Thursday, November 19, 2009

CineAsia to honor Zhou Xun

HONG KONG – Chinese actress Zhou Xun will be honored as the "star of the year" at next month's CineAsia exhibition and distribution convention in Hong Kong.

Zhou's claim to the honor lies with her starring role in three of the biggest Chinese films of the year: recently released hit "The Message," and upcoming "True Legend" ("Su Qi Er") and "Confucius."

The 33-year-old is an 18-year-veteran of the film industry having achieved a breakthrough with her starring role in "Suzhou River." She has since collected acting prizes from most of the available Chinese-language awards series. These include China's Hundred Flowers Awards, the Hong Kong Film Awards, Hong Kong's Golden Bauhinia Awards, Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards and the regional Asian Film Awards.

"It is very exciting for us to recognize Ms. Zhou and we look forward to following her career in the years to come," said Robert H. Sunshine, managing director of the event.

The prize will be presented to her on the last night of the CineAsia convention (Dec. 8-10) at Hong Kong's Convention and Exhibition Centre.

CineAsia and The Hollywood Reporter are both part of the Nielsen Business Media group.



'The Message' Trilogy on Agenda

Spy thriller "The Message", China's first commercial espionage flick, is to have a prequel and a sequel following its ever-improving box office performance since its premiere in Chinese cinemas on September 29.

The movie's investor, mainland entertainment giant Huayi Bros, has declared an ambitious plan to extend The Message into a trilogy with an unlimited budget after the film scooped 195 million yuan on the mainland in its first two weeks. Hong Kong and Taiwan theaters will also run the spy drama from the end of October.

According to Huayi, stories for the prequel and sequel will be based around some of the more obscure characters from this installment, but the production crew and cast will remain the same for the upcoming two installments.

As announced last week, The Message scored six nods at the Golden Horse Film Awards, a much-coveted honor in the Chinese film industry. Lead actresses Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing were both nominated for the award of Best Actress in a Leading Role. This year's Golden Horse ceremony will take place in Taipei on November 28.



The Message review (6)

A fortnight has barely passed and The Founding of a Republic is, amazingly, no longer even the month’s most ludicrous Chinese blockbuster to rouse our nationalistic spirit. Directed by Chen Kuofu (Double Vision) and Gao Qunshu (Old Fish), The Message has been billed by its local distributors as “the first billion-dollar budget Chinese-language spy movie in sixty years”. One gets the sense that the sky’s the limit if that budget had been halved – considering how the stylistic overkill of its digitally animated sequences has distracted from the actors’ genuine performances in this otherwise hugely satisfying mystery thriller.

The year is 1942, and five officials working in traitor Wang Jingwei’s puppet government – among them an expert code-breaker Li (Li Bingbing), her close friend and feisty associate Gu (Zhou Xun), and violent military captain Wu (Zhang Hanyu) – are summoned and held captive for interrogation by Japanese colonel Takeda (Huang Xiaoming), with one in the group believed to be a resistance infiltrator codenamed Phantom. On the other side of the battle, the unidentified, fiercely patriotic mole has to get word outside to abort a misconceived mission, the execution of which will likely spell the end of the resistance force.

Set largely within the walls of a spooky castle on a cliff by the seaside, which looks about as realistic as Xanadu in Citizen Kane, The Message quickly ditches its larger historical backdrop and reveals itself to be an excellent spin of the traditional country-house whodunit. Without resorting to gadget-flashing actions, this espionage film does nonetheless have its fair share of eye-openers, featuring sadistic methods of torture and humiliation in its interrogation scenes that would be equally at home in your average exploitation flick.

What impresses most, however, is the film’s collectively outstanding cast, many of whose roles are rendered with complex psychological shadings. It’s hard not to be touched by the lengths that the resistance fighters are willing to go to, all in the name of loyalty to their cause. Bearing in mind that this is a Mainland Chinese production set at the height of the Sino-Japanese War (which is a way of saying that we all know who the story’s ultimate winner will be), it’s all the more remarkable how The Message, with its gripping character drama, still manages to thoroughly engage and fascinate.

Edmund Lee



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

[Clip] Zhou Xun in 27th Golden Rooster Award

Zhou Xun on red carpet

Zhou Xun received "Best actress" award

Interview after Zhou Xun received "Best actress" award

Clip on Sohu, Sina - credit: cpy @
Re-up: mylove @


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Zhou Xun Celebrates 35th Birthday and Best Actress Award

Photobucket Photobucket

Actress Zhou Xun celebrated her 35th birthday on Sunday by winning the Best Actress award at the Golden Rooster Film Festival in Nanchang, capital city of east China's Jiangxi province, the New Express reports.

Zhou's contract agency, Huayi Bros., threw a big birthday party for her in suburban Nanchang on early Sunday morning just after the awards ceremony ended. The celebration marked Zhou's birthday as well as the six awards won by the company's artists and productions.

Famous directors, actors and actresses including Huang Jianxin, Zhang Hanyu, Deng Chao, Sun Li, Ren Quan and Dong Xuan attended the party hosted by actor-director Zhang Guoli.

As the celebrities posed for a group photo, fireworks exploded for more than 10 minutes. Zhou was onstage addressing the guests when her mobile phone rang. Upon the request of the host, she held her phone in front of the microphone so all could hear her boyfriend, real estate heir Wang Shuo, wish her a happy birthday.



The Message review (5)

HONG KONG -- Extravagantly produced to exude an abundance of period elegance, danger and intrigue that sparks associations with "Lust, Caution," "The Message" is a '40s Sino-Japanese spy thriller that's replaced lust with torture as the porn. Co-directing with Taiwan's Chen Kuo-fu ("Double Vision"), who also supplies the elaborate screenplay, China's Gao Qunshu turns his craft at mounting suspense from events set in a tight space and time frame (exemplified by his bomb-detonation thriller "Old Fish") to a more psychological rather than situation-driven level.

Although showy visual effects and cinematography strain the moviemaking, these bells and whistles were designed to impress the target mainland audience, who gave their seal of approval by filling cinemas on opening National Day weekend.

Overseas audiences may feel ambushed by the flurry of characters and historical facts that the film rushes through, although essentially the set-up is a variation on an Agatha Christie whodunnit. In 1942, five personnel in the intelligence unit of Wang Jingwei's traitor regime are confined for five days in a villa in the suburbs of Beijing. Three of them are central figures: Morse code expert Ningyu (Lee Bingbing), mailroom staffer Xiaomeng and army captain Wu Jinguo (Zhang Hanyu). One of them is an infiltrator code-named Phantom.

To unmask Phantom's identity, Japanese colonel Takeda (Huang Xiaoming) and his collaborator Wang play the suspects off each other, crushing them mentally and physically with cruel means. Phantom must be equally ruthless to survive and get a message out to resistance leader Magnum.

The mind games, not particularly subtle, are effectively twisted, but the torture scenes are what this film will be remembered for. They are choreographed to abet imagination of unspeakable pain and horror without showing anything really graphic (thus getting around censorship). The sensational array of instruments and methods makes "Hostel" and "Martyrs" seem like one-trick ponies. This rarefied depiction of torture as a sophisticated art form makes one shudder more at the sick minds behind it.

Of the three central figures, Zhou and Li perform with the expressive grace of silent movie heroines. Even as a coquettish rich girl, Zhou hints at inner depth. As the less worldly Ningyu, Li displays poise where one expects hysteria when navigating perilous situations. The male leads don't stand up to them. Huang is especially wooden, and squanders the chance to develop a role already attributed with complex motives. It also is awkward to see Zhang play a collaborator with the same upstanding dignity as the Communist officer in "The Assembly."

Some of the production's heaviest investments are its most glaring aspects, like the CGI overkill, and the ostentatious cinematography by Jake Pollock. The villa is never framed without the fly-cam swooping and fluttering around it, making it look like one of those those haunted castles in Roger Corman movies. Even when the female leads are having a tete-a-tete, the camera swivels and sweeps around them so much you want to shoo it away so as concentrate on the ensemble acting.

Venue: Pusan International Film Festival -- Closing film

Sales: Huayi Brothers Media Corporation Ltd.
Production: Huayi Brothers Media Corporation Ltd, Shanghai Film Group Corp.
Cast: Zhou Xun, Li Bingbing, Zhang Hanyu, Huang Xiaoming, Su Youpeng
Directors: Gao Qunshu, Chen Kuo-fu
Screenwriter: Chen Kuo-fu
Based on the novel by: Mai Jia
Producer: Wang Zhongjun
Executive producer: Feng Xiaogang
Director of photography: Jake Pollock
Production designer: Xiao Haihang
Art director-costume designer: Tim Yip
Music: Michiru Oshima
Editor: Xiao Yang
No rating, 120 minutes



"The Message" review (4)

Golden Age Hollywood meets Chinese period melodrama in "The Message," a full-bore WWII spy whodunit that plays like an Asian cross between "Clue" and "Now, Voyager." Laden with homages to classic Warner Bros. dramas and tips of the hat to mystery writers like Agatha Christie, this star-laden monster-mash will prove too rich a mixture for most Western palates. But for those prepared to go the distance (and fans of popular Asian cinema), it's an exhilarating, intensely cinematic ride. The reportedly $7 million pic swamped Chinese theaters Sept. 30 and took a hefty $10 million in its opening weekend.

Script by Taiwanese writer-director Chen Kuo-fu ("Double Vision," "The Personals"), who co-helmed with bright mainland Chinese talent Gao Qunshu ("Tokyo Trial," "Old Fish"), is liberally adapted from the 2007 Mai Jia novel that formed the last in a trilogy of stories about WWII code-breakers. Aside from its star-heavy cast and fine production values, the pic undoubtedly benefited locally from Mai's recent fame with a successful TV adaptation of the second book in the trilogy.

Opening reel -- which starts with an aerial swoop-down on October 1942 Nanjing, where the invading Japanese have set up a puppet Chinese government to draw support away from the official KMT one -- contains a mass of information and character introductions that's hard to digest on a first viewing. In short order, a puppet-government lackey (Duan Yihong) is shot by a female rebel (Liu Weiwei), who's later caught and tortured for info.

Col. Takeda (Huang Xiaoming) discovers there's a rebel mole inside his own counterinsurgency center. The mole could be one of five people, all of whom he invites to a remote mansion in the mountains for what becomes a classic locked-room whodunit.

The suspects are cool but foxy decoding department head Li Ningyu (Li Bingbing), the best code-breaker in the business; administrative officer Gu Xiaomeng (Zhou Xun), a spoiled rich girl who arrives with a massive hangover; military office section chief Wu Zhiguo (Zhang Hanyu), a tough, battle-scarred soldier; officer Bai Xiaonian (Taiwan's Alec Su), a flamboyant homosexual; and section chief Jin Shenguo (comedian Ying Da), a bluff, portly vet.

The host of the meeting is Commissioner Wang (Wang Zhiwen), a half-psychotic Chinese turncoat. But it's Takeda who's the real host, telling the five suspects that no one is leaving until the mole, codenamed Phantom, is unmasked.

The subsequent hour, entirely set in the European-style baronial residence and its adjoining torture chamber, is a classic potboiler mystery-thriller, as the suspects quarrel, scheme and are picked off one by one by Takeda. Labyrinthine plot is both clever and highly unlikely, but realism is hardly the issue in what is basically an old-fashioned multistar vehicle in which the thesps strut their stuff.

Pic is billed locally as China's first wartime spy movie, which is not exactly true. But it's certainly the first done in such a lavish style, and with so many cross-cultural cinematic references.

Some auds may be troubled by the copious torture sequences, which, though they rely more on suggestion than graphic visuals, are especially squirm-inducing in the case of the women. Their dramatic overdrive harks back to a whole tradition in Chinese cinema (both mainland and offshore) of Japanese nasties doing horrid things to Chinese patriots.

The petite Zhou brings her usual gravel-voiced vampiness to the character of Gu, but Li, as the cool codebreaker, quietly trumps her in the acting stakes. Hot new star Huang, speaking slightly accented Mandarin, is excellent as the sadistic, increasingly desperate Takeda, while the experienced Zhang and Wang face off among the older male players.

CG effects, done in China, are smoothly showy, deliberately evoking a '30s/'40s look, and costuming by Hong Kong ace Tim Yip ("Red Cliff," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") and Wu Baoling is as rich as the score by Michiru Oshima and lensing by Taiwan-based Jake Pollock ("Yang Yang").

Reportedly, Gao handled most of the actual direction while Chen focused more on script and producer duties. Pic has no overriding visual style, swinging between sweeping crane shots and handheld closeups -- disappointing, given the rich production design, but adding to the film's restless energy.

Huayi has promised a three-hour version on DVD, which could help to fill in some of the backstories -- including that of Gu's lover (Natori Masayuki), only referenced in some confusing flashbacks. Chinese title literally translates as "The Sound of the Wind," but also means "rumors" or "information."

Camera (color, widescreen), Jake Pollock; editor, Xiao Yang; music, Michiru Oshima; art director, Xiao Haihang; costume designers, Tim Yip, Wu Baoling; sound (Dolby Digital), Wang Danrong; visual effects, Wonder Star VFX; visual effects supervisor, Hu Xuan; assistant director, Zhang Lidong. Reviewed at Megabox 8, Beijing, Oct. 6, 2009. (Also in Pusan Film Festival -- closer.) Running time: 114 MIN.

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'Message' takes $22 mil in 10 days

By Jonathan Landreth
Oct 9, 2009

BEIJING -- "The Message," a period Sino-Japanese spy thriller starring actress Zhou Xun, earned 150 million yuan (US$22 million) in its first 10 days in Chinese theaters, independent film production company Huayi Bros Pictures said Friday.

Released across China on 2,000 screens on Sept. 29 after a 13-city press tour, "The Message" will close the ongoing Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea on Oct. 16.

The film, co-directed by Taiwan screenwriter Chen Kuo-fu ("Double Vision") and China's Gao Qunshu and made for $10 million, will be distributed in Taiwan by Disney and the Emperor Group in Hong Kong.

Set in Japanese-occupied Nanjing during WWII, "The Message" also has sold to Skycity in New Zealand, to Pt. Teguh Bakti Mandiri in Indonesia, to Scorpio East Pictures for Singapore and Malaysia, and to an as yet named distributor in Thailand, Huayi said.

Zhou previously starred in the 2008 hit "Painted Skin" and is best known outside Asia for her roles in films such as "The Emperor and the Assassin," (1998), "Suzhou River" (2000) and "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" (2002).

"The Message" also stars Zhang Hanyu, the male lead in the 2007 PIFF opener "Assembly," also from Huayi, actress Li Bingbing ("The Forbidden Kingdom") and actor Huang Xiaoming ("The Sniper").



“The Message” Tops the Box Office during China’s National Holiday Week

The Message (Feng Sheng) topped the coveted national holiday week, with 150 million RMB (22 USD) which is really, really high to the point of raising eyebrows. Either way, the film has done what Hua Yi has out to do – be a blockbuster, and showcase some of its finest actors, which has been accomplished with both main actresses nabbing Golden Horse nods. Actor Huang Xiaoming also got to show off his improvement singing, by performing the theme song live rather impressively (though not enough for me to want another album from him). Li Bingbing and Alec Su look like they’re enjoying the performance too.

Meanwhile together with The Founding of a Republic’s high returns, this has become the higest grossing weekend in Chinese box office history, and Founding of a Republic broke the 360 million yuan mark.



Friday, October 09, 2009

Zhou Xun is nominated for "Best actress" in the 46th Golden Horse Awards

Nominations for the 46th Taiwan Golden Horse film awards were released in Taibei Xihua Hotel on Wednesday, October 7th 2009. Due to the role Gu Xiao Meng in the movie "The Message" Zhou Xun is nominated for "Best actress". "It is very good that many island actors are nominated this year. "The Message" is a wholehearted movie. I was fortunate to be accepted. Many thanks to director who gave me this role. The prcocess of filming is baptism of body and mind for me. Thanks to Taiwanese audiences who continue to support to me. Thanks to everybody" said Zhou Xun after the nomination list had been announced.

"The Message" also received 6 nominations: Best actress (Zhou Xun and Li Bing Bing), Best Screenplay Adaption (Chen Kuo-Fu & Zhang Jialu), Best Visual Effects (Hu Xuan & Xiao Yang), Best Art Direction (Shi Haiying & Yang Haoyu)and Best Makeup & Costume Design (Ye Jingtian).

The movie "The Equation of love and death" received 2 nominations: Best Original Film Score (Dou Wei & Bi Xiao Di) and Best Supporting Actor (Zhang Han Yu).

Awards ceremony will be held on November 28th in Taipei.

E-trans: mylove @


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Zhou Xun and Li Bing Bing deliver The Message

11:37 September 30 2009

The Message, a thriller based on Mai Jia's novel of the same name, is set to dominate the Chinese box office during the National Day golden week. Directed by Gao Qunshu (The Tokyo Trial) and Chen Kuo-fu (The Personals), The Message has a star-studded cast including Zhou Xun (Painted Skin), Li Bingbing (The Forbidden Kingdom), Zhang Hanyu (Look for a Star) and Huang Xiaoming (The Sniper).


Touted in the media as "one of China's best commercial films," The Message tells the story of a Japanese official and the puppet government attempting to find an undercover agent among five suspects during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. The film is dedicated to the 60th anniversary of New China and those who sacrificed their lives for the country.

"I will not reveal anything about the plot," laughed Li Bingbing, who plays one of the suspects, "it will totally kill half the fun of watching this thriller."
The crew signed a confidentiality agreement during shooting. "Chen, who also wrote the script, kept changing it. We did not even know how the film would end halfway through shooting," Zhou Xun told the Global Times.

Zhou said that she hopes the audience will get involved in guessing who the undercover agent is, which is the best part of watching the thriller. "You probably won't get it right. Chen's script is really smart," she added with a triumphant smile.

Zhou said that the biggest challenge for her was that the directors asked her to act naturally. "We had to forget about being actresses and completely devote ourselves to the roles."

Such devotion is best reflected in the film's climax, a 13-minute scene that Li and Zhou shot in one take. Zhou said Li's performance amazed her. "As Li had always been quiet and precise, I did not expect such a strong outburst of emotion from her. I had to put myself more into my role to match her."


"The secret is that I drank some alcohol before shooting," Li confessed. She said that she seldom drank before, but she was told to forget about herself completely.
"Zhou and I were both so devoted to our roles that I could not feel the cameras and crew around us, we were immersed in the scene, just the two of us."
"Few actors get the opportunity to perform in a one-take scene with such length. I'm really lucky and I enjoyed the process," Li added.

Li also shot her first nude scene. She chose not to use a stand-in because she wanted to deliver a strong performance.

"Still, it was my first time to be half naked on screen, I of course had my worries and concerns," Li said. "Luckily when the cameras started to roll I forgot about my concerns and simply went with how my character should feel and react. Besides, Huang is really professional. Acting with him was comfortable, even though he had to strip my clothes off."


Zhou commented that working with two directors was beneficial. "Chen and Gao shared the same understandings about this film, but they looked at and communicated with me about my acting with different approaches, which helped me create the role more completely."

Zhou said that Chen focused more on the script while Gao was more involved in the shooting process and Chen is more strict and solemn than Gao. "But they are both good at making actors feel at ease and performing to their best potential."
"They knew exactly how to shoot the film and understood every role deeply," commented Li. She said that the two directors gave her valuable feedback.


The relationship between Zhou and Li is complicated in the film. "I'm her supervisor at work, but we are also close, like sisters," Li explained, "but at the same time, we keep our secrets from each other." Zhou added that media speculation about their characters becoming intimate was untrue.

As two of China's leading actresses and signed by the same agency, Zhou and Li's relationship also appears complicated in real life. There have often been rumors in the media about the two being on bad terms. Li clarified them by saying that Zhou was like her younger sister.

"We were not so close before because we are both busy and have little time to get along," she added. Li said this film gave them more time to get to know each other. "She even cooked sweet soup with pears when she found out that I was not sleeping well."



The Message: Spies world

Stars of espionage thriller The Message Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing prove that besides their beauty, they have the acting abilities to boot
October 02, 2009


She has received one of the highest compliments a director can shower on acast member.


In a recent interview with Chinese news portal, Chen Kuo-fu, the director of espionage thriller The Message, told reporters: 'When it comes to acting, Zhou Xun is in a league of her own, she's an alien from another planet, simply incomparable to the other ordinary actors out there.'

Indeed, the 32-year-old Chinese actress has proven herself to be one flexible chameleon on the silver screen.

From a cabaret singer in the musical, Perhaps Love (2005), to a lovelorn girl pining for her prince in The Banquet (2006), to a fiery mob lady in arthouse action flick Ming Ming (2006), she has turned in natural, convincing performances.


In The Message, set against the backdrop of a 1940s Japanese-controlled China, Zhou Xun plays a mailroom staff member of the Japanese-backed Anti-Communist Command.

She and her squad mates become the main targets of torture of the Japanese Imperial Army, when they are suspected of being moles for the Chinese resistance movement.

'The most difficult part about playing Gu Xiaomeng (her character) is the fact that she's terribly repressed,' said Zhou Xun, in an e-mail interview with The New Paper.

'She is very careful about revealing her true self and is always secretly making plans.

'I had to play her with subtlety and it was only towards the end that her emotions explode.'

Liking your character is the first step to portraying her well.


Zhou Xun loves the inner strength Gu Xiaomeng possesses, but admits that in real life, she is a different person altogether.

'Xiaomeng's thoughts and feelings are too complicated,' she said.

'Beneath her sunny exterior, there's an intricate maze in her heart. As for me, off screen, I'm actually simpler and definitely less rational than her.'

After filming The Message, Zhou Xun has come to admire the men and women who lived through the war.

'A few characters in the film never fail to put nation before self, they have no qualms giving up their lives for their country. It's an amazing act of selflessness.'

Prior to working on The Message, Zhou Xun was last seen as a kooky lab researcher in director Tsui Hark's comedy All About Women (2008).

Was the change from laugh-out-loud comedy to heavy, dramatic material too hard to handle?

'Both films were challenging. I had never done comedy before All About Women, so it wasn't easy at first. I had to learn how to laugh in different ways,' said the two-time Hong Kong Film Awards winner.

She bagged Best Actress for Perhaps Love in 2005, and Best Supporting Actress a year later for her role in The Banquet.

'There was a year's break in between the two movies, so coming onto the set of The Message, I had already adjusted my emotional state.'

The serious actress then brushed away the much talked-about scene in The Message, where she attempts to distract a security guard in her sexy nightwear.

'People bring that up because it grabs their attention, but I don't feel it's so important that I should keep talking about it,' she said.

'We shouldn't put our focus on that scene alone. The film is more than that.'



"The Message" review (3)

There is something about movies which help people like this reviewer to learn more about history. The bombing of Pearl Harbour? Thank you, Michael Bay. The rise and fall of Eva Peron? Thank you, Alan Parker. And closer to home, the legacy of the Soong Sisters? Thank you, Mabel Cheung. And that is why, whenever a war espionage film like this one comes along, this reviewer would deem it the perfect opportunity to beef up his limited knowledge of what happened in the past. Fictional or not, pictures like this allow viewers to get a peek of what it was like to live in that era, where everyone seemed more patriotic and less self centered.

Directors Chen Kuo-fu (Double Vision) and Gao Qunshu (The Tokyo Trial) transport viewers back some 70 years back to Nanking during the terrible times of World War II. It was a time when dangerous spies lurk round every corner, and you had no idea who to trust. The film’s limelight falls on a group of suspects gathered in a mansion by a Japanese spy chief. One by one these suspects are eliminated, but the essential member of this patriotic group must send out a crucial message at all means while protecting his (or her?) true identity. What ensues is a drama which develops itself finely like a game of Cluedo, where the mastermind of the game must hide his (or her?) true intentions behind the torturous proceedings in the grand captive ground.

Based on a novel, Chen wrote the screenplay for this “cat and mouse” game which engagingly provides a glimpse for today’s audiences of what it means to feel nationalistic pride in the past. It does evoke that sense of devotion and loyalty, and makes you wonder whether a local film can stir up the same feeling? While this doubt’s answers lies in the vast differences in culture and history, one cannot overlook the impressive production values of this film boasting Feng Xiaogang’s (If You Are The One) name as its executive producer.

The two hour movie manages to bring together some credible names to create an authentic look for the movie. Jake Pollock (Yang Yang)’s lush cinematography enhances the intricate costume design by Tim Yip (Red Cliff). The comfortable pacing of the editing, the well executed soundscape and the entrancing production design will mesmerize viewers from beginning to end.

And thankfully, the storytelling does not disappoint too. The gradual build up of the plot culminates in a finale which may be arguably predictable, but works well for a film of this genre. Credit goes to the spot on cast, all of whom shine in their own character. There is Zhang Hanyu (Assembly) as a long suffering militarist, Huang Xiaoming (Sniper) as the Japanese soldier, Alec Su (L-O-V-E) as a lieutenant and Li Bingbing (The Forbidden Kingdom). Zhang and Huang exudes charisma in their pain inflicted roles, Su creates quite a show with his portrayal of an effeminate officer and Li makes viewers feel her agony with a unique aura of quietness. There is nothing to fault with the acting, as it is with Zhou Xun’s (Perhaps Love) code breaker character. Effortlessly moving through the film with her distinctive allure, she is no doubt one of the greatest movie actresses of our time.

There is something about movies which help people like this reviewer to learn more about history. And despite being a fictional thriller, this finely made production has left this reviewer wondering what it was like to live in a time when you lived for your country.

by John Li


"The Message" review (2)

THE MESSAGE is the kind of old-school wartime spy thriller that Hollywood doesn't really make anymore. VALKYRIE came close and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS was a different beast entirely, but their sights seem firmly set on Iraq these days. China, however, in the midst of celebrating 60 glorious years of the People's Republic, has had a slew of films in recent years exploring that period from the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War until the founding of the PRC. Some films, like the excellent CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH, chose to play it very straight, whereas THE MESSAGE is far more interested in entertaining its audience than tugging on their heartstrings. It's one part WHERE EAGLE'S DARE, one part LUST, CAUTION (remember the scenes that didn't include Tony Leung's balls), with a dash of RESERVOIR DOGS and...something with interrogation in it.

It's 1942 and under Japanese occupation the Chinese political system is in total disarray, with politicians and other powerful leaders flip-flopping between Chiang Kai Shek's increasingly unpopular KMT and the Japanese-installed puppet government in Nanjing, under Premier Wang Jingwei. The government is doing all it can to lure reliable comrades away from the KMT, but is paranoid of increasing numbers of spies within its ranks relaying both their movements, and those of the Japanese military, to terrorist cells operating throughout the country.

After smearing a poor girl in beef paste and literally setting the dogs on her, a leak is revealed coming directly from the counter conspiracy offices in Nanjing. Ambitious young Japanese officer Takeda (Huang Xiaoming from THE SNIPER) sends a dummy message through the office. When that information appears in a coded message this narrows down the spy, known as the Phantom, to one of five possible suspects, who are all rounded up and shipped out to an isolated castle for interrogation. The five suspects include stenographer Gu (Zhou Xun), codebreaker Li (Li Bing Bing), Councilor Jin (Ying Da), Captain Wu (Zhang Hanyu) and Colonel Bai (Alec Su). Over the next five days they are observed, manipulated and tortured as Takeda and his cronies hope to extract the identity of the Phantom, and the whereabouts of terrorist leader, Magnum.

For the most part THE MESSAGE is rip roaring good fun, keeping the drama moving along at a cracking pace anchored by half a dozen or more solidly convincing performances. Zhou Xun's Gu is the spoilt party girl, who clearly has a knack for manipulation, while Li is a far more fragile and delicate creature. Zhang Hanyu keeps war hero Wu teetering between ferociously loyal and just plain ferocious, with an axe to grind for Gu. Alec Su brings a few moments of comic relief to the proceedings as the overtly camp Bai, while Ying Da's bumbling Councilor Jin is mostly there just to make up the numbers.

There are no big action set pieces in THE MESSAGE, but plenty of tense and occasionally brutal confrontations. It looks fantastic, with excellent costume work and set design that is almost to be expected from a Mainland production these days. One can't help but compare this film to the newly released FOUNDING OF A REPUBLIC, a film set at a similar time, and also light on action. Where that film felt dull, preachy and contrived, THE MESSAGE simply entertains through those classical cinematic traits of a good story, told well by more than competent storytellers.

Where the film loses points is in some of its secondary directorial flourishes. Some of the stylistic choices - in terms of musical cues or visual aesthetics - are totally at odds with the tone and mood of the rest of the film. The directors - Gao Qunshu (TOKYO TRIAL) and Chen Kuofu (DOUBLE VISION) - use over-cranked swirling aerial shots, split screen montages and frequent bizarre CGI vignettes of, for example, a telegram's electrical charge pulsing down cables, as if part of a David Fincher movie. At these moments, THE MESSAGE feels like a trailer, rather than an actual feature, and a trailer to a completely different film at that. However, once locations and situations have been established and the film is allowed to recommence its storytelling, THE MESSAGE is directed in a very assured manner - bringing tension to interrogations, brutality to the torture sequences and sympathy for the characters.

Narratively, things do get a little ridiculous at times. It should be conceded that in real life, these five suspects would have been simply rounded up and shot, rather than put through this elaborate five-day stand-off, but the performances and the drama win through, providing a genuinely entertaining experience even as you laugh at the occasionally preposterous nature of the plot.



"The Message" review (1)

For those anticipating Lu Chuan's epic Nanking movie City of Life and Death which will premiere this week, you might also want to check out The Message, now playing in cinemas and also set during the turbulent days of the Sino-Japanese war in China in the early 40s. While Lu Chuan's film tried to portray history through an objective lens, lending to it a documentary-like feel, The Message showed how Chinese cinema has grown to tap upon those dark days to create what would be an extremely well made tale of espionage, with insurgents and spies working effortlessly to bring misery to their Japanese occupiers.

Based upon the novel by Jia Mai, which Chen Kuo-fu has adapted the screenplay and shared directorial responsibilities with Gan Qunshu, The Message is a top notch tale of bluff versus bluff and dwindling trust, where a group of Counter-Insurgency Chinese troopers got called into a mansion for close interrogation, because one of them, codenamed The Phantom, is supposedly working for the resistance. It's curious times because you have the puppet Chinese government and their troops, the Japanese officers seeking to weed out traitors, and the resistance who have so far struck plenty of fear amongst the Japanese ranks because of their Basterds-like brutality, which the opening few minutes would let you have a taste of.

In essence it's a process of elimination, and while it is engaging on many levels - the story, the "whodunnit", the opulent and richly designed sets and costumes, swooping camerawork that will leave you breathless and that pulsating musical score, it somehow felt a little dragged out in its mid-section as it lingered on playing everything out in relative sequential order, and looked as if it's headed for a very straight-forward espionage tale in smoking out the spy amongst their midst, with some ingenuity of scheming, counter-scheming and baiting involved of course.

It's also because we tend to equate the biggest stars here, Zhou Xun and Li Bing Bing, as probably the most highly suspicious, and as the story continue to develop along that line, which is why the film had this unfair sense of familiarity going against it, which doesn't do justice to the film. What more, the inter-titles that frequently appear, continue to provide one clue too many as to whether the Japanese have got their man, or not. And that's probably the reason why some films work a lot better when it's a bunch of competent unknowns so that star power (naturally to attract an audience) doesn't factor in manipulating you.

However, it is the finale arc that elevated this film with its satisfying conclusion of the dangerous environment that resistance fighters often put themselves into. History has its fair share of tales on bravery and heroism, and I'm game to see a lot more of such war/espionage films coming out of the Chinese mainland, especially those with a solid story backed by excellent production values such as this one. If through films one can exorcise demons of the past, often through some form of escapism and fantasy, then perhaps the time has come for Chinese cinema to do just that, and to wow audiences around the world as well with universal themes.

The Message clearly is that it's highly recommended, and Hollywood better watch out!



Thursday, October 01, 2009

Zhou Xun publicly admits she is in love


At the Tuesday movie gala for upcoming blockbuster movie, The Message, Chinese actress Zhou Xun graciously admitted that she is currently in love with the son of a millionaire, Wang Shuo. This is the first time the actress publicly acknowledged her ongoing romance with Wang. Zhou smiled as she shared about a present she received from him during a charity auction.

A few days ago, Wang secretly placed bids in a Beijing charity auction through a phone with the help of Hong Kong actor, Jaycee Chan. He won the S$3.88-million bid of a palace-model donated by Jackie Chan. As Zhou was also present at the charity event, Chan surprised her and presented Zhou with the gift from Wang.

Earlier in June this year, Zhou publicly announced her split with ex-boyfriend-cum-stylist, Lee Da-chi. She was soon rumoured to be with the son of a wealthy tycoon businessman who is also the stepson of Chinese actress, Wang Yan.

According to media reports, Chan was said to be the matchmaker between Zhou and Wang. Said to be currently cohabitating together, the Rolls-Royce that Zhou commutes in is speculated to be a gift from her generous boyfriend.



Thursday, September 24, 2009

'The Message' Well Received

Cast members (from left to right) Li Bingbing, Huang Xiaoming and Zhou Xun promote the spy thriller "The Message" at the film's Beijing premiere on September 23, 2009. [Photo:]

The highly anticipated Chinese spy thriller "The Message" lived up to expectations Wednesday when lengthy applauses wrapped up its first public screening.

The film's Beijing premiere, held at a 1,000-seat hall at the Beijing Film Academy, attracted a jam-packed house. Lasting applause burst from the audience at the end of the screening, reports.

This was the first time the WWII suspense movie was screened in front of the public in full length.

Producer Wang Zhonglei excitedly told Sina at the premiere, "My goal throughout the production had been helping our cast and crew members win applause just like now."

"The Message", set in Japanese-occupied China in the 1940s, tells the story of a Japanese spy chief who, by using cruel interrogations, tries to identify a Chinese agent from a gathered group of suspects.

Li Bingbing and Zhou Xun, two of China's top actresses, are among the film's star-studded cast. They play two of the suspects, and both have said they suffered emotional ups and downs while portraying their characters. The actresses agreed "The Message" will become their new representative work.

Taiwan director Chen Kuo-Fu and Chinese mainland's Gao Qunshu co-directed the film, with Oscar-winning Timmy Yip designing the costumes.

The film will officially hit theaters on September 30. By then, it will join a long list of tribute films marking the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Message premiere in Tianjin

September 22nd 2009 "The Message" first premiere hold in Tianjin, China. All leading actors: Zhou Xun, Li Bing Bing, Zhang Han Yu, Alec Su, Wang Zhi Wen, Huang Xiao Ming ... and director Chen Guofu participated in the ceremony. They together gave blessing to China for Revolution's 60th anniversary. Zhou Xun (as Gu Xiao Meng) said: "Iam so happy to join the movie. Three months of shooting are our great time. I also feel happy when the movie used to salute unknown heroes in the war and it is a gift for China"

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E-trans: Mylove @


Monday, September 21, 2009

The Message in Pusan


The 14th Pusan International Film Festival, to be held in the city from October 8 to 16, will close with Chinese film The Message, the organizer announced Wednesday.

Directed by Chen Kuofu and Gao Qunshu, The Message stars some of China's top actors, including Zhou Xun (Perhaps Love), Li Bingbing (A World Without Thieves) and Zhang Hanyu (The Assembly). The film features Chinese people fighting against the Japanese invaders during the War of Resistance Against Japan and is dedicated to the 60th Anniversary of New China. It will screen on the Chinese mainland September 30.

Source: Global Times


'Spies' find their way into China's big screen


Perhaps the only thing that's not mysterious about spies is that they are becoming increasingly popular with China's film and TV viewers.

And the reason for that is, well, that spies are mysterious.

This autumn, The Message (Feng Sheng) will join the growing list of flicks about the shadowy lives of secret agents.

Set during China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), it stars seven A-listers, including Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing. The movie will also feature Li's first nude scene.

Oscar-winning designer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wohu Canglong) Tim Yip handmade the entire wardrobe. The set - two villas perched on a seaside cliff -features vintage furniture and ornaments collected from all over the country. The antique sofas, lights, tableware and LPs cost more than 4 million yuan ($580,000).

The storyline is loosely adapted from a novel by Mai Jia. Following the assassination of an official of the Japanese-controlled puppet government, the Japanese chief imprisons five suspects to flush out the planted agent.

One reason for spy thrillers' growing popularity is the strict set of restrictions the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) placed on the broadcasting time and content of crime TV series in 2004.

"Viewers aren't happy about the lack of crime shows, which are packed with drama and suspense, so some directors try spy stories," Jiang Wei, writer and director of smash spy TV series Lurk (Qian Fu), was quoted as saying.

And spy flicks are cheaper to make than war films or TV series but still captivate audiences because of their dramatic plots, says Tan Fei, entertainment industry veteran and culture critic.

In 2006, the TV adaptation of Mai's best-selling novel Plot Against (An Suan) became a small-screen darling. The actors who played main roles became celebrities overnight.

A flurry of similar shows followed, the most popular of which was Lurk, which started airing this year.

Viewers were hooked to its vivid depiction of a Communist spy infiltrating the Nationalist ranks in the 1940s. Some even came to take the plotline as a guidebook to office politics.

And Ang Lee's 2007 film Lust, Caution (Se Jie) about an ordinary girl who gets caught up in the cloak-and-dagger world made an even bigger stir. While much of the hullabaloo was about the steamy sex scene, the dramatic storyline also captivated viewers.

"People like spy thrillers because they have few opportunities to know much about spies' lives and work," Tan adds. "These shows satisfy their curiosity."

And curiosity is the driving force for The Message, which is co-directed by Chen Kuo-fu from Taiwan and Gao Qunshu from the mainland.

Chen, who also wrote the screenplay, is a dynamo when it comes to creating suspense.

His last directorial work, Double Vision (Shuang Tong), was one of the most successful thrillers in Taiwan. Gao, who rose to fame after a TV series about 13 murder cases, also has a knack for keeping audiences on the edges of their seats.

Production company Huayi Brothers has kept a tight lid on the ending. To make certain it stays secret until the Sept 30 premiere, all cast and crew members signed contracts with the firm that impose a 100,000-yuan fine on anyone who doesn't keep his lips sealed.

And the directors also produced seven versions, so viewers won't know which will end up in theaters.

But despite all the pre-release secrecy, Chen says he isn't worried the first batch of viewers will spoil it for the rest.

"Suspense is an important element for a spy thriller, but it isn't everything," Chen told China Daily. "Watching the film is a lot of fun. It's like, you open a pot and find out what the food is, but that won't spoil your appetite for it."

Unlike other mainland spy films or TV series, which focus more on the mind games the characters play with one another, the new film also depicts the torture the characters endure.

It is the first time so many kinds of torture devices have been shown in a Chinese film. Inspired by many grind tools used in Europe during World War II, the prop team created dazzling devices, such as a nail-studded chair, an electrifying bed and various needles.

And all of the main actors, including Zhang Hanyu, Li Bingbing and Zhou Xun, get tortured.

Filming the scene was so powerful an experience for Li that she now becomes anxious whenever she sees a certain type of ruler - used as a torture implement in the film - in real life. And she calls Chen "a horrible writer".

The other leading woman, Zhou, often sat alone on the set, spontaneously bursting into laughter or tears. Since the filming wrapped up, she has had to drink red wine every night before bed to sleep.

Chen says he has good reasons for including such vivid torture scenes.

While doing research for the screenplay, he watched a documentary about spies during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. One thing he found was that most spies rarely talk about their work, even after returning to civilian life.

"Just like magicians, they will not reveal their tricks," Chen says.

"I think the audience has the same curiosity about their work as I do. Their mysterious experiences give me a lot of space for imagination and creation."

Chen visited a real torture chamber before shooting started. He recalls feeling chills at the sight of the devices, even though he was clad in a down coat.

"I was thrilled by the cold feeling," he says.

"I think I would confess even before undergoing any torture. So I appreciate the characters' strength of will and want the audience to know what miserable ordeals they endured."

He insists the torture scenes are not for the sake of sensationalism, like those in films such as the Saw series.

"I hope the viewers will relate to the characters and feel sorry for them, and not just feel excited about the visual aspects," he says.

Source: China Daily [2009-09-18 16:00:59]


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Message: Zhang Han Yu tosses Zhou Xun on a bed


Zhou Xun in THE MESSAGE has many scenes of abuse. During the shoot, even Best Actor Zhang Hanyu has to get rough with her. In a struggle scene, Hanyu even throws Zhou Xun on the bed and grabs Zhou Xun's neck with force. Zhang Hanyu expresses, "Zhou Xun is too petite. During the shoot I have a lot of stress. I was afraid that if I use too much force she may get hurt." Zhou Xun says that she regrets telling Zhang Hanyu not to hold back because he throws her on the bed so hard that her hhip goes numb for awhile. She has so much pain that she thinks it is shattered.

In another scene Zhou Xun has to seduce another soldier. She is dressed in a sexy sleepwear and does her best to tempt the soldier. Zhou Xun's dress is a little loose. At first during the shoot she moves so much that the strap slips and almost causes a wardrobe malfunction. The team immediately takes preventive measures. She later immediately goes to the dressing room for multiple angle tests to avoid any further embarrassing situations.



The Message: Zhou Xun, and Huang Xiao Ming flirt for stress relief


In THE MESSAGE, Zhou Xun, Li Bingbing and Zhang Hanyu were trapped within Huang Xiaoming's seaside castle and suffered his torture. One scene had to express Li Bingbing's disillusionment with her sitting on top of the tower, drinking and smoking. Li Bingbing said because Huang Xiaoming earlier abused her and she was full of hatred for him. She almost wanted to push him down a cliff.

This outdoor banquet was set on a cliff in Dali. Thousands feet below were crashing waves so the crew was extra careful. During the shoot the temperature was only five degrees Celsius, with the strong wind by the sea the cast had to withstand the piercing chill. The team even bought insurance for the actors and build extra fences to avoid any cliff side accident. Yet from the shoot, Zhou Xun still felt that she needed appropriate relaxed mentality. "I don't remember who suggested to us that we should use strange voices during rehearsal to relax a little." Huang Xiaoming also had his method of relaxation -- photography. He was very interested in photography. Since he and Zhou Xun were already familiar with THE BANQUET, on the set he asked her to be his model. They even flirted a little and brought a little entertainment to everyone.



The Message: Zhou Xun bites off Huang Xiao Ming's ear


The spy epic THE MESSAGE is scheduled for a September 30 global premiere. In the intricate and complex mystery, top stars like Zhou Xun, Huang Xiaoming and Li Bingbing put their acting on display. Often appeared with a righteous image on the small screen, Huang Xiaoming this time daringly played a Japanese military official, Takeda, who set up a scheme to start this killing game. The seven people in the scheme each had their own agenda as they battle wits and courage.

Playing siblings in THE BANQUET, Huang Xiaogang and Zhou Xun turned from family to enemies as they cruelly treated each other in the film. Huang Xiaoming even used psychological torture to put Zhou Xun on the brink. In one scene, Takeda threatened the lives of the Zhou Xun played cool and strong Gu Xiaomong's family but also played the good cop. Under the multiple thought attack she was nearly driven mad. Finally she attacked Takeda and grabbed him like an octopus. She even bit off Takeda's ear.



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Zhou Xun spoke on behalf of Casio

September 10th 2009, Zhou Xun officially became spokeswoman of Casio digital camera. Here are some her pics in the press conference in Beijing.

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Credit: reason522 @ YTB

Some captures

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Zhou Xun's singles

by amychan @

Beside two albums, Summer (2003) and Come Across (2005), Zhou Xun has 6 singles so far. You may enjoy now.

* Movie story

* Piao Yao (a.k.a Sway)

* Partner

* Love hate

I will update more.


30 Chinese films to mark 60th birthday of New China

As the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China draws near, all walks of life are preparing a gift to celebrate the big day. China's movie industry is presenting a gift of 30 films, and the body of work was publicized by hundreds of artists at a ceremony in Beijing on Wednesday.

It's an unprecedented parade of Chinese movies. The films represent the highest achievement in art and production in the industry. The 30 films include epics like "The Great Cause of New China's Foundation", and "SHAKING THE EARTH" realistic themes like "Wedding at the Yellow River Bank" and "Glittering Days" suspense films like "The Message", as well as the documentary "Chang'an Avenue", and an animated feature "The Magic Aster".

Han Sanping, general director of "The Great Cause of New China's Foundation" said, "I'm so glad that I was assigned to helm this movie. It took me ten months to accomplish it and I only hope the audience will not be disappointed."

More than 300 Chinese filmmakers and actors attended the ceremony to publicize their movies.

Chinese mainland popular actresses Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing jointly recommended their latest work "The Message".

"The Message" is an espionage thriller set during the War of Resistance Against the Japanese Aggression.

"The Great Cause of New China's Foundation" is the most star-studded movie in Chinese history. Half of the 150 participating actors are super stars in China. Although some of them only play a minor character and have only one speaking line, they are proud to be a part of such an important work.

Actor Hu Jun said, "My sentence is very decisive in the film. I faced Chiang Kai-shi, the head of the Kuomintang and told him "We lost Yan'an"."

Actress Chen Hao said, "I played General Fu Zuoyi's daughter and my last sentence in the film was significant. I said "I know it". After that Beijing was liberated peacefully."

The 30 films are now screening in cinemas across China until October 20th.



Full Trailer For Chinese Espionage Thriller THE MESSAGE

by Todd Brown, August 7, 2009 3:23 PM

How's this for a streak: Mainland Chinese film producers The Huayi Brothers are very likely the only production house in the world that can claim - at least claim honestly - that they've never had a film lost money. And that trend looks likely to continue with The Message, a darkly slick espionage thriller from Chen Kuo-Fu (Double Vision) and Gao Qunshu (Tokyo Trial) with Zhou Xun heading up and all star cast.

1942, Nanking. Following a series of assassination attempts on officials of the Japanese-controlled puppet government, the Japanese spy chief gathers a group of suspects in a mansion house for questioning. A tense game of cat and mouse ensues as the Chinese code-breaker attempts to send out a crucial message while protecting his/her own identity.

We've run early teasers for this one in the past but the full trailer has recently arrived, is very impressive, and lurks below the break.



Zhou Xun graces 'Bazaar Jewelry'

Chinese film actress Zhou Xun appears on the cover of the latest issue of "Bazaar Jewelry," a bimonthly glossy magazine under "Harper's Bazaar". Covered herself with fine jewelry, "The Message" star looks so classic and elegant. [Bazaar Jewelry/]


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Huayi Bros Threw a Star-Studded Party

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Actress Zhou Xun showed up at the last minute alongside actor Zhang Hanyu(L) and Wang Zhongjun(R), the group's board chairman. [Photo:]

More than 80 celebrities gathered for a stellar green-themed party thrown by the Huayi Bros Thursday night, the most fabulous party to hit Beijing recently.

Huayi Bros, China's leading privately-owned media company, chose a green theme for its biyearly social event because it is launching its "Green Leaf" campaign to advocate environmental protection and a wholesome lifestyle.

Huayi's An Yi Hsuan and Duan Yihong showed up as spokesmen for the campaign.

Wang Zhonglei, president of Huayi Brothers, also appeared and announced that each gathering from here on out will feature a different theme rather than focus solely on partying and social networking, according to a report on

Celebrities reportedly appeared in alphabetical order, however, A-list actresses like Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing who have contracts with the group, seemed to get special treatment on the red carpet. Zhou Xun showed up at the last minute alongside actor Zhang Hanyu and Wang Zhongjun, the group's board chairman.

Other big stars with Huayi Bros are Annie Yi Nengjing, Vivian Hsu, Pace Wu, Alec Su, Lu Yi and Xie Na.

Founded in 1994, Huayi Bros has invested in a great number of films, like The Forbidden Kingdom, The Equation of Love and Death (Li mi de cai xiang), If You Are the One (Fei Cheng Wu Rao), John Rabe, Shadow Chasing (Zhui Ying) and The Message (Feng Sheng).


Some more Zhou Xun photos in the party

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Trailer of "Confucius" released

A film depicting the life of the ancient Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius has become a highly anticipated epic blockbuster. The movie wrapped up shooting in Beijing on Wednesday, and a ceremony was held to release the first trailer.

Renowned actor Chow Yun-Fat, who plays Confucius, and other leading actors, including Chen Jianbin and Zhou Xun, appeared at the ceremony. Chow said he took the role because Confucius is portrayed in the film as a man with much human interest.
The biopic was jointly produced by the China Film Group and Beijing Dadi Century.
The first trailer is called "Sentiment". Without any dialogue, it uses music and pictures to portray a middle-aged Confucius. The artistic sample shrouds the film in mystery by not providing any clue about the story line.

The film focuses on Confucius's life experiences from the age of 51 to 73. The great philosopher was born in the ancient Chinese state of Lu, in today's Qufu City in Shandong Province. He was a great educator, philosopher, a renowned politician, and became know as the founding father of Confucianism.

"Confucius" is set to premiere during the 2010 Spring Festival in China and Southeast Asian countries. The plot will be revealed in the second trailer, which will be released before the premiere

Zhou Xun said: “they belong to inside the Monument to the People's Heroes person. Although the movie has been exaggerating brutally, but begins in darkness, is finally bright.”



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Costumed design of spy movie "The Message"

"The Message" is an upcoming World War Two espionage thriller. The film's official website was launched recently, and viewers got a sneak peak for the much-anticipated movie through its trailer. Its all-star cast is the key draw, but the costume design is also getting a lot of attention.

The movie gathers some of the country's A-list movie stars, including Zhou Xun, Li Bingbing, Zhang Hanyu, and Alec Su.

The story was set in 1942 in Nanjing. Following a series of assassination attempts on officials of the Japanese-controlled puppet government, the Japanese spy chief gathers a group of suspects in a mansion home for questioning. A tense game of cat and mouse ensues as the Chinese code-breaker attempts to send out a crucial message while protecting his own identity.

Timmy Yip worked as costume designer for the movie. As a renowned artist, he has multi-disciplinary works in costume design, visual art, and contemporary art. He is most well known for "Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon", for which he won an Oscar for Best Art Direction.

Costumed designer Timmy Yip said, "Costumes in that era are not as simple as they look. They contain a lot of properties. I conducted extensive research beforehand and found quite a lot of information in previous films. Finally, we decided to go with the cheong-sam for the lead actresses."

Accessories were also featured heavily in this darkly rich espionage thriller. Officers and soldiers of various military regimes wore starkly different uniforms of different colors and patterns. Tim has specially accentuated the tailoring, which made the outfits all fit closely. He tailored the costumes according to each actor's physique.

Timmy Yip said, "For the military uniforms, I gave prominence to its tailoring."

Actor Wang Zhiwen said, "I like it so much. It's the first time for me to see such costumes in a mainland movie."

The film's two lead actresses Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing wore the cheong-sam, with which Tim has long been fascinated. Tim's unique aesthetics have helped the world understand the beauty of Chinese culture and arts.

The two actresses star as two code-breakers. They present different looks on the film's poster. Zhou Xun, best know for her highly emotional roles, puts on an passive and thoughtful face. Li Bingbing, who plays Zhou Xun's senior, appears in the poster with a questioning, sober, and intellectual look.

Actress Zhou Xun said, "It's the first time for me to star alongside Li Bingbing. There's a scene for us two have a dialogue that is as long as twelve minutes. With concerted effort, we finished it in one day."

Lead actress Lin Bingbing said, "We just throw everything aside and focus on our acting. You can see it when the film goes on general release. It must be very stimulating."

The film is produced by China's leading movie production company, Huayi Brothers, and is set to be released in October.



Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Famous Chinese actress Zhou Xun seen in Hanoi

VOVNews photographers took shots of the famous Chinese actress Zhou Xun in Hanoi on July 28 as she posed for photos near the Metropole Hanoi and Hanoi Opera House.

The actress suddenly appeared in Hanoi on July 26 and then went on a tour of the Old Quarter and some areas around the city.

The actress stayed in Hanoi from July 26-28 under a contract for some commercial shots at Hanoi and Long Bien railway stations, the Metropole Hotel and Hanoi Opera House.

A team of more than 100 staff hired two carriages on the Victoria Express Train and prepared all the facilities for the actress to take the photos.

Zhou Xun is a talented Chinese actress and has won high awards with such films as The Equation of Love and Death, Painted Skin and All About Women.



Zhou Xun shoots at Hanoi railway station

VietNamNet Bridge – In the afternoon on July 27, Zhou Xun posed in two carriages at the Hanoi Railway Station for advertisements. She will take photos at some places in Hanoi this morning, July 28, and return to China on July 29.

Related news

July 27th 2009, Zhou Xun took photos at the Hanoi Railway Station from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.

Four cars took Zhou Xun to the Hanoi Railway Station, among them, there were three similar ones. It was difficult for paparazzi to guess which car Zhou Xun stayed in.

A staff of the station said that Zhou Xun's team hired the international through traffic room to rest. However, just staffs stayed in the room, Zhou Xun relaxed in a luxurious carriage which was special used as background for photos. Inside of the carriage was full of conveniences, like a small room in a hotel.

"Zhou Xun looks more beautiful than on TV" said a safeguard of the station after closely seeing the star in "Tangerines have ripen". "She is so beautiful", said most of station staffs.

It was reported tomorrow (aka July 28th) Zhou Xun would take photos in some other places in Hanoi. She would return China on July 29th.

Translated by Mylove


Chinese movie star secretly visits Hanoi

VietNamNet Bridge – Zhou Xun, an internationally-acclaimed Chinese actress and singer, suddenly appeared in Hanoi on July 26 afternoon to advertise for a big commercial brand.

Zhou Xun was one of the "Four Young Dan actresses" in China in the early 2000s, along with Zhang Ziyi, Xu Jinglei and Zhao Wei.

In the afternoon on July 26, the Chinese superstar paid a visit to the Hanoi Old Quarter and some other relics. Zhou Xun’s visit to Hanoi was very secret and her activities in the city were monitored strictly by security.

This morning, July 27, Zhou Xun took photos at the Hanoi railway station on two carriages of the luxurious Victoria Express travel train, with a team of over 100 people.

The Chinese movie star will stay in Hanoi until July 28 to feature in an advertising video clip shot at the Hanoi railway station, the Long Bien Bridge, the Metropole Hotel and the Hanoi Opera House.

Zhou Xun was born to a middle-class family. Her father was a local film projectionist and her mother a salesperson at a department store.

While she was in her teens and schooling, she was handpicked for a role in the movie Strange Tales Amongst Old and Desolate Tombs.

Zhou Xun caught international attention through her roles in Lou Ye’s Suzhou River in 2000 (Best Actress, 15th Paris Film Festival) and Dai Sijie’s film adaptation of the book of same name, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, in 2002.

In 2002, she starred in the television series remake of Jin Yong’s martial arts novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes as "Huang Rong" with actor Li Yapeng as her male lead. The series was one of the most watched in mainland China in 2003.

Zhou Xun then successfully entered the Hong Kong film market in Peter Chan’s musical film Perhaps Love in 2005. This role won her the "Best Actress" award in the Hong Kong Film Awards, Hong Kong Film Critic’s Society Awards, Golden Bauhinia Awards, Golden Horse Awards, Beijing Student Film Festival and Hangzhou Student Film Festival.

Aside from acting, she has also released two solo albums, Summer in 2003 and Come Across in 2005, in addition to singing for several motion picture soundtracks including Baober In Love, Xin Bian Guo Le Xi San Meng You Xian Jing, and Perhaps Love.

After Perhaps Love, her next martial arts project was Feng Xiaogang’s The Banquet, in which she played a supporting role. Her singing was also featured in the movie and on the soundtrack.

Zhou’s next effort was Susie Au’s 2007 film Ming Ming, in which she played the title character who is in love with "D" and "Na Na", who has also fallen in love with D. The film won high praise at the 2006 Pusan International Film Festival held in South Korea. On the day of the film release, she also released her new music video, the song of which is the theme song of her film Ming Ming.

Zhou Xun also played in the Beijing Film Academy professor Cao Baoping directed romantic thriller, The Equation of Love and Death, in which she plays the role of a taxicab driver on the lookout for her missing boyfriend. She also plays the lead in Painted Skin, a remake of a classical supernatural thriller of the same name.



Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yao Ming, Zhou Xun bag Enjoyoung awards

Basketball player Yao Ming and actress Zhou Xun were conferred with awards for their outstanding contribution to fashion and charity events during the 2009 Enjoyoung ceremony, held Saturday in Beijing.

On receiving the award titled, “star of environmental protection and charity,” Zhou said she just did what she had to do and appealed for more awareness on the environment issue. Her environment-friendly non-woven gown evidently supported her call, “we can all protect the environment by small and simple initiatives too.”

Yao was awarded for representing and promoting the 2010 World Expo. When asked whether his dubbing in cartoon film Malan Flower meant he was preparing for the showbiz field, he said the only reason he took the job was because “the film was co-produced by Shanghai Special-care Foundation.”

Other celebrities participating in the ceremony, which also marked the official founding of Enjoyoung Media Group, included Korean actress Song Hye Kyo, Hong Kong directors Jingle Ma and Stanley Kwan, international designer Anna Sui and Hello Kitty designer Yamaguchi Yuko.



UNDP and Zhou Xun OUR PART Join Hands with P&G to promote green actions in China

17 July 2009, Shenzhen – All people have the ability to protect the environment by taking small steps towards sustainability. This was the message conveyed at the launch ceremony for “Green China Action,” a new campaign scheme that brings together P&G and “Our Part”, a joint environmental awareness initiative between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Chinese actress/celebrity Zhou Xun. From July to November, they hope to join forces to promote green consumption and foster behavior change toward a low-carbon lifestyle.

The campaign was launched today at Wal-Mart Shekou Store in Shenzhen. Zhou Xun, UNDP’s National Goodwill Ambassador, announced her “Green Commitment,” calling for consumers to start from little daily choices around them and play their part in improving our environment.

“The starting point of sustainable development, simply put, means ensuring better lives for us and for our following generations,” said Mr. A. G. Lafley, Chairman of the Board of P&G. “This is the core mission of P&G, which urges us to provide eco-friendly products and services to three billion consumers each day.”

Ms.Wang Xiaojun, Assistant Country Director of UNDP China and Team Leader of Democratic Governance and HIV/AIDS Team, emphasized the importance of going green in the midst of the economic downturn. ”The concept of environmental protection directs consumers to conserve resources and consume reasonably, and also induces enterprises to promote renewable energy and develop low carbon technology and green products. These are all strong antidotes for the economic downturn. More importantly, joint efforts of individuals and enterprises would help build healthier lives and a better world.”

Ms. Wang Xiaojun also said: “We know that consuming less and cutting carbon emissions can help us save money. In the midst of the financial crisis, this is also precisely what the government and public wish for: protecting against climate change is not only beneficial for the economy, but more importantly, it also helps to improve our quality of life. Therefore, people around the world need to alter their lifestyles to use natural resources more efficiently and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

During “Green China Action”, “Our Part” will work with P&G to promote green consciousness in 3,300 shopping malls and supermarkets nationwide. As an incentive, they will give away five million P&G products to consumers who cherish green shopping

Mimi Lam, Vice President of Shopping Mall Procurement of Wal-Mart China said the company would go further to make an impact across China. “In order to answer Green China Action’s call, Wal-Mart will promote Green China Action’s activities in all of our 150 Chinese stores, inspiring 7 million Wal-Mart shoppers to actively take part in the campaign. At the same time, we will appeal to all of our employees and their families to set an example for sustainability, to the best of our ability making plastic bags disappear from our lives.”



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