September 22, 2012 |
BEIJING - Every movie project involves a certain amount of negotiation, but finding middle ground proved no easy matter when writer-director Daniel Hsia tried to film "Shanghai Calling" in China. To secure permission to make his story about a Chinese American lawyer relocated to the country's largest city, Hsia exchanged numerous screenplay drafts with China's censors. The government's film production arm, China Film, which co-produced the movie, wanted to make sure that Shanghai was depicted as an efficient modern metropolis, that locals were shown as "kind and hospitable," that the visiting lawyer comes to appreciate the country by the film's conclusion and that a plot about piracy would be rewritten into more of a business misunderstanding, Hsia said.
March 20, 2011 |
For years, Chinese films shown in U.S. theaters have fallen into two distinct camps, both driven by largely white patrons: martial-arts movies for young men, such as Jet Li's "Hero," or critically acclaimed art-house fare, such as Kaige Chen's "Farewell My Concubine. " Only rarely has a movie conquered both blocs, as did Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. " "The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman," a Mandarin-language action comedy that hit U.S. screens this weekend, is a bit of a different animal — it has sword fights but also a music video, hand-drawn animation, slapstick jokes, split screens, black-and-white photography, opera, a video game and even a point-of-view shot from the eyes of a decapitated warrior.
March 11, 2012 |
Raymond Zhou became China's most famous film critic by happenstance. It was 2001, and his work as the editor in chief of a bilingual high-tech website in Silicon Valley had been halved. With extra time on his hands, and unemployment looming, Zhou started writing Western-style movie reviews and sending them back to his home country. The casual, chatty and accessible style — then utterly new to China, where musty academic film criticism was the norm — was a hit. Over the year, Zhou reviewed about 100 new films, from Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down" to Steven Spielberg's "A.I.
July 3, 2011 |
When the Chow Yun-fat action-comedy epic "Let the Bullets Fly" opened in China last year, it quickly became a phenomenon. Lured by its splashy fight scenes and whip-snap dialogue, filmgoers swarmed theaters. The movie wound up taking in more than $100 million at the box office in China, the most for a homegrown film. Yet despite its Hollywood-style violence and an actor with international name recognition, "Let the Bullets Fly" hasn't even managed to find a distributor in the United States.
March 22, 2011 |
Poking around a pirate DVD shop down the block from the Apple Store in central Beijing one recent afternoon on her lunch break, Zhou Xin eyed the floor-to-ceiling selection of Oscar-nominated films, indie flicks and B-movies such as "Nude Nuns With Big Guns" before grabbing a sleek copy of "Black Swan," complete with a blurb in English and Mandarin, for closer inspection. "It looks creepy," said the 26-year-old, who works in public relations. She replaced it on the shelf and picked up "The Social Network," which she purchased for eight yuan, or about $1.22.
April 6, 2013 |
HONG KONG - When Mabel Cheung, one of this city's leading directors, shot her historical-political drama "The Soong Sisters" in China in the mid-1990s, the nature of the exchange for the co-production was simple: Beijing provided inexpensive manpower, and professionals from the British colony's highly developed movie industry provided the expertise. Hong Kong cinema, after all, had been enjoying a golden age for close to two decades - celebrated directors such as John Woo and Wong Kar-wai had helped the city's filmmakers garner a global fan base.