Monday, June 26, 2006

Update on Runaway Nana !

There are some new pictures of Runaway Nana, a Zhou Xun's movie. It isn't released now. The pictures come from

Click the thumbnail to view full size

The cover and back !

The content, text of synopsis is too small ...
Ming Ming (casted by Zhou Xun is a 21th Century Martial Art Princess) ...


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Zhou Xun in Cosmopolitan Magazine !

Source: Click the thumbnail to view fullsize !

The Banquet's Stars in Cosmopolitan Magazine ! (Zhang Zi Yi, Zhou Xun, Daniel Wu, Huang Xiao Ming)

Zhou Xun in Cosmopolitan magazine (1) (exacting from The Banquet's Stars in Cosmopolitan Magazine collection)

Zhou Xun in Cosmopolitan magazine (2)


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Zhou Xun in Jessica Magazine !

Source: Click the thumbnail to view fullsize !


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bigger banquet !

Xu Wei - 2006-06-22

A scene set in Anji in neighboring Zhejiang Province in the movie "The Banquet.

Famed for his comedy films, Feng Xiaogang's latest movie "The Banquet" is a big budget affair, a Chinese Hamlet, and the popular director has high hopes it will take him to the very top, writes Xu Wei. Fans are eagerly anticipating the release of veteran Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's epic new drama, "The Banquet," to see how the "master of humor" handles an art film.

In recent years, Feng's sweet and blackly-humorous productions ("Cell Phone," "Big Shot's Funeral," "A Sigh") have been among the most popular domestic pictures. "I want to break the stereotype many people have of me that I am only a successful director of comedies," says director Feng, vice president of the jury panel at the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival. "A good director should have the passion and courage to touch wider genres."

Feng didn't conceal the ambitions he has for the romantic and even tragic "Banquet."

Currently promotion is the name of the game for this highly-anticipated movie set for nationwide release in September. Last month, the film crew spent about 4 million yuan (US$500,000) on promoting "The Banquet" at the Cannes Film Festival. Director Feng has been busy organizing special costumes and props for promotional exhibitions around Asia.

In Shanghai, the exhibition kicked off last Sunday in the lobby of the Shanghai Film Art Center, featuring 10 of the characters' luxurious costumes and delicately designed accessories such as swords and imperial jade seals. "My designing this time has a strong influence from both Western oil painting and traditional Chinese watercolors," says Tim Yip, the movie's art designer and an Oscar-winning artist for his work on Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

The costumes with exaggerated patterns and colors, also boast elegantly embroidered images of phoenix, flowers and landscapes. Yip adds that he was largely inspired by the evolving, emotional route of the heroine (played by Zhang Ziyi). "For the audience, color is a simple but effective approach to mirror the personalities of the different roles," director Feng says. "Yip's efforts add a strong romantic and artistic flavor to the film."

The blockbuster with a budget of 150 million yuan stars Zhang Ziyi, Ge You, Zhou Xun, Huang Xiaoming and Daniel Wu. It centers on the royal power struggle in ancient China and is positioned as the Chinese version of "Hamlet" by critics. "If 'Hamlet' is about a prince who must make a choice involving life and death, 'The Banquet' is about how each character moves step-by-step towards the abyss," director Feng notes. "All are motivated by desire. They do not intend evil, but turn to it out of self-preservation and ever-growing ambition."

With a handful of popular comedies based on contemporary life and native tastes, such as "Cell Phone" and "Part A Part B," director Feng has been one of China's most beloved and popular movie names. Enjoying these light-hearted and warm pictures every year has been a custom of many Chinese movie buffs. "But 'The Banquet' is such a distinctive shift from Feng's former comedic-style," says Zhang Jian, a fan of director Feng's films. "Though his peers, director Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, have won international acclaim with big-budget martial arts films, I don't think it is a wise choice for him."

A great many film fans have still not recovered from their disappointment at Chen Kaige's "The Promise." What worries them is whether "The Banquet" will become another case like "The Promise" - big budget, strong promotion but weak story line.

Director Feng admits that many Chinese directors are not adept at telling stories. "They pay excessive attention to some other things such as the special effects and the fame of the actors, but a clear and attractive story line is an important element for a good movie," he says.

The movie also plans to compete in next year's Academy Awards for Best Foreign Picture. "Chinese filmmakers should face up to the competition from Hollywood blockbusters," Feng notes. "The best way is not seeking protection from the government, but by developing our own film industry and presenting wonderful commercial productions."

As Oscar-winning director Ang Lee said during the festival's forum this week: "There are no big worries about the impact and competition from Hollywood. Chinese cinema is also having its own strong interactive influence on Hollywood."

"The Banquet" costumes and props exhibition
Date: June 22
Venue: Shanghai Film Art Center, 160 Xinhua Rd
Tel: 6280-6088
Date: June 23-27
Venue: Stellar Cinema City, 8/F, 168 Lujiazui Rd W., Pudong
Tel: 5049-5055



The Banquet- Official Trailer

Windows Media - 8 MB download
- Teaser commercial - 1 MB wmv
- Promo Reel - 8 MB wmv



TV Specials: A Glance of Tan Dun's Music in The Banquet !

Two short video reports by China's CCTV are now available at The first clip shows the recording of three songs - two versions of "The Song of Yue People", performed separately by Chinese Mongolian singer Tenger and actress Zhou Xun, and the end theme song "I Repay Love with All I Have", by Zhang Liangying. The second clip shows the scene, in which Zhou Xun's character Qing Nu dies on stage after she drinks a cup of poisoned wine given by the new emperor. Oscar winner Tan Dun said he wrote "The Song of Yue People" based on an ancient Chinese poet.

The first clip: rtsp://

The second clip: rtsp://

Source: and


The Banquet TV Special

The following video contains a series special reports on The Banquet, by China's CCTV. It shows the newest international trailer, a few sets (a market; a bridge called "The Horse Bridge", by which the crown prince escapes to a neighboring country; backyard of the Ministry of Justice; and a theater favored by the crown prince), costume and make-up designer Tim Yip talking about the character of the emperor, director Feng Xiaogang being angry about someone chatting on the set while the camera was rolling, and director Feng Xiaogang leaving Beijing for Cannes.

Download: mms://



The BanQuet Official Website by Media Asia

Media Asia has unveiled a beautifully designed official English website for The Banquet. Besides the flash animations, the most interesting parts are the production notes from "The Creators", director Feng Xiaogang, choreographer Yuen Wo-Ping, composer Tan Dun, and designer Tim Yip. Below are notes from director Feng



Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Banquet !

A twenty-minute trailer for "The Banquet" was unveiled last week at The Cannes Film Festival. The historical epic was directed by Feng Xiaogang, who makes a radical switch of genres. Since it is still four months away from general release, let's get a sneak preview ourselves, and see what the buzz around "The Banquet" is all about.

Merrymaking outside the Banquet

The trailer has hung the critics on a tether-hook, with its incomplete telling of a story packed with desire and deception. Meanwhile, promotional stunts and rumors outside the theater are also generating waves of curiosity. Let's sample the courses that make up the "Banquet".

Before the banquet is served

Known as a commercially-minded director, Feng Xiaogang can't be ignored in movieland. His comedies are saturated with black humor and social innuendo. Feng's films have received rave reviews, and gained robust box office returns. But he now turns his gaze to period plays, the first of which is "The Banquet". The director revealed his inspiration, an ancient Chinese painting titled "The Evening Banquet of Han Xizai." It's a piece of art from the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, over 1000 years ago. The painting shows the deliberate extravagance of scholar Han Xizai, who bears a grudge against the Emperor, and seeks vengeance. Billed as an Asian "Hamlet", the new movie is a revenge story both eastern and western.

But no banquet is complete without invitations for the guests. Zhang Ziyi and Li Bingbing were in heated competition for the female lead. The choice was finally settled, with Zhang Ziyi winning out at the last minute, in hopes of a greater international response.

Another dish at the banquet

Feng Xiaogang is tight with information. But the off-screen story has already begun. Rumor has it that leads Zhang Ziyi and Zhou Xun were not getting along well. But in interviews, the two excitedly plaster praise upon one another. To tell the truth, or not to tell the truth, that is the question.

Desserts make a banquet complete

Heresay continued as shooting wrapped, and post-production began. At this moment, the rumor of a love triangle among leads Zhou Xun, Zhang Ziyi and Daniel Wu are causing quite a stir. Fans can't help but wonder if it's just another promotional stunt.

On the official "Banquet" website, director Feng writes that "Chinese culture can't be reflected merely by piling up colors". Many see this as a snide swipe at other top directors in the country.

To tell the truth, or not to tell the truth, it's not that important. No matter how far the rumors go, "The Banquet" is truly a visual feast. And what really counts is to draw the lion's share of an unforgiving movie market.



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