Thursday, January 28, 2010

ZHOU XUN MAKES A MOVIE AS A SALUTE TO YUEN WOO PING

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Just completing TRUE LEGEND (SO HAK YI)'s Beijing press conference, Zhou Xun rushed to the television station at night to record the premiere celebration. Playing a mother and a wife for the first time, Zhou Xun's performance was full of real emotions. Speaking of working with "Lord Eight", director Yuen Woo Ping, after 2006's THE BANQUET, they had much more chemistry. TRUE LEGEND heated up before its release, not only has it been invited to participate in this year's Berlin Film Festival but also a variety of film festivals at home and abroad. Zhou Xun expressed that this film was a salute to Lord Eight. She praised Lord Eight was a director who is worthy of respect and represents the martial art film golden age. Working with Lord Eight was the collective memory of an era.

Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Source: http://hktopten.blogspot.com

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Actress Zhou Xun Croons for "True Legend"

Popular Chinese actress Zhou Xun has lent her voice to the theme song for director Yuen Woo-Ping's upcoming kung-fu drama, "True Legend", starring Zhou and Vincent Zhao.

"True Legend", which will be rolled out in Chinese cinemas on February 9, is a biopic about 19th-century martial artist Su Can. Vincent Zhao plays Su Can, with Zhou Xun as his supportive wife.

Zhou Xun is hailed as one of China's four most popular actresses, together with Zhang Ziyi, Zhao Wei and Xu Jinglei.

Aside from her critically acclaimed acting skills, Zhou Xun is also a singer, having released a couple of studio albums and been featured on the soundtracks for a long list of her films.

"True Legend" boasts a strong supporting cast that includes actress Michelle Yeoh, singer-turned-actor Jay Chou, and director-actor Feng Xiaogang. It is also one of the last films featuring "Kill Bill" star David Carradine, before he passed away last year.

A 3-D version of the special effect-rich "True Legend" will be screened at the Berlinale Special section during the 60th Berlin International Film Festival between February 11 and 21.

Source: http://english.cri.cn



Clip source: tudou
Reupload: mylove @ zhouxun.chungta.com

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Biopic of Confucius to open with record prints

BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The biopic of the life of the ancient Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius starring Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat is set to premiere on Jan 22.

"'Confucius' will open with 2,500 prints, breaking the record set by 'The Founding of a Republic'," said Liu Rong, general manager of Beijing Dadi Century which produced the film, on Thursday.

The latter, which was made to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), was released with 1,450 prints in September.

"The record figure means people will be able to watch the film in every cinema in the country," said Liu.

The film's director Hu Mei said the biopic was an effort to promote the great philosopher's life and thoughts, and the Chinese culture.

Chow said in an early interview that he had taken the role because in the film Confucius was portrayed as a man with much human interest.

The film, which cost about 150 million yuan (about 21.9 million U.S. dollars) to make, focuses on the great philosopher's life experiences from 51 to 73.

Confucius (551 BC-479 BC) was born in the ancient Chinese state of Lu, today's Qufu city in Shandong Province. He was a great educator, philosopher, a renowned politician and the founding father of Confucianism.

Source:
http://news.xinhuanet.com

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Confucius fails to impress critics

Confucius is widely considered as representative of Chinese culture and philosophy, having influenced generations of scholars and thinkers at home and abroad. Shooting a biopic of the great sage can be paralleled to Mel Gibson attempting The Passion of the Christ (2004), requiring more talent than courage.

Weak media reviews followed Confucius' prescreening last week, director Hu Mei's interpretation of the almostholy figure labelled as a show of courage, but not necessarily one of great talent.

The two-hour film, reflecting the life of Confucius from age 51 to his death at 73, is clearly divided into two parts, each an hour long. The first hour focuses on his political life and achievements, during which he led several "big-scene" wars. The second half of the fi lm starts with his dismissal and emphasizes his travelling life and spreading his philosophy among the people.

According to many film critics attending the pre-screening, the first half of Confucius is dramatic with exciting scenes and complicated character relationships, while the second is comparatively boring.

"This is the real life of Confucius. You cannot expect the film to be 100 percent exciting," the film's screenwriter Chen Han told the Global Times after Confucius' premiere in Beijing Thursday. Chen also wrote blockbuster Red Cliff for John Wu in 2008.

However, despite Chen's vision of sticking with reality, most of the audience said that they were not satisfied with the second half of the film, during which Confucius wanders from country to country, without any concrete dramatic conflicts. "The hour's more like a travel log, instead of a real film," commented Yang Lianjie from Beijing Morning Post.

The film has aroused several controversies since it was launched in early 2008, from casting Chow Yun-Fat as Confucius, to trailers that revealed action scenes during which Confucius exhibits Chinese martial arts and a love affair with Nan Zi (played by Zhou Xun) unfolds. Carrying high expectations, the final-cut of the film was disappointing with the much-anticipated action scenes deleted and most of the controversy removed.

"I did write and we did shoot the part where Confucius fights enemies with his walking stick, but after discussion we decided to take the scene out," Chen said. He explained that with the style conflict between the two halves of the film, adding such action scenes would have made continuity even worse.

Earlier hype about Confucius' love-life was also unwarranted, with Zhou's Nan Zi only making a brief appearance in the film and the relationship between her and Confucius shifted from love to simple admiration between student and teacher.

"This is the most important scene of the film. We changed the script many times and finalized their current relationship," Chen said.

Although different from what audiences are expecting from the trailers, the scene when Nan Zi meets Confucius is still the most dramatic and well-interpreted of the fi lm, according to critics. Much of the credit goes to the chemistry created between Chow and Zhou. Chow's performance is of the few more-memorable parts of the film.

"It has been a while that we have seen Chow paying so much attention and efforts to his acting," commented Sun Lingling from The Beijing News. After Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000, Chow has opted for less serious roles, none as sophisticated as Confucius and he produced a panned performance in Dragonball: Evolution. Chow's selection to play Confucius met with much public criticism as the actor is from Hong Kong and not well educated. Critics and filmlovers questioned his ability to play such a cultural and traditional role. In this aspect, the film succeeds, with Chow portraying a strong and multifaceted image of Confucius, from the way he speaks and acts, to his complicated inner world.

"He has convinced the audience that he is Confucius," Sun added in her review.

Set to hit cinema screens across China on Friday, Confucius has already made Chinese film history, with 2,500 copies distributed across the country. In comparison, the largest distribution of a Chinese film with 1,450 copies was The Founding of A Republic, which was also a box office champion in 2009.

Confucius' director Hu refused to make a box office prediction for the film that is facing stiff competition against the exceedingly successful dominating film Avatar.

"We have tried our best for the film. I have faith and confidence, but the rest is left for audiences to determine."

Source: Global Times
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/6871144.html

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Zhou Xun: China's queen of quirk

(CNN) -- Chinese actress Zhou Xun is a face recognized by millions, but so far, little known outside of China.

The self-effacing 33-year old has recently graced the covers of China's editions of Harper's Bazaar and Elle magazines, but bringing her face to an audience away from China's mainland remains elusive.

Zhou is demur on the topic of international acclaim, preferring only to say that she hopes to become a better actress rather than rival Zhang Ziyi as the face of Chinese cinema abroad.

Her latest film is "Confucius" also starring Chow Yun Fat, but Zhou made her breakthrough on the big screen in 2000 appearing in "Suzhou River," and was soon hailed by the Chinese media as one of the country's four best young actresses along with Zhao Wei, Xu Jinglei and Zhang Ziyi.

Since then Zhou has taken on a number of alternative roles -- from a nerdy lab technician in "All About Women" to an alcoholic spy in "The Message" -- that have marked her out from her peers and attracted plaudits from critics and fans.

She won best actress awards at the Paris Film Festival in 2000 and numerous awards in China for her role in 2005 film "Perhaps Love" and more recently, "The Equation of Love and Death."

Coming from a middle class family, she was a young girl at a dance academy when spotted by a film director and encouraged to become an actress.

"Being an actress in China, I'm actually a very lucky actress... Especially now that Chinese movies are becoming more diverse with more viewers overseas," she told CNN.

"I think it's the same to be an actress anywhere because the profession is about attitudes towards events -- it is a process to try to understand life. I think this is the case for actors across the world.

"It all comes down to how you try to be a good person, and act responsibly."

Acting responsibly, that is, except when the role demands it. Her clean-cut image was tarnished, on-screen at least, when she took a method approach to her part as a hard-drinking spook in "The Message." She admits to turning up on the set intoxicated in order to get into character.

Even though she lends her face to a number of products and high-end brands, she's honest enough to admit she has her flaws in real life as well.

"I think there are many faces to everyone. I also have my bad sides. Also I think everyone is trying to improve their shortcomings to become more wholesome. I have a lot of shortcomings, so it's 50-50," she said.

Source: http://edition.cnn.com

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