Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lancel Bags Zhou Xun


Have you ever thought of the similarity between French actress Isabelle Adjani and Chinese actress Zhou Xun?

Both are intelligent and dedicated actresses admired and scrutinized by their countrymen. Adjani won four Cesar Awards between 1981 and 1994 while Zhou has so far swept all of China's film awards including the Hundred Flowers Awards known as China's Academy Awards, the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Taiwan Golden Horse Film Awards.

Both are small and delicate beauties with large and deep eyes, dark hair and porcelain skin. Their fragile looks suit them for roles as emotionally or physically exploited women. Intensity, the fierce wounded stare of a woman at once independent and painfully vulnerable, is the essence of their screen persona - and, on all the evidence, of themselves.

And last but not the least, they change lovers frequently.

For all the above, don't you think they really have much in common? And now somebody has discovered it and connected them together with a bag.

The man is Marc Lelandais, CEO of the 130-year-old French bag brand Lancel. After choosing Adjani as the muse for the brand, he announced Zhou as the ambassador of Lancel in China on Thursday.

"The choice of the Chinese ambassador of Lancel is the result of the cross-cultural communication between the East and West. The message we want to express through Zhou is that the French Legerete is not only for Parisian women but can also be found on Chinese ladies," says Lelandais. "Legerete" is close in meaning to the English word legerity, sometimes used to denote gracefulness.

"We selected Zhou from many nominees. I have watched many movies featuring Zhou. She can be sweet, charming, natural, straight, sexy and multi-faced. All these characteristics are what Lancel women have. We believe Zhou perfectly embodies Lancel just as Adjani does."

Zhou enjoys the collaboration with the French label for which she has toured Paris and Shanghai for many photo shoots. She has posed at the Champs-Elysees, cafes in Paris and bars in Shanghai.

"Every label has its unique characteristics. Whenever a brand approaches me to be its spokesperson, I try to know all about it and ask myself if it fits me," says the actress.

"In my trips to Paris and Shanghai for photo shoots, I sensed a certain chemistry between Lancel and me. We did many innovative shoots and it was a really fascinating collaboration. Every photo tells a story, like a movie," says the actress whose three movies In The Equation of Love and Death (Li Mi de Caixiang), The Painted Skin (Hua Pi) and Not All Women are Bad (Nuren Buhuai) are set to dominate China's cinema screens in the autumn and winter.

(Source: China Daily 10/11/2008 page6)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New poster of "Not All Women Are Bad" released

The poster of the movie "Not All Women Are Bad" starring Chinese mainland actresses Zhou Xun and Zhang Yuqi, and Taiwan actress Guey Lun-mei was released recently


The character played by Zhou Xun steals something from another woman's bag in this poster.


The character played by Guey Lun-mei is a maniacal guitarist.


The character played by Zhang Yuqi secretly polishes her shoes with another woman's clothes.



Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Painted Skin heads record-breaking holiday week in China

Sen-lun Yu in Beijing
09 Oct 2008 05:46

Box office during the seven-day National Day holiday period in mainland China reached a record $24.85m (RMB170m), according to figures released yesterday, which is a 220% increase on the same period last year.

Gordon Chan's fantasy drama Painted Skin, Benny Chan's action thriller Connected and 3D movie Journey To The Centre Of The Earth stand out as the three top-grossing films during the week Sept 29-Oct 5.

Painted Skin grossed $16m (RMB110m) during the seven days marking a new record for National Day holiday box office. Connected grossed $3.16m (RMB21.6m) during the holidays, which is seven times that of its first-weekend gross.

Journey To The Centre Of The Earth took in $3.07m (RMB21m) during the holidays, also a new record for 3D movies in mainland China.

Painted Skin has also become one of the fastest films to break the RMB100m threshold in China. The film grossed over RMB100m on its sixth day of screening, which ties with Curse Of The Golden Flower in 2006 and is second to the performance of Red Cliff which broke the RMB100m benchmark in four days.

In total, Painted Skin has grossed $24.85m (RMB170m) up until Wednesday night. In Hong Kong, the film took in around $900,000 (HK$7m) and in Singapore and Malaysia the box office gross is estimated at just under $1m, according to Michael Lai, sales manager of Eastern Mordor, which handles international sales of the film.

This means that the pan-Asian gross of the film stands at around $26.5m. The film will open in Korea on October 23 on more than 240 screens, with Art Service handling Korean distribution, according to Lai.

Analysts attribute the 220% growth to two factors. Firstly, films released during the holidays had higher print release and screen counts than in previous years. Painted Skin was released on around 1,200 screens (611 film prints, plus more than 500 digital screens). Connected was released on more than 400 prints and 300 digital screens.

The recent increase in digital screens has helped to boost the scale of releases in China. As of the end of August 2008, there were 800 2K digital screens in mainland China, according to the Film Bureau under the State Administration Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).

Secondly, this year's October holidays have seen the release of more diverse genres of films. In addition to fantasy and action genres such as Painted Skin and Connected, audiences could see French adventure comedy Astérix Aux Jeux Olympiques, German animation Hui Buh: The Castle Ghost and Chinese contemporary comedy Set Off.

Each of these smaller releases grossed between $360,000 (RMB2.5m) to $730, 000 (RMB5m) during the holiday period.



Monday, October 06, 2008

Painted Skin tops box office during the national day holidays


Going to the cinema was a popular way of amusement for many Chinese during the National Day holidays. Painted Skin was the biggest hit in the week with an average box office of 143 millions Yuan per day. The movie was an adaptation from the famous Chinese literature ghost story Liaozhai. The movie was based on the love storied among six main characters, which tried to show the power of love: what people can do for love, from the wickedest of the noblest. Zhen Zidan, Zhou Xun, Zhao Wei, Chen Kun, Sun Li and Qi Yuwu co-starred in the movie.



Saturday, October 04, 2008

"Painted Skin": Film and Review

Written by Derek Elley
Saturday, 04 October 2008

"Painted Skin"("Wa pei")

(Hong Kong/ China)

A Golden Sun Films (in Hong Kong)/Eastern Mordor (in China) release of a Golden Sun Films (H.K.)/Ningxia Film Studio, Shanghai Film Group (China)/MediaCorp Raintree Pictures (Singapore) production, in association with Dinglongda Intl. Media, Beijing Eastern Mordor Film Co., Wuhan Hua Qi Film & TV, Beijing New Film Assn. (International sales: Eastern Mordor Film Co., Hong Kong.) Produced by Gordon Chan. Executive producers, Kathy Lan, Yang Hongtao, Ren Zhonglun, Daniel Yun. Co-producers, Wang Ruojun, Wang Baoxia, Liu Guangmei, Wei Jian. Directed by Gordon Chan. Co-directed by Andy Chin, Danny Ko. Screenplay, Lau Ho-leung, Abe Kwong, Chan, based on the short story in the collection "Strange Stories From a Chinese Studio" by Pu Songling.

With: Donnie Yen, Zhou Xun, Chen Kun, Vicki Zhao, Sun Li, Qi Yuwu, Jiu Song.
(Mandarin dialogue)

Dubiously billing itself as "the first Eastern supernatural movie from China" -- what about "The Promise," for starters? -- costumer "Painted Skin" weighs in as an off-the-shelf drama-actioner that would have seemed much better 20 years ago. Assembled by a largely Hong Kong tech crew, but starring mostly Mainland thesps, yarn about a mysterious femme who's actually a flesh-eating fox-devil is the third and weakest pic version of the famous classical short story in the past 40 years. Opening across East Asia in late September, film scored good opening numbers in China but likely will be an ancillary item in Western markets.
Surprisingly selected as Hong Kong's submission for the foreign-lingo Oscar category, pic was originally slated for helmer Wilson Yip but ended up in the hands of vet Gordon Chan, plus journeymen co-directors Andy Chin and Danny Ko. Hong Kong star Donnie Yen, as a general-turned-ghostbuster, is eclipsed by his Mainland femme cast (Zhou Xun, Vicki Zhao, Sun Li), though the raggedy script and by-the-numbers direction don't give the thesps much chance to shine.
Story is one of hundreds collected by Qing dynasty scribe Pu Songling, best known in English as "Strange Stories From a Chinese Studio" but also as "Strange Stories of Liaozhai." (King Hu's "A Touch of Zen" came from the same collection.)
Original short story features just three characters -- husband, wife, mysterious house guest. It was best adapted in the 1966 Hong Kong production "The Painted Skin." A 1993 version by Hu, like the present item, stirred in a whole host of added material to enlarge its scope.

Setting is the Yuan dynasty: Soldiers rescue beautiful orphan Xiao Wei (Zhou) from desert bandits. This baffling opening, only explained much later in flashback, also sketches the character of Gen. Pan Yong (Yen), who's resigned his post and ended up a drunken vagrant.

Film starts to gain focus as Xiao Wei is taken in by Gen. Wang (Chen Kun) and his wife, Peirong (Zhao), who both dote on the excessively courteous young woman. But three months after she is adopted, the city is terrorized by an unknown killer who rips out human hearts.

Peirong, who's become less enamored of Xiao Wei than her hubby, suspects she may be a demon in human disguise, and asks Pan, who served with her husband, for his help. Meanwhile, Pan has become buddies with tomboy ghostbuster Xia Bing (Sun, in pic's most larky perf), who's been on the trail of Xiao Wei for years for killing a relative.

One of China's most versatile actresses, Zhou ("Suzhou River," "The Banquet") is good at switching between Xiao Wei's evil and goody-goody sides, but the jerky script, which shows signs of cutting, doesn't develop any dramatic steam between the characters, apart from a minimal face-off between Xiao Wei and Peirong near the end. As Peirong, Zhao seems constricted, though not as much as Chen, as her husband, again miscast in a macho role.

Action sequences are '80s-style Hong Kong fare, with an opening desert battle and a nighttime rooftop chase that are just OK. Visual effects are ditto. Color on print caught had a washed-out look.



Thursday, October 02, 2008

Painted Skin is top with Singapore and China movie-goers

SINGAPORE: Romantic-horror epic film, Painted Skin emerged as the Number One movie in Singapore cinemas over weekend, despite the presence of the first Singapore Forumla One race and Hollywood draws such as Mamma Mia! The Movie.

The film topped Singapore's weekend box office raking in more than S$471,000 in just over over three days.

The production by MediaCorp Raintree Pictures, Scorpio East Pictures and Golden Village Pictures opened on 26 September, in Singapore, Thailand and China.

Movie-fans in China gave their endorsement of the new spin to the Chinese tale with cinemas collecting over RMB$50 million on the first opening weekend of Painted Skin, beating other Chinese blockbusters such as The Assembly and The Warlords.

The cinema debut of Painted Skin, is believed to've been scheduled earlier than planned so it could be eligible for submission as Hong Kong's entry to the Oscars under the foreign-language category.

Helmed by Hong Kong director Gordon Chan, Painted Skin, is an adaption of the Chinese classic “Strange Tales of Liaozhai”.

The story delves into the relationships between man and demon, love and passion, loyalty and temptation and is given a new treatment with special fantasy elements.



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