in Asia in the 11th Korea Pusan International Film Festival.

- "Fashion actress" in Mainland China in 2006 China Fashion Awards.

- "Most stunning actress" in 2006 MingPao Daily Achievement Awards.

- "Best actress" in the 43rd Golden Horse Film Festival, for the role Sun Na in "Perhaps Love".

- "Best actress" in the 14th Asia Film Fair Awards.

- "The omnipotent female artist" in Asia Pacific Area in 2006 Sprite - China Original Music Pop Charts.

2005
- "Best actress" in the 1st China Movie Director Association Concert Awards, for the role Baober in "Baober in Love".

- "Most popular female singer" in Mainland China in the 4th Sprite - China Original Music Pop Charts.

- "Most popular female singer" in Mainland China in the 7th CCTV-MTV Music Concert Awards.

- "Most popular singer" in Mainland China in Asia Pacific Music - 2004 and 2005 yearly awards.

- "Best charismatic style artist" in 2005 MTV Super Concert Awards.

- "Best female singer" in Mainland China in 2005 Golden Chart Awards.

- "Actress of the year" in 2005 Sina Web Concert Awards.

- "Most popular female singer" in Mainland China 2005 Sprite - China Original Music Pop Charts.

2004
- The song "Watching sea" won gold medal in the 11th China Music Charts.

- "Best new singer" in the 10th Global China Music Awards.

- In the 2nd MTV Super Concert Awards
+ "The most charismatic style award" in Mainland China.
+ Zhou Xun and Chen Kun won "the most charismatic style partners" awards in the silver screen.

2003
- "Best new singer" in China Music Charts-The First season.

- "Most favorite actress" in the 10th Student Film Awards.

- "Most popular new singer - Silver Medal" in the Global Chinese Pop Chart Awards.

- The song "Happy Garden" won the most popular song in Mainland China in CCTV-MTV Music Award Concert.

2002
- "Best actress" in the 25th Hundred Flowers Awards, for the role Chao Ning Jing in "A Pinwheel without Wind".

- "Most promising singer" in Mainland China in 2002 CCTV-MTV Music Award Concert.

- The special award - China Music Charts.

- "Most favorite actress" for the role Huang Rong in "The Legend of Condor Heroes" - BeiJing TV Station awards.

- "Top-Ten artist” in the 2nd China TV Art “Top-Ten” Awards, for the role Xiu He in "Oranges Have Ripen".

2001
- "Most promising new artist", France Art Group award.

- "Most outstanding new female singer", Sprite - My Choice of Chinese Original Music Pop Charts.

2000
- "Most favorite actress" in the 18th China Golden Eagle TV Awards, for the role Princess Tai Ping in "Palace of Desire".

1998
- "Best actress" in the 15th Paris International Film Festival, for the role Mu Dan and Mei Mei in "Suzhou River" .

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tale is well-read and well-played

Friday, September 23, 2005
BY LISA ROSE
Star-Ledger Staff
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
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(Unrated) Empire Pictures (111 min.)

Directed by Dai Sijie. Stars Xun Zhou, Kun Chen, Ye Liu. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Now playing at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair

Stars: ***

A hidden stash of books changes the lives of three characters in "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress."

The story is set during China's Cultural Revolution, when Western literature was deemed contraband by communist leader Mao Zedong. His re-education program sent city youths to remote villages, where they worked alongside farmers and miners. The goal of re-education was to empower peasants and diminish the bourgeois.

Author Dai Sijie was among those shuttled from urban homes to rural outposts. After four years of agrarian labor, he returned home to complete high school. His best-selling novel, "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress," springs from his memories of re-education. A love story tinged with political commentary, the book centers on two young men who are dispatched to a rustic mountain town for lessons in peasantry. There, they find a suitcase filled with forbidden literature and read the texts to a local girl, transforming her in the process.

Sijie himself directs the movie adaptation, shooting the picture on location in China. His filmmaking, for the most part, is as witty and concise as his prose. He makes one faulty choice, adding a present-day epilogue to the film. The extraneous bit of sentiment kills the mood set so skillfully over the preceding 90 minutes.

The central characters, Luo (Kun Chen) and Ma (Ye Liu), hike two days through the mountains to reach the village where they are to be re-educated. The local leader (Shuangbao Wang) immediately burns a cookbook they've packed, declaring, "Revolutionary peasants will never be corrupted by filthy bourgeois chicken."

The chief mistakes Ma's violin for a toy and wants to toss it on the fire as well. The teens convince him not to destroy it, as Ma performs a piece of music he claims is titled "Mozart is Thinking of Chairman Mao."

Sijie never loses sight of the irony inherent in the Cultural Revolution, which promoted the idea that literacy and creative expression halt progress. His protagonists outsmart their communist wardens repeatedly, eventually snatching a hidden suitcase filled with fiction by French authors Honore de Balzac, Alexandre Dumas and Gustave Flaubert.

Luo and Ma share their findings with a teen girl known only as the Little Seamstress (Xun Zhou). She grows to love the novels, while her tutors fall for her. The words have a greater impact on her than either of them ever envisioned.

The narrative reaches its logical conclusion, but Sijie feels compelled to extend the story, tacking on scenes depicting Luo and Ma as middle-aged men. A filmmaker so literate should know an indulgent bookend when he sees one.

Rating note: The film contains sexual content and alcohol abuse.

Source www.nj.com

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Hong Kong to Vote on Entry for Oscar !

September 23,2005 - Hong Kong on Friday will choose its entry for the best foreign film Oscar among three candidates: Jackie Chan's The Myth, Stanley Kwan's Everlasting Regret and Peter Chan's Perhaps Love, an industry insider said Wednesday.

An 11-member committee of the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong will take a vote on the three movies Friday, the chairman of the group, Crucindo Hung, said. Hung said the group narrowed down its choices to the trio because they fit Oscar requirements best. Oscar organizers want films to have both artistic and commercial elements. They can't be purely artistic or purely commercial... They are also the most representative of Hong Kong's big productions this year, Hung said.  

In The Myth, Chan plays a character who tries to track down a lost love from a previous life who has lived on by taking a longevity pill.   

Everlasting Regret, starring Hong Kong pop star Sammi Cheng, follows the life of a Shanghai beauty who endures both personal upheaval and China's political turmoil in modern times.   

Perhaps Love, featuring Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung and South Korean actor Ji Jin-hee, is a romance set against the filming of a musical. Everlasting Regret and Perhaps Love were shown at the recent Venice Film Festival.   

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Perhaps Love

For the best foreign film Oscar, the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences usually narrows down submissions from various countries to several nominees.

Source: kfccinema

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"Perhaps Love" in the first press conference

The first press conference of Perhaps Love movie held on May 9th 2005. Some pictures at this conference. Find out more picture, please visite "Perhaps Love"'s picture store in Ent.Tom and more picture of Zhou Xun actress, visite her picture store in Ent.tom.

Click thumbnail to view full size




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Perhaps Love premieres at Venice (part II)

September 11, 2005 -- South Korean star Ji Jin Hee, Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun and Taiwan actor Takeshi Kaneshiro attended the premiere of Perhaps Love, the latest film by director Peter Chan, on Saturday at the 62nd Venice Film Festival.

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Actor Takeshi Kaneshiro, director Peter Chan, actress Zhou Xun and actor Ji Jin Hee

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Actor Takeshi Kaneshiro, actress Zhou Xun and actor Ji Jin Hee

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Actor Takeshi Kaneshiro

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Actress Zhou Xun

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Actor Ji Jin Hee

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"Perhaps Love" 's actors in closing ceremony of 62nd Venice Film Festival

September 12, 2005 - South Korean star Ji Jin Hee, Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun and Taiwan actor Takeshi Kaneshiro attended the premiere of Perhaps Love, the latest film by director Peter Chan, on Sunday at closing ceremony of 62nd Venice Film Festival.

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Image hosting : http://imageshack.us/

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"Perhaps Love" launches soundtrack !

BEIJING, September 8, 2005 -- The Chinese movie "Perhaps Love", directed by veteran Hong Kong film maker Peter Ho-Sun Chan, and choreographed by the Vanity Fair choreographer Farah Khan, is scheduled for release at Christmas. But the movie's soundtrack will be available much sooner.

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Director Peter Chan, Hong Kong pop star Jacky Cheung, Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun and South Korean star Ji Jin Hee

The ten-million US dollar movie stars Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun, Taiwan-based idol Takeshi Kaneshiro, Veteran Hong Kong performer Jacky Cheung and South Korean star Ji Jin-hee. The director escorted the cast as they signed a publishing contract of the movie's original soundtrack with EMI. The event was accompanied by the music video of the movie's theme song "Crossroads", sung by Kaneshiro and Zhou Xun. It's the first time Kaneshiro has sang in ten years.

"Perhaps Love" has already been branded as China's "Chicago" and a copy of Bollywood. But the director has his own opinion. Director of "Perhaps Love" Peter Hosun Chan said, 'Perhaps Love' should actually not be categorized as a musical. I just wanted to push the love affairs to a more extreme point and I found singing and dancing is a necessary way. So I would rather call it a variation of a love story."

The movie tells the story of a young star's experience as she grows up and the two men in love with her. The South Korean actor Ji Jin-hee, starring the role of Monty, also contributes his Chinese singing to the movie's soundtrack.

Source: Xinhua.net

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Perhaps Love premieres at Venice

September 10, 2005 -- South Korean star Ji Jin Hee, Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun and Taiwan actor Takeshi Kaneshivo attended the premiere of Perhaps Love, the latest film by director Peter Chan, on Friday at the 62nd Venice Film Festival.
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Director Peter Chan(L1), Taiwan actor Takeshi Kaneshivo(L2), Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun(R2) and South Korean star Ji Jin Hee(R1)

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Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun

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Taiwan actor Takeshi Kaneshivo, Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun and South Korean star Ji Jin Hee

(Source: Xinhua.net)

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Peter Chan's "Perhaps Love" to delight Venice film fest

BEIJING, July 27 -- The Chinese film “Perhaps Love” will bring a moving end to the coming Venice Film Festival that will kick off Aug. 31, after Hong Kong director Peter Chan received an invitation from the fetsival’s organizers to show his work as the closing film.

The decision was made by Marco Mueller, the new festival chairman, despite having only seen the first version of “Perhaps Love,” which has not yet undergone editing. Having watched the crude production for 40 minutes in Beijing, Mueller suggested the work be the closing film at the festival, and that there should be a grand party for the film. Asked to explain his preference for “Perhaps Love,” Mueller put it down to the movie’s unique musical score. A piece of love-themed musical cinema, “Perhaps Love” captivates audiences with both its moving story line and operatic singing by leading actor, Hong Kong pop singer Jacky Cheung.

Director Chan disclosed that the film was now in editing, and he was not sure whether it could be finished before the Venice Film Festival.

(Source: Shenzhen Daily)

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Perhaps Love to open Christmas Day !

BEIJING, June 7 -- Producer of Oscar-winning boxing movie "Million Dollar Baby," Andre Morgan and HK director Peter Chan have joined up to create the first Chinese musical in 40 years called "Perhaps Love." It is scheduled for release on Christmas Day in the United States and Asia.

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Jacky Cheung, Zhou Xun and Director Peter Chan

The musical stars Jacky Cheung, Zhou Xun, and Takeshi Kaneshiro. The shooting for the song and dance segments of the musical finished successfully in Shanghai on Monday. With an investment of 60 million Hong Kong dollars, the song and dance drama is believed to be another heavyweight after Peter Chan's 1996 hit 'Comrades, Almost a Love Story.' "Perhaps Love" is a film within a story about a film. It features three men and a woman named Monti, one of whom is played by South Korean star Ji Jin-hee.

Source: CRIENGLISH.com. Image: Sina

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"Million Dollar Baby" producer urges HK film makers to box clever

BEIJING - March 12,2005 -- Hong Kong's ailing film industry has been complacent about its past success and must reinvent itself to regain former glories, Andre Morgan, the producer of Oscar-winning boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby" believes.

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In an interview, the veteran producer, who cut his teeth in the Hong Kong movie industry during its 1970s heyday of Bruce Lee and kung fu, said filmmakers also needed to devise ways to counter challenges from emerging Asian movie-making nations and take advantage of the massive Chinese audience on its doorstep. Morgan blames reduced investment for steadily eroding Hong Kong's dominant market share in Southeast Asia.

Once the world's third largest movie-making centre after Bollywood and Hollywood, the Hong Kong film industry has seen the number of productions dwindle from more than 300 a year in the 1980s to just 64 in 2004, according to the city's Motion Picture Industry Association, while its workforce has shrunk by 80 percent.Yet Morgan believes the business is going through a cycle typical to all industries and expects it to be on the way to recovery soon when Hong Kong's economy picks up.

Fluent in both Cantonese and Mandarin, Morgan is no stranger to the Chinese movie scene and has been credited with helping bring kung fu and the legendary Bruce Lee to western audiences. Between 1972 and 1978, Morgan produced 15 to 20 Chinese pictures and says he was the first movie maker to take a Chinese film crew to Australia, the Netherlands, the United States and Nepal.

He has now returned to Hong Kong to team up with leading Hong Kong director Peter Chan to make the first Chinese musical in more than 40 years, "Perhaps Love", set in the glamorous but sleazy Shanghai of the 1930s, and modern-day China. Morgan said China represented the best opportunities for Hong Kong's beleaguered movie industry as filmmakers are offered incentives to shoot there, and a free-trade pact allows for national distribution of local productions.

Source: CRIENGLISH.com. Image from Xinhuanet

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"Baby" producer makes Chinese musical !

BEIJING, March 5,2005 -- The producer of the Oscar-winning boxing movie "Million Dollar Baby," Andre Morgan says he will produce the first Chinese musical in 40 years in collaboration with Hong Kong director Peter Chan.

[Image]
Andre Morgan, producer of the Oscar winning film 'Million Dollar Baby,' addresses a press conference in Hong Kong. Morgan will produce the first Chinese musical in 40 years in collaboration with Hong Kong director Peter Chan. (AFP photo)

"Perhaps Love", a passionate Hong Kong love story, will be directed by Chan and produced by Andre Morgan, maker of Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon".

Although he has produced 15 to 20 Chinese films and has brought martial arts movies to the West, Morgan said it was time to try a brave new line instead of signature high-kicking Kung Fu flicks that have dominated Chinese cinema. Currently shooting in Beijing and Shanghai, the 10 million US dollar film will bring together Asian star Takeshi Kaneshiro and mainland Chinese actress Zhou Xun. Farah Khan, is in charge of choreography.

Morgan says the Sino-American joint venture will be two years in the making, and is aimed at bringing the vast Chinese and Western markets onto an ambitious course for the future in film development. The film is scheduled for completion in May and release in August in Hong Kong, China and other major Asian cities. Shooting of the film will begin at the end of this year.

(Source: CRIENGLISH.com)

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"Baby" producer backs HK musical

BEIJING, March 8, 2005 -- The Ruddy Morgan Organization, one of the producers of Clint Eastwood’s Academy Award-winning Million Dollar Baby, has come on board Applause Pictures' upcoming US$10 million musical Perhaps Love.

The film, to be helmed by Peter Chan, will be shot on location in Beijing and Shanghai. Perhaps Love is the first full-blown Mandarin-language musical by a Hong Kong director since the heyday of the Shaw Brothers Studio in the 1960s. “In Asia there are a lot of replications if a film is successful, but this is not a good way to secure the market. We should be brave enough to try something new,” RMO’s Andre Morgan said Friday at a Hong Kong press conference for Million Dollar Baby. We want to do films that are interesting and challenging.

Set in the Chinese mainland, Perhaps Love revolves around a love triangle that develops during the making of a musical. The film will star Takeshi Kaneshiro and Zhou Xun. Also on board are leading Hong Kong cinematographers Christopher Doyle and Peter Pau, who won an Oscar for his work on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Location shooting in Beijing was completed recently, and the production will move to Shanghai this month. The film is aimed at a summer release date. Ruddy Morgan is no stranger to the Chinese film scene. Morgan produced Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon in the 1970s.

Set up in 2000, Applause Pictures has spent the past four years building a strong reputation as a producer of such pan-Asian films as The Eye and Three. Peter Chan, a principal of Applause, said the next step for the company is to work with Hollywood studios.

“We hope to develop projects that are China-based but aimed at the world,” he said.Morgan and Chan also are developing Waiting, an adaptation of the award-winning book of the same name by Chinese writer Ha Jin.

Source: Shenzhen Daily/Agencies

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Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress - 2001

Information
Director: Sijie Dai (Also Screenplayer)
Cast: Zhou Xun as The Little Seamstress, Chen Kun as Luo, Liu Ye as Ma
Runtime: 110 min / France:116 min (Cannes Film Festival)
Country: France / China
Language: Mandarin / French

Poster

[Image]

Plot
At the height of Mao's infamous Cultural Revolution, two teenage best friends, Luo and Ma, guilty of being the sons of bourgeois doctors, have been exiled to a remote mountain village to be "re-educated by the poor peasants". A little light comes their way when they encounter the little seamstress, with whom Luo launches an affair. A suitcase stuffed with forbidden Western classics in Chinese translations transforms the boys' lives, and Luo dreams of transforming the little seamstress from a simple country girl into a sophisticated lover with his foreign tales. He succeeds beyond his expectations, but the result is not what he might have hoped for.......

News

Preview & Review
- Review: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress ! (September 30, 2005)
- Tale is well-read and well-played (September 23, 2005)

Pictures

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Perhaps Love" Vying for Oscar !

2005-09-21 17:37:53 CRIENGLISH.com

CRI Exclusive by Chen Ying--Hong Kong director Peter Chan's musical film "Perhaps Love" is among three Hong Kong films vying for the honour of competing for China in the Best Foreign Feature category at next year's Academy Awards.

[Image]
Director Peter Chan, actor Jin Takeshi, actress Zhou Xun and Korean actor JI Jin-hee)

Competition is fierce. The other two films are Sammie Cheung's“Everlasting Regret”, the closing film at the Venice Film Festival, and Jackie Chan’s martial arts blockbuster,“The Myth”.  

The final decision will be announced on 28 September.   

Director Peter Chan has refused invitations to five international film festivals this year. He says that as "Perhaps Love" is not an "art" movie, he doesn't need to attend film festivals to promote it. For him, the Oscar race is the best choice.   

Chinese mainland actress Zhou Xun, Taiwan actor Jin Takeshi, Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung) and Korean actor Ji Jin-hee star in the film.  

It's the first Chinese love film for 35 years to express its story through song and dance  

A song and dance section takes up 40 minutes of the 110-minute-long film, while another 20 minutes are devoted to singing only.

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Love is in the air !

(eastday.com)
Updated: 2005-02-17 09:32

For both filmmakers and cinemagoers, love is an eternal topic and around Valentine's Day, the silver screen is packed with romantic movies - including "The Beauty Remains" and "Lover's Knot" - but among them, "West Lake Moment" is considered the best.

[Image]
Talented Chinese actress Zhou Xun and actor Chen Kun play a young couple in the movie “West Lake Moment.”

"There are two Zhou Xun (the well-known Chinese actress) movies being screened - 'West Lake Moment' with popular film and TV star Chen Kun and 'The Beauty Remains' with veteran actor Wang Zhiwen," says Gu Min, from Shanghai United Cinema Lines, the city's leading cinema chain. "But 'West Lake' is set in modern times. Elements of urban life can be seen in the movie rather than the nostalgic and sentimental mood that exists throughout 'The Beauty Remains' and 'Lover's Knot'."

Zhou looks incredibly cute, sweet and innocent. She enjoys a high reputation in China and this year she was even crowned as the "Screen Queen" of Valentine's Day.

Her movie "Baober in Love," released during last year's Valentine's Day season, was a big winner at the box office, with 15 million yuan (US$1.83 million) in ticket sales around the country. The movie's success alerted Chinese filmmakers to the considerable market potential for the right sort of movies at this romantic time of the year. Ironically, although "Baober in Love" was drawing crowds, the film was not all that popular with film buffs and critics. "The movie's eerie scenes, confusing storyline and strange music are too hard to understand," says Zhang Jian, a local movie fan. "Actually, on the romantic Valentine's Day, young moviegoers are not in the mood to explore profound and bewildering philosophy in a film."

However, "West Lake" is quite different. It looks like a typical just-for-lovers film filled with lighthearted romance, humorous lines, sparkling chemistry and silly-sweet comedy. "I like the warm ambience in the film," says actress Zhou, 29, with a grin. "But the story is more than just romance. It also tackles the subtle subject of the uncertainty of the relationships between today's young lovers. They may fall for each other at first sight but neither is sure whether their love will endure the test of time.

"The story is also about young persons growing up. Love is not always as sweet as it tastes at the beginning. Shouldering responsibilities and confronting yourself is essential in handling love affairs."

The Chinese name of the movie is "Yuanyang Hudie," which literally means "Mandarin Duck and Butterfly," the two symbols of "eternal love" in Chinese tradition. Hong Kong director Yim Ho works with his long-time partners, cinematographer Poon Hang-sang and production designer William Cheung Suk-ping, to present poetic and enchanting scenes in "West Lake."

"I spent about three months conceiving and writing the storyline," Yim says. "Most of the characters in the film are not totally imaginary. They have their roots and counterparts in real life."

One of the most honored Hong Kong directors, Yim has won many film awards in Hong Kong, Taiwan and around the world. He is well-known for his epic visual style, poetic aesthetics and transnational productions exploring the complexity of the human condition.

"Red Dust" ("Gun Gun Hongchen"), one of his classic works starring famous Taiwanese stars Brigitte Lin and Chin Han and Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung, has created a record of winning eight honors at 1990 Taiwan Golden Horse Award (Taiwan's version of the Academy Awards), including Best Director, Best Leading Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

"But 'West Lake' is definitely a new challenge to me," Yim says. "After my achievement in the 1990s, it took me years to think and learn about how to tell a story that is of keen interest to today's young generation. Fortunately I found it."

In "West Lake," Xiao Yu (Zhou) runs a cafe near the picturesque West Lake in Hangzhou, capital of neighboring Zhejiang Province. Her tranquil life abruptly changes when Ah Qin (Chen), a boyish Beijing scriptwriter steps into the cafe. Love bursts into flame but how long can it last? In the movie, Xiao Yu and Ah Qin both have different personalities - one lives in the real world while the other refuses to grow up and take any responsibilities, just like the fairytale boy Peter Pan. "The two egos frequently talk, struggle and even fight with each other," Yim says. "For a young person, it's a painful course to grow up. My movies try to concentrate on the younger generation's mentality, their dilemmas, relationships and desires with the hope of offering healthy guidance."

When it comes to his future plans, Yim doesn't conceal his commercial goal. His next film has been adapted from a popular Internet novel and will depict a fantastic world of illusion traversing time and space.

"A perfect mode of my movies is to combine art with profit," Yim says. "I don't want to make hard-to-understand films, instead I try to entertain the biggest audience I can reach."

"West Lake" is also the fourth collaboration between Zhou and Chen after the hit TV series, "Symphony of Rain" and two movies "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" and "Baober in Love."

Chen, 29, who impresses viewers with his melancholy and handsome looks, is now one of the hottest young film stars in China. He was recently chosen by multi-faceted Chinese artist Chen Yifei to play the leading role in the film "Barber," which originally starred Jiang Wen. "I like to work with Zhou," Chen says. "She always pursues perfection. Ah Qin, the role I played in the film, is a typical young person in modern society who aspires for true love but doesn't have much sense of responsibility."

Zhou, who started her acting career about nine years ago, is best-known for her superb performances in Lou Ye's "Suzhou River," Wang Xiaoshuai's "Bicycle" and Fruit Chan's "Hollywood Hong Kong." Unlike her role in "West Lake," Zhou plays a delicate and reserved girl in another Valentine's Day movie, "The Beauty Remains," a feminist-themed work directed by well-known Chinese-American director Ann Hu.

"Distinctive styles they may have, there're still some similarities between 'The Beauty Remains' and 'West Lake'," Zhou says. "A woman can only achieve a mature and mellow state after enduring difficulties and life's downturns. Both movies will help people learn how to love and become more mature in their outlook."

"West Lake Moment," "The Beauty Remains" and "Lover's Knot," are being screened with English subtitles at cinemas throughout the city.

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Romantic story weds top filmmakers !

By Zhu Linyong (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-16 08:38

The past few years have seen many collaborations between filmmakers from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, the most eye catching of these being Zhang Yimou's latest work "House of Flying Daggers" (Shimian Maifu).

[Image]
Zhou Xun (L) and Chen Kun pose for a photo at a promotion event of the new film "Mandarin Duck & Butterfly."

Again this month, a new film co-production has brought top-notch professionals from the two industries together.

"Mandarin Duck & Butterfly" (Yuanyang Hudie), a romantic story about Hangzhou girl Xiao Yu and her Beijing lover Ah Qin, is to be filmed in Hangzhou, capital city of East China's Zhejiang Province, starting on August 15.

Starring young actress Zhou Xun as Xiao Yu and TV drama pop idol Chen Kun as Ah Qin, the feature film will be directed by Hong Kong film director Yim Ho, who will work with his long-time partners Poon Hangsang, as cinematographer, and William Cheung Suk Ping, as production designer.

Yim is good at in-depth portrayals of romantic figures in heart-warming or heart-wrenching stories, with the adept use of poetic visual sequences.

His film credits include "Homecoming" (Shishui Liunian 1984), "Red Dust" (Gungun Hongchen, 1990), "The Day the Sun Turned Cold" (Tianguo Nizi 1994), "The Sun Has Ears" (Taiyang You'er 1996) and "Pavilion of Women" (Tingyuan Zhongde Nuren 2001).

Both Poon and Cheung have had rich experiences in film production, working alongside such award-winning directors as Yim Ho, Wong Kar-wai, Hark Tsui and Stanley Kwan.

Zhou is best known for her superb performances in Lou Ye's "Suzhou River" (Suzhou He 1998), Wang Xiaoshuai's "Bicycle" (Zixingche 2000), and Fruit Chan's "Hollywood Hong Kong" (Xianggang Youge Haolaiwu 2002).

"The film tackles the subtle subject of the uncertainty of the relations between today's young lovers. They may fall for each other at first sight but neither is sure whether their love will endure the test of time," said Zhou.

The new film also stars Zhang Yue, a former figure-skating athlete, and Linq Yim, a young Hong Kong-born man who was educated in a film school in the United States. Linq Yim is also responsible for the composition of the film score.

Slated to be distributed on next year's Valentine's Day, the film is produced by Wang Dajin, with handsome investment, the exact amount yet to be revealed, from Beijing Centuryhero Film Investment Co Ltd and Beijing Jingmei Fenghuo Advertising Company.

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West Lake Moment (Yuan yang hu die) - 2004

Information
Title: West Lake Moment aka Mandarin Duck & Butterfly
Director: Yim Ho, Zang Zi
Cast: Zhou Xun, Chen Kun
Genre: Drama / Romance
Runtime: China:112 min / Hong Kong:112 min
Country: China
Language: Mandarin
Sina page: http://ent.sina.com.cn/m/c/f/yyhd/index.html

Poster

[Image]

Plot
Xiao Yu (Zhou) runs a cafe near the picturesque West Lake in Hangzhou, capital of neighboring Zhejiang Province. Her tranquil life abruptly changes when Ah Qin (Chen), a boyish Beijing scriptwriter steps into the cafe. Love bursts into flame but how long can it last?

News
- Love is in the air ! (February 17, 2005)
- Romantic story weds top filmmakers ! (August 16,2004)

Preview & Review

Pictures

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Zhou Xun's Beauty Ever hit premieres

BEIJING, Feb. 3 -- Chinese American director Ann Hu's Valentine's Day film "Beauty Ever", starring Zhou Xun and Wang Zhiwen has premiered in Beijing on Wednesday.

Chinese American director Ann Hu's Valentine's Day film "Beauty Ever", starring Chinese A-list actress Zhou Xun and actor Wang Zhiwen has premiered in Beijing last night.

Director Ann Hu says the film integrates her own life experience and deep passion towards women. It will shed lights on both female delicacy and cruelty.

Director Ann Hu is famous for her 2001 film "Shadow Magic", which is about the clash of western technology and eastern tradition at the beginning of last century.


Director Ann Hu, Vivian Wu and Zhou Xun

(Source: CRIENGLISH.com)

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Love interest steers Hu's direction !

(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-25 08:52

Beijing-born filmmaker Ann Hu can hardly be faulted for her lack of ambition. For her 2000 directing debut, "Shadow Magic" (Xiyang Jing), she pulled off a major international co-production. For her comeback, she may have done even better.


Zhoun Xun in Fei_the key role

After 10 months of post production in the United States and China, Hu's new film "Beauty Remains" (Meiren Yijiu) is almost ready to release in China.

The film is publicized as a traditional Chinese tale with a decidedly American indie look which pushes the boundaries of foreign-language cinema. The film was shot in Beijing and Qingdao last year. With an investment of at least US$5 million, it is a co-production by Beijing-based China Film Group, Emerging Pictures and Media Asia Inc of the United States.

Hu is backed up by a strong production crew for the film, which is co-produced by Hu and lra Deutchman, independent film pioneer who created Fine Line Features and has been making, marketing and distributing films for over 25 years.

Executive producer of the film is Han Sanping, president of China Film Group, the largest film studios group in China. Similar to the East-West hybrid nature of the production team, the colour feature film is a unique collaboration between creative talents from the United States and China, Hu claimed.

The screenplay is co-authored by American writers Beth Schacter and Michael Eldridge, and Chinese playwright Wang Bin, whose works include "To Live" (Huozhe), "Hero" (Yingxiong) and "House of Flying Daggers" (Shimian Maifu).

The film stars famous Chinese actors and actresses including Wang Zhiwen and Zhou Xun. Other notables in the cast include Los Angeles-based Vivian Wu and Lisa Lu.

The film was shot by cinematographer Scott Kevan and was designed by Carol Wells from New York, and Feng Ligang and Chen Fei from Beijing.

Set in 1948, "Beauty Remains" is the story of two sisters - Fei and Ying - bound together by the will of their late father, a legendary business entrepreneur, and their shared love for a charismatic casino owner, Huang.

Love story

These are two women whose paths have been dictated by the often cruel decrees of the men in their lives - two women who must somehow transcend that influence or lose everything. The film is scheduled for release around Valentine's Day, 2005, in major cinema circuits in cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

"The film is not just a feast for the eyes. For people aged 35 and over, the film may offer some food for thought about love. For younger audiences, the film may give them some inspirations of how to better deal with a love relationship," said Hu, sitting in a traditional wooden armchair in her residence, nestled in the quiet, labyrinthic hutong near the Shichahai Lake in downtown Beijing.

Hu said that, compared with her work with "Shadow Magic," "Beauty Remains" is better rendered in terms of techniques, production and business operation.

A romance cliche?

Hu admits that "the new film is a tougher one to make as it deals with a more elusive, complicated theme."

"I like the film story very much. When I first touched it, I found it not so easy to handle. But the more I thought about it, the more I explored the subject, I gradually found self-confidence in visualizing the subtle feelings of the women protagonists and their elusive lover," she recalled.

"It is a cruel, love story. I try not to use the word tragic. The film has nothing to do with my own experiences but it reflects in some way my understanding of love," she claimed.

"The film is shot for both those in love for the first time and those who have lost their love. On the surface, a love triangle is a cliche found in too many films and TV dramas. But it seems that the audiences are never tired of being seduced and intoxicated by a well-crafted cliche of romance. I want to try my luck on this tired topic and hope to dig out something different," she said.

The film may give the viewer a nostalgic feel. But it offers something different from other films in the genre. The way the story unfolds is not traditional. To make it suitable for both the home and international markets, Hu invited script writers from China and the United States to ensure that the film "offers something fresh for both Chinese and international audiences."

The film is at first glance flashy and colourful, considering such elements as its settings, shooting angles, costumes and the film score. Hu said: "It has strength deep within that really touches the heart of the audience."

But Hu admits women may find it easier to relate to the film than men.

She insists that "although 'Beauty Remains' is a real international production, it remains a Chinese movie at its core. Not like the made-in-Hong Kong romance 'In the Mood for Love' (Huayang Nianhua) of director Wong Kar-wai."

To avoid the "aesthetic fatigue," the film has had several test screenings in the United States for improvement before the final cut was decided, Hu said.

Characterization

The key role, Fei, played by Zhou Xun, is depicted as the illegitimate daughter of Master Li and a maid in the influential household. Having long been outcast and grown up in hard times, Fei still keeps her youthful beauty - and managed to hold on to hope. She dreams of someday rising above her grinding poverty.

Ying, played by Vivian Wu, is Master Li's daughter and eventual heir of the family fortune. When forced to invite her disgraced sister, Fei, back to the household and share the family wealth, Ying is enraged. A spoilt Ying assumes that Fei won't be a threat to her. After all, the daughter of a maid is no match for Ying's cool and sophisticated beauty. But there may be one complication she did not count on.

Huang, played by Wang Zhiwen, is portrayed as a handsome and self-absorbed casino owner. Though Huang and Ying have intended to marry for many years, their relationship has always been tumultuous. Now, with a fresh, young face in the household, Huang is forced to choose between a reckless affair that will tear apart the household and the love of another woman who has always enchanted his heart.

"I am not trying to put blame on men in my movie. I am not making a clear-cut feminist statement. This is just a film about love, about the risks of being in love, and self-redemption of a Chinese young girl troubled by love," Hu said.

"During the script development process, I always felt that Fei should have gained our sympathies easily.

"But during the shooting, I struggled with Fei's character when she loses her innocence and hurts the ones that love her the most," Hu recalled.

"Is she a good person? Are her actions justified because of her family history? Are any of us ever justified when we act upon our feelings and beliefs at the cost of others? I was torn between rushing to judge Fei and my feelings of compassion for her."

The solution was not found until she had to shoot the last scene.

"The lighting was dim, and though I couldn't see her face through the monitor, I could feel her laughter and tears. And at that moment, I knew that I had gained the emotional balance that I was looking for," said Hu.

When asked about why she chose Wang Zhiwen, instead of other younger pop icons, for her film, Hu said: "I believe Wang fits best for the role. Just like the many keys of a piano, a good actor or actress has potentials they themselves may not know very well. The job of a film director is to spot and to tap these potentials for a new movie." The actors and actresses each have their own strengths and limitations. Only the right combination may bring life to something totally new for any of them, she said.

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The Beauty Remain (Meiren Yijiu) - 2004

Information
Title: The Beauty Remain aka Beauty Ever
Director: An Hu
Cast: Zhou Xun, Wang Zhiwen, Vivian Wu and Lisa Lu.
Screenplay: American writers Beth Schacter and Michael Eldridge, and Chinese playwright Wang Bin (To Live, Hero, House of Flying Daggers)
Production: Beijing-based China Film Group, Emerging Pictures and Media Asia Inc of the United States.
Shotting in Beijing and Qingdao on October,2003
Released : on Valentine day,2005
Sina page: http://ent.sina.com.cn/m/m/f/mryj/index.html

Poster
[Image]

Plot:
Set in 1948, "Beauty Remains" is the story of two sisters - Fei and Ying - bound together by the will of their late father, a legendary business entrepreneur, and their shared love for a charismatic casino owner, Huang.

News
- Zhou Xun's Beauty Ever hit premieres (February 3, 2005)
- Love interest steers Hu's direction ! (November 23, 2004)

Preview & Review

Picture

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The Creation of the Night Banquet !

September 15, 2005 - Beijing local newspaper The Beijing News just published a series of exclusive reports on the preproduction of director Feng Xiaogang’s Ye Yan (literal title: The Night Banquet).

The project started with a screenplay titled The Sword Prince based on William Shakespeare's Hamlet, penned by Chiu-Tai An-Ping (The Actress, Rough, Love Unto Waist). Director Feng Xiaogang did not like the story which was too close to the original and brought in TV writer Shen Heyu to do a rewrite. The result was an original story about how people were destroyed by their own greed. It is set in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907 - 979), probably the most chaotic era in the history of China.

Emperor Li is played by Ge You, who appeared in every film by Feng Xiaogang since 1997. Got the throne by murdering the previous emperor, his older brother, Li is willing to do anything to withhold his power. He suspects everyone around, the empress, the crown prince and the ministers, is trying to betray him and he plans to remove every threat at a night banquet.

The role of Empress Wan was originally a mid-age woman, specifically wrote for Gong Li. After Gong turned it down due to schedule conflict, it eventually went to Zhang Ziyi. The role was also changed from the mother of the crown prince to the step-mother of the crown prince, who is even younger than the prince. Zhang Ziyi once prepared to do only one film this year, Memoirs of a Geisha, because she would be busy on the doing the film's post-production and promotion for the rest of the year. But the project was so interesting and she persuaded her agent to let her take the role. The Empress was once married to the previous emperor and after her husband was killed by the new emperor, she remarried to the murderer just for protecting the life of hers and the crown prince's, but she is also motivated by the greed for power.


Tim Yip's costume design: The Emperor & The Empress

Hong Kong actor Daniel Wu plays Crown Prince Wu Luan, who is the son of the previous emperor. Lives in the shadow of his father's murderer, the very sad prince forces himself to enjoy dancing everyday. Wu said he got to fight more than anyone else and the moves action director Yuen Wo-Ping designed for him were very unusual.

Zhou Xun plays Qing Nü, daughter of the Minister (Ma Jingwu). She has been engaged to the crown prince and is blinded by the love of her fiancé. Huang Xiaoming plays Yin Zhun, the arrogant young son of the Minister. He loves her little sister and has great respect of their father.

Production designer Tim Yip created 20 different sets and the largest is the inertial of a grand hall. It is 180 meters long, 60 meters wide and 20 meters wide, which was larger than a football field. Tim Yip said the feel of Shakespeare was blended into his design of the places. The basic color is dark brown with some dark red and gold and the light will be very dim in order to create a ghostly feeling for the palace.

Composer Tan Dun is trying something different this time, different from what he did for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He said the music for Ye Yan would be very classic and aesthetic, and would become very modern and Rock 'n Roll toward the end of the film. The style of the music for fight scenes will also change frequently. Sometimes it will sounds like a ballet, sometimes it will sounds like an opera and sometimes it will sounds like a Chinese opera.

Source : monkeypeaches.com

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Baober in Love - 2003 !

Information
Director: Li Shaohong
Written by Zheng Zhong and Wang Yao
Cast:
Zhou Xun as Baober
Huang Jue as Liu Zhi
Chen Kun as Maomao
Runtime: 95 min
Country: China
Language: Mandarin
Sina page: http://ent.sina.com.cn/m/c/f/baob/index.html
Trailer (Real): Hight Low

Poster

[Image]

Plot:
Baober, a girl born in 1979, has dreamed since birth that she can fly freely over the city and her father's steel works, even into the subway. Bewilderment about her birth has brought her many fancy ideas.

One day, she picks up a viedio tape on which a married man's monologue shows that he has lost faith in life. Baober manages to find him and wants to save his soul. The man, Liu Zhi, who has also experienced flying in spirit, tastes romantic love with Baober. They often run back over those fantasies together. Baober, to whom material things don't mean much, is perturbed by the wealth Liu Zhi tries to present to her. She thus behaves strangely and disappeares soon afterwards. Later Baober comes across Maomao , a handsome guy handicapped in the leg, and finds him congenial to her. Just then Liu Zhi appeares before Baober......

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