HONG KONG: The list of nominees for the third Asian Film Awards announced in Hong Kong on Wednesday:
Best film: "Forever Enthralled" (China), "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" (South Korea), "Ponyo on the Cliff" (Japan), "The Rainbow Troops" (Indonesia), "Red Cliff" (China), Tokyo Sonata (Japan, The Netherlands, Hong Kong).
Best director: Feng Xiaogang for "If You Are the One," Kim Jee-woon for "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," Hirokazu Koreeda for "Still Walking," Brillante Mendoza for "Service," Hayao Miyazaki and Frank Marshall for "Ponyo on the Cliff," John Woo for "Red Cliff."
Best actor: Ge You for "If You Are the One," Ha Jung-woo for "The Chaser," Akshay Kumar for "Singh is Kinng," Kenichi Matsuyama for "Detroit Metal City," Masahiro Motoki for "Departures," Song Kang-ho for "The Good, the Bad, the Weird."
Best actress: Eri Fukatsu for "The Magic Hour," Jiang Wenli for "And the Spring Comes," Deepika Padukone for "Chandni Chowk to China," Sayuri Yoshinaga for "Kabei — Our Mother," Zhao Wei for "Painted Skin," Zhou Xun for "The Equation of Love and Death." :x
Best newcomer: Shota Matsuda for "Boys Over Flowers: the Movie," Sandrine Pinna for "Miao Miao," So Ji-sub for "Rough Cut," Xu Jiao for "CJ7," Jeeja Yanin for "Chocolate," Yu Shaoqun for "Forever Enthralled."
Best supporting actor: Nick Cheung for "Beast Stalker," Jung Woo-sung for "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," Lee Byung-hun for "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," Shinichi Tsutsumi for "Suspect X," Wang Xueqi for "Forever Enthralled."
Best supporting actress: Yu Aoi for "Sex Is No Laughing Matter," Jaclyn Jose for "Service," Kirin Kiki for "Still Walking," Kim Ji-yeong for "Forever the Moment," Gina Pareno for "Service."
Best screenwriter: Na Hong-jin for "The Chaser," Li Qiang for "And the Spring Comes," Tom Lin and Henry Tsai for "Winds of September," Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Max Mannix and Sachiko Tanaka for "Tokyo Sonata," Koki Mitani for "The Magic Hour."
Best cinematographer: Shoichi Ato for "Paco and the Magical Book," Cheng Siu-keung for "Sparrow," Lee Mo-gae for "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," Jola Dylewska for "Tulpan," Wang Yu and Nelson Yu for "24 City."
Best production designer: Nitin Chandrakant Desai for "Jodhaa Akbar," Towako Kuwajima for "Paco and the Magical Book," Daniel Lee for "Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon," Bill Lui for "Painted Skin," Yohei Taneda for "The Magic Hour."
Best composer: Dalpalan and Jang Young-gyu for "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," Yoshihiro Hanno and Lim Giong for "24 City," Joe Hisaishi for "Ponyo on the Cliff," Henry Lai for "Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon," A.R. Rahman for "Jodhaa Akbar."
Best editor: Chan Ki-hop for "Beast Stalker," William Chang for "Miao Miao," Darya Danilova for "Native Dancer," Waluyo Ichwandiardono for "The Rainbow Troops," Kim Sun-min for "The Chaser."
Best visual effects: Craig Hayes for "Red Cliff," Kim Wook for "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," Masahide Yanagawase for "Paco and the Magical Book."
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
HONG KONG: The list of nominees for the third Asian Film Awards announced in Hong Kong on Wednesday:
Lately, Zhou Xun is very busy with films. In 2009, her films 'Beggar So', 'Sound Of The Wind' etc will all premiere and she has become a high-visilibity spokesperson in the eyes of the manufacturers. Hence, she was invited to endorse Pantene shampoo, along with Da S, Lin Zhi Ling and mainland China model Du Juan.
On the 21st, Zhou Xun, Da S, Lin Zhi Ling and Du Juan gathered together at the Beijing Zi Jin theatre. Da S expressed that she had previously interviewed Zhou Xun and her forthright attitude left a deep impression on her. Lin Zhi Ling smiled saying she hopes that in the future, all of them can collaborate in a film together. Zhou Xun agreed and said: "We each have our own beauty, if we put it all into one film, don't know what kind of result it will produce, definitely will be very interesting!"
Zhou Xun revealed that lately, she is entangled in work. 'Beggar So' has just finished filming, and she has already invested herself into a new espionage film 'Sound Of The Wind.' The last time she has had an overseas vacation was a year and a half ago, she hopes that she can get she proper rest after Chinese New Year. This year, she is planning to have a relaxing holiday with her parents and grandmother. Boyfriend Li Da Qi has work commitments in America, so is unable to accompany her.
Updated: 2009-01-21 11:14
Award-winning actress Zhou Xun (pictured right) is to play a spy in Sound of the Wind (Feng Sheng), which will start shooting after the Chinese New Year holidays.
Set in 1942, three years before the end of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the film revolves around a group of undercover communists in the Japanese army's intelligence agency.
The film is loosely based on the novel of the same name.
Mainland actor Zhang Hanyu, named best actor at the 2009 Golden Horse awards, will co-star with Zhou and Li Bingbing (pictured left).
It will be the first time Zhou and Li, two of China's most sought-after actresses, have appeared together since collaborating in the 1999 TV series Daming Palace.
The film is co-directed by Taiwan director and producer Chen Kuo-fu (Double Vision, Assembly) and mainland director Gao Qunshu (The Tokyo Trial).
The newest project, Feng Sheng, or Sound of Wind from ever expanding powerhouse Hua Yi Brothers is notable for the fact that all four of the leads are Hua Yi’s most bankable stars right now, Li Bingbing, Zhou Xun, Zhang Hanyu and Huang Xiaoming. They are all some fo the most well-liked stars in China and the first three have all won top acting awards at some point in their career, with the most recent winner being Zhang Hanyu at the Golden Horse Awards. In their press conference they revealed who they were playing.
After the success of “An Suan” (a TV series that was a monster hit in China), the author Mai Jia became popular too and Hua Yi paid over a million yuan for the rights to a movie version to the novel, “The Sound of Wind”.
Li Bingbing will be playing the superior in rank to Zhou Xun, and both are playing high-class spies. Zhang Hanyu will play Wu Ziguo, the leader of the Japanese puppet regime. Huang Xiaoming, finally getting to break into movies, will be playing a Japanese spy. Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing praised each other, saying how they had worked together before in another series ten years ago and had slept together in the same bed so they weren’t distant as the media sometimes says. Zhou Xun said she admired Li Binbing for working so hard despite her poor health. Zhang Hanyu regretted that he could not have any romantic scenes with them, and would only be treating them harshly instead in the movie. Huang Xiaoming, who arrived late for the press conference because he was in dress rehearsals for the Chinese New Years Gala, jokingly asked if he had been replaced when he saw Hua Yi’s producer Wang Zhonglei in his chair and pretended to leave
To make up for any digs at Zhou Xun earlier, here are a couple of pics from when they were getting ready for the make-up tests. In contrast to the furrowed-brows of the other three cast members, who seemed to be thinking “I shouldn’t have written that in my biography “, or “I’m totally going to get overshadowed in my movie breakout role”, and “I hope they don’t mess up my hair”, Zhou Xun seemed to be rather care-free and not thinking about anything. It must be nice to be the top actor in one of China’s top entertainment companies.
Two of China's most sought-after actresses, Li Bingbing and Zhou Xun will collaborate for the first time in a decade in an espionage film, their company announced on Thursday.
The stars, both with the country's leading entertainment company - Huayi Brothers, will lead the World War Two film "Feng Sheng" ("Sound of the Wind") which Huayi Brothers are making as a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"Sound of the Wind" is set in the 1940s during the Japanese invasion of China. Zhou Xun plays a decoder and Li Bingbing plays her boss.
The two actresses' only on-screen appearance together so far was in the 1999 historical TV series "Daming Palace", in which Zhou Xun played the protagonist while Li Bingbing only had a cameo role.
"Back then, we didn't really have the chance to work together," Li Bingbing said at Thursday's press conference, "I'm looking forward to it this time."
Besides Li and Zhou, "Sound of the Wind" also features a star-studded male line-up, which includes "The Assembly" star Zhang Hanyu, who plays an army chief and heartthrob Huang Xiaoming, who impersonates a Japanese spy.
The film will be co-directed by "Tokyo Trial" director Gao Qunshu and Taiwan filmmaker Kuo-fu Chen. Filming is slated to begin on February 5.
"Sound of the Wind" was adapted from award-winning writer Mai Jia's novel of the same name. The author's previous suspense novel, "Plot Against", won last year's Mao Dun Literature Prize, one of China's highest literary awards.
(CRI January 16, 2009)
Thursday, January 08, 2009
January 8 2009, Sohu, one of the Chinese famous e-magazine, had a grand party, also announced characters of 12 items in the annual prize ("female star of the year", "male star of the year", "blog of the year", "people of the year"...). Many stars gathered and walked the red carpet like Zhao Wei, Super Junior, Zhang Xinzhe, Zhao Benshan...
Three movies shown respectively in the end of 2008 ("The Equation of Love and Death" and "Painted Skin" in September, "All about Women" in December") and with unceasingly diligence, Zhou Xun wins "female star of the year". Sun Hong Lei ("Forever Enthralled")gets "male star of the year" prize.
Date: January 8 2009
Taiwan's popular singer-actor Jay Chou is set to produce, direct and act a 20-episode Sci-Fi TV series titled "Xiong Mao Xia", which literally means "Panda Man", the United Daily News reports.
Members of the music group Nan Quan Mama, who are also close friends of Jay's, will be cast as the leading roles. Pop idol Jerry Yan, singing group S.H.E. and actress Zhou Xun are also expected to be guest star in the trendy drama.
"Jay has been thinking about filming a trendy drama for long. Indeed, it is still under close discussions now. But the exact schedule is not set yet," Jay's manager responded conservatively.
By SETO KIT YAN
Friday January 9, 2009
Three lasses embark on a quest for happiness in All About Women.
It's no secret that women are both fascinating and mysterious ... a premise that’s heartily explored in All About Women, a tale of three women in search of happiness.
This alleged Chinese-version of Sex and the City helmed by renowned Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark, features Zhou Xun, Kitty Zhang Yuqi and Kwai Lun-mei as the three leading ladies looking for love. The stylish, new-age romantic comedy also stars Stephen Fung Tak-lun, Eddie Peng Yu-yan, Godfrey Kao Yi-xiang and Shen Chang, with a special guest appearance by Alex Fong Chung-sun.
According to Tsui who produced, directed, co-wrote and co-edited All About Women, his inspiration for the film came two summers ago. After a creative exchange about contemporary comedies with friends in Beijing, Tsui noticed a painting with the Chinese characters nu ren bu huai (women aren’t bad), which has since become the film’s Mandarin title
As an influential producer, Tsui has made blockbusters in just about every genre one could name. He created and set the standards for wuxia films and made stars out of actors like Chow Yun-fat, Jet Li, Ching Siu-tung and Brigitte Lin. John Woo, who at one time was under Tsui’s tutelage as well, has gone on to become an Academy Award-winning filmmaker.
Even now, the prolific New Wave filmmaker – who made his film debut in the late-1970s – continually pushes the boundaries of Chinese cinema. Tsui’s more recent film credits include Missing (2008), Triangle (2007) and Seven Swords (2005).
Tsui, 58, has produced 63, directed 44, written 37 and acted in 22 of his films as well as featured as editor, production designer, action choreographer or art director in others.
Tsui has made several films starring top female actresses, beginning with Shanghai Blues (1984, starring Sylvia Chang and Sally Yeh), Peking Opera Blues (1986, Brigitte Lin, Cherrie Chung, Yeh), followed by Web of Deception (1989, Lin, Joey Wang, Elizabeth Lee, Pauline Wong) and Green Snake (1993, Joey Wong, Maggie Cheung).
With All About Women, Tsui explores female-oriented comedy.
“There is a complex thing happening in Chinese society. Whereas Chinese men remain traditional and conservative, Chinese women have become modern and liberal. Therefore we cannot look at women in the same manner now. Every woman is multi-faceted in her own way,” says Tsui in a recorded interview.
Tsui teamed up with South Korean filmmaker Kwak Jae-young to write the screenplay.
“I found it very interesting that in his stories, the women bully the men, instead of the other way around. Hence, I got him to write the screenplay so we could create a fresh spin,” says Tsui, who has known Kwak since the 1990s.
The South Korean filmmaker co-wrote and directed the smash hit My Sassy Girl (2001), which took Asia by storm. Starring Jun Ji-hyun and Cha Tae-hyun, the film was based on a true story and became so popular it prompted remakes in America and Bollywood as well as a drama version in Japan.
Look out for both Tsui and Kwak as they make cameo appearances in All About Women.
All About Women, distributed by Golden Screen Cinemas, is now playing in cinemas nationwide.
Man-fearing Fanfan (played by Zhou Xun)
MULTIPLE award-winning actress Zhou, who hails from mainland China, plays Fanfan, an awkward lab researcher who wins hearts with her brilliant endoscopic technique. The myopic girl becomes petrified, however, when touched by a man.
In the movie, Zhou fleshes out some 12 different facets of her character in a day, with dramatic changes in her hairstyle and attire.
I think she’s rather amusing. Her daily life and everything about her is governed by order – right down to her toothbrush, towel and slippers – and she sets strict boundaries that she will not cross.
“One day, she discovers the wonders of pheromones, and begins to study them in order to snare her man. Her mind works in weird ways yet I feel she has her own insecurities,” says Zhou.
Suffering from almost debilitating myopia, Fanfan is practically blind without her prescription glasses. “Wearing those thick glasses did make me feel cock-eyed.”
Feeling hampered, she decides to discard them and opt for contact lenses, with hilarious results.
The 32-year-old actress was discussing another film with Tsui when he asked her whether she would like to act in a comedy. “He mentioned I’m always seen to be sad and victimised on the silver screen and asked if I’d like to try something happier for a change.”
Needless to say, Zhou jumped at the opportunity as she had always wanted to work with Tsui.
Starring in a comedy for the first time, Zhou realised the many challenges in producing gags and making people laugh.
“When I first started, I almost went crazy as I couldn’t convey the comedy on-screen – I didn’t know how. I had always played tragedies (before this).
“A lot of the comedic sense I achieved in the movie, I grasped from watching the director while he demonstrated how he wanted it done. I only started to feel it when we filmed the hospital scenes.”
Another thing she learnt from Tsui was how crucial timing was in making gags work. “Following his lead, I realised that comedy had to be spontaneous,” says Zhou.
Zhou shot to fame in Chen Kaige’s epic The Emperor and the Assassin, in which her three-minute cameo appearance was hailed as a breakthrough performance.
Her first starring role in Lou Ye’s Suzhou River (1998) nabbed her best actress kudos at the 15th Paris International Film Awards. Her more prominent film credits include Fruit Chan’s Hollywood Hong Kong (2000), Peter Chan Ho-sun’s Perhaps Love (2005) which earned her half a dozen accolades, Feng Xiaogang’s The Banquet (2006) and Gordon Chan’s Painted Skin (2008).
All-rounder Tieling (Kwai Lun-mei)
FAST-rising Taiwanese actress Kwai plays super all-rounder Tieling, who excels in everything. A lead singer in a rock band and a champion boxer, she is always with the man of her dreams even if it is only a figment of her imagination. Until the real man suddenly appears in her life
In the movie, the delicate 25-year-old actress is transformed into an angst-ridden, tough-talking female. Kwai also had to learn how to ride a motorbike and weave through traffic on it. “I was scared out of my wits. A lot of money had to be spent as I ended up scratching lots of vehicles along the way.”
Kwai made her acting debut in Blue Gate Crossing (2002). Her big break came when she starred as the mysterious love interest in pop idol Jay Chou’s directorial debut Secret (2007), which dominated the Asian box office. More recently, she starred in Parking (2008), helmed by Chung Mong-hong.
Worldly Tanglu (Kitty Zhang Yuqi)
SHANDONG-born Zhang plays smart and successful Tanglu. With her drop-dead gorgeous looks, men swarm to her like bees to honey. Yet, she prefers to follow her head, not her heart.
“I’ve got female friends like that. They’re actually very happy and think they’re doing very well. Only other people think that they’re sad and lonely, and society portrays them as such,” says Zhang.
In the movie, the 20-year-old actress portrays a worldly 31-year-old.
To prepare her for the role, Tsui hired an expert to give Zhang some training.
“My friends and people around me noticed how I changed after filming and were especially excited about watching me in the film.”
A relative newcomer to Chinese cinema compared to her more experienced co-stars, Zhang made her debut in The Longest Night in Shanghai (2006). She is best remembered for her role as the schoolteacher and love interest in Stephen Chow’s CJ7 (2008). Following that, she starred in Shaolin Girl (2008).
Zhang was flabbergasted at how fast Tsui worked on the set and sometimes wished he would slow down.
“He’d rewrite the script incessantly and throw us new stuff every day.”
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
As new year films open in national cinemas, their theme songs are jamming the airwaves. On today's countdown we check out five of the most popular movie songs.
No.5 Love Hard
Director Tsui Hark's latest film "All About Women" is a story about modern women's romantic fantasies and 21st Century life in Beijing. Its theme song, Love Hard is sung by lead actresses Zhou Xun and Gui Lunmei. The song is composed by famous musicians Yi Jiangyang, Li Sisong and Li Weisong. Director Tsui Hark wrote the lyrics of the song himself.
No.4 Good Friends Still
Hong Kong singer/actor Louis Koo and singer Jasmine Leung perform the theme song from Fit Lover - Good Friends Still. The song's composed by Huang Yunling, and written by Lin Xi. The magnetic voice of Louis Koo proved to be an ideal match with the nostalgic rendering of Jasmine Leung. Good Friends Still is expected to be a new favorite for Karaoke lovers.
No.3 The Yangtze River Runs East
Theme song of the wildly anticipated second installment of Red Cliff is sung by Tibetan singer A Lan. "The Yangtze River Runs East" is the creation of a stellar team. Taiwan musician Francis Lee wrote the lyrics, inspired by the poems of Northern Song dynasty poets Su Dongpo and Yang Shen. Japanese composer Taro Iwashiro brings fresh elan through introducing orchestral music into the composition. The song may not be so easy to hum because of its technical difficulty, but ideally suits the magnificence of the film.
No.2 You Know My Love
From the film Forever Enthralled comes a heart-wrenching melody performed by leading actors Leon Lai and Zhang Ziyi. The string music for the song was recorded in the Sony Studio in Japan, and the drum and bass part in the United States. The music video for the song was directed by Leon Lai himself. Actress Zhang Ziyi sings for the first time for a film. Their voices may be less than perfect, but the two of them appearing together is a pleasing combination.
No.1 Take it for Real
Director Feng Xiaogang's hilarious new year comedy, If You are the One, also touches on serious issues. The film captures the problems a person might encounter while seeking for the right life partner in a very tangible way. The theme song, Taking it for Real recalls those hardships in the pursuit of love. It is sung by Shang Weijie and the duo Yuquan.