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Cast of Sophie's Revenge working the red carpet.

This is one of the two A-List film festivals in Asia, the other being Tokyo. Despite starting late (1993), organizers have been working hard to make this as prestigious as possible, a subjective measure, and it does seem to be a step up from last year with Danny Boyle heading the jury, and various other stars walking the red carpet. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of these pictures already, sorry for the lateness! I’ll post on the SIFF again later.

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The jury is headed by Danny Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire
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The cast and crew of He Ping's Wheat, which opened the festival

THE STARS

To save space, I cut down on the size of the pictures, and put two people on a row, very randomly. I am sorry if I put your favorite actress with that actress that you simply hate and know is a big fake.

Kelly Lin and Fan Bingbing

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Li Bingbing and Vicky Zhao Wei

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Halle Berry and Kitty Zhang Yuqi

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Dong Xuan and Huang Yi

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Charlene Choi and Yuniko Cheng

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The disclaimer I wrote above for the actresses applies to these actors as well.

Clive Owen and Wu Zun

What would Clive say about being placed next to Wu Zun?:

Oh f**k off I’m Clive Owen. That’s mental!

Sorry Fahrenheit fans, Wu Zun is such an easy target. He keeps showing up to film award ceremonies and film fests.

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Aaron Kwok and Quincy Jones

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Kenji Wu and Anthony Wong

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And to end on a light note: Ady An Yixuan taking a picture (sort of) with goofballs Jaycee Chan and Nicky Lee.

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I probably missed a lot of people but I’ll try to post them next time.

THE MOVIES

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There are two Chinese films in competition. One is a CN/HK/TW.

One is Empire of Silver, directed by Christina Yao, a veteran Taiwanese stage director in her film debut. Empire of Silver is about a young man who must assume the role of heir to a banking empire he cares little about, and loves his stepmother.

The other is Soul Searching, directed by Wanma Caidan, a Tibetan filmaker who gained attention with his award0winning debuted Silent Holy Stones.
Soul-searching is a love story revolving around the search for a Tibetan opera performer.

For the full list of films competing click here,

There are also plenty of films not in competition that Shanghaiists could check otu. One of them, as I mentioned was One Night in Supermarket, which as you can see from the “Man” /”Full” character below, was sold out. I wonder why….

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Also the cast of Sophie’s Revenge (please do not disappoint me!) came out to promote their movie. Even their press conference stage setups are so cute.

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Unfortunately the stars came out and blocked the cuteness…

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And an interesting article…

So in a previous post, comments veered toward the subject of the movie industry, and how China has finally stopped trying to cater to the America market with the Kung-fu/wuxia films, and I stated that even though I’d like for China’s market to rival the US so that the world would be less America-centric in terms of entertainment, I found it unlikely America would ever try to cater to China.

Actually America already has.

A few films in America were coproduced with China, (The Forbidden Kingdom) in order to sideswerve the quota laws China has against imports, allowing it to enter China as a Chinese film.

The Hollywood Reporter states:

Wang Ran, a Beijing-based media analyst at China eCapital, says co-production continues to be a major avenue for Hollywood to tap into the region, despite some failures.

“There are two trends going in parallel: One is for Hollywood to produce films with a China element, whether it’s the story line or the cast, mainly for the Western markets; another is for leading Chinese film producers to engage mainstream Hollywood talent in their production effort, primarily for the domestic markets,” says Wang, who will moderate a SIFF panel that includes MPAA CEO Dan Glickman.

The festival runs from June 13-20.

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9 thoughts on “The 12th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) Opens”

  1. Artsy can be great imo. I like Tsai Ming-liang’s The Hole very much, vs HHH’s rather slow artsy movies. But when they become the most famous directors in Taiwan, I think that’s when “artistic films” becomes a problem.

    I like co-productions too. Hong Kong, Taiwan and China have had such different film paths and their strengths are in different areas, so they can learn a lot from each other.

  2. Haha :) I think I remember that film.

    Yeah, I’m also intrigued by the shift in Taiwanese films from idol-based to more “artsy.” In fact some of them remind me of Japanese films where they’ll have 5 minutes of complete silence where the lead actor is just starting into space…

    Of course there are some better ones like Cape No. 7 but even that movie had some disjointed moments (like the “love” scene. It was so all-of-a-sudden.)

    I just wish Taiwan, HK, and China could pool their resources together more often because I love the joint production dramas they’ve made together.

  3. @idarklight – I agree. This is what Feng Xiaogang was saying right?

    @JJ Taiwan in the 1990s? I remember School Days was from that era. It was the cheesiest film ever, with Jimmy Lin, Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Ruby Lin. All were really horrible in that film, even Takeshi but the whole film was just so cheesy and bad. Kind of a guilty pleasure, but if that film was indicative of the cinematic environment of Taiwan at the time, then yes, I can see the prejudice.

    What happened to those sorts of Taiwanese films? They disappeared it seems. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

    I think it’ll take a long, long time for what I’m talking about to happen.
    American movies are still looked to by everyone around the world because so many cinematic acheivements were made in America, and not simply because they have the biggest talent pool and the biggest budgets. But it will be too hard for the world to ignore Chinese cinema when it’s market eclipses the US. Which to me doesn’t seem like just a possibility. It seems like a sure thing.

    And arguably, once quota restrictions are lifted, Taiwanese films would benefit as well, like England-US scenario.

  4. @ cfensi

    I see what you mean. Yeah, if the Chinese companies can learn the production techniques that would be really great.

    @ idarklight

    I totally agree. I went to high school in Taiwan during the late-90s and among my classmates they often looked down upon Chinese-language films.

    Of course most of the films at the time were from Hong Kong and the quality was getting pretty bad.

  5. I think for China to rival US movies, it has nothing to do with gaining the US audience, but instead to gain its own audiences. Building your own fans is better than taking someone else’s, because the first will stay and the second might not.

  6. I feel like Korea is still a huge newbie in the film business, whereas US companies have so much experience behind them in various aspects, genres. Working with the US provides so much more potential and so much more to learn from.

    From various articles, it seems Korean companies seem to rely on a quick buck, or quick collabs whereas the US wants to change things from within, like with animation, or with a broadway-type area in Beijing/Shanghai.

  7. My concern with the Hollywood-China joint productions is that the story’s going to be very stereotypical and the Chinese actors end up being sidekicks to the Hollywood star.

    Kinda like what you mentioned before with the Korean companies. It feels like they’re trying to merely exploit the Chinese market, rather than helping it grow.

    So I hope the Chinese companies don’t sell out their future to make a quick buck.

    Of course if China really wanted to rival the American film industry they need to make people averse to reading subtitles :)

  8. Argh! These mistakes happen every single time I post on a festival/award ceremony because they take such a long time to write-up.

    Darn these look-a-likes in the Chinese entertainment industry! Lol, actually they don’t look-a-like. Pace Wu was there too, and she had a prettier dress.

  9. Actually, for the pic with Charlene, I thought the girl was Yumiko. not pace wu.

    Not so sure if i am correct.

    Anyway, i like reading your webbie.

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