Chen Kaige directs original Peking Opera-themed short

Farewell, My Concubine takes center stage once more in a Chen Kaige film as a group of young actors face difficult choices before a scheduled performance of the classic piece.

Director Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, Forever Enthralled) returns to the Peking Opera troupe for inspirations in this stylized short film directed and written by him for variety show Attention Actors 演员请就位. Zhao Wenhao (Sacrifice) puts on imo the best performance of the show as a disgruntled former actor who fulfills his dream of acting as the hero Xiang Yu on stage by channeling him in real life to protect his beloved. The film co-stars Huang Yao (The Crossing) and Yu Xiaotong (Dream of the Red Chambers).

Watch the skit on Youtube below (should start at 2:03:43):

(more…)

National Day Film Round-Up

Abominable is the first animated film available with Chinese dubs across all theaters in the U.S.

The themes of this National Day week-long break are unsurprisingly patriotism and surprisingly Mount Everest. Here’s the slate of films trying to beat Ne Zha and The Wandering Earth‘s record-breaking numbers this year. All four are available in limited theaters in the U.S. and Canada (and probably New Zealand and Australia).

Abominable, the love letter to Chinese scenery that’s the first film from Pearl Studio, a venture between DreamWorks Animation, China Media Capital, and the Shanghai Media Group. I’ve seen it in English and definitely recommend it. The main characters are very shippable in an Asian drama way, and the imagery is super imaginative.

Note that if you’re in the U.S., you can watch the film with Chinese dubs in theaters by using the Theater Ears app.
Voice actors: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor in English; Zhang Zifeng, Arthur Chen Feiyu, Wan Qian, Cai Qin in Chinese

(more…)

Tencent’s new acting variety show releases stills of contestants

Peng Xiaoran (Goodbye My Princess) reenacting Chen Kaige’s Legend of the Demon Cat

Tencent’s upcoming big-budget acting variety show Attention, Actors 演员请就位 (lit.) has hired directors Li Shaohong (Palace of Desires, Dream of Red Mansions 2010), Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, Legend of the Demon Cat), Guo Jingming (Tiny Times, L.O.R.D) and Zhao Wei (So Young) as judges who will assemble their own team from a group of 58 actors.

(more…)

Chen Kaige, Ning Hao, Xu Zheng, Wen Muyu, Xue Xiaolu, Zhang Yibai, Wen Yan team up for National Day film project

I don’t usually post these type of patriotic films since they’re usually just bad films, but the trailer for  this actually looks really good.  Me and My Motherland 我的我的祖国, a film celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October, consists of eight parts separately shot by eight directors, ranging from veterans like Chen Kaige to rising talents like Wen Yan. Here’s what  we know of the cast so far for each part:

  1.  Guan Hu (Mr. Six)– Ou Hao, Huang Bo, Wang Qianyuan
  2. Zhang Yibai (Fleet of Time) – Zhang Jiayi, Zhang Ze
  3.  Xu Zheng (Lost in Thailand)  –   Liu Tao, Xu Zheng
  4. Xue Xiaolu (Finding Mr. Right).- Du Jiang, Zhu Yilong, Gao Yalin
  5. Ning Hao (Let the Bullets Fly) – Ge You
  6. Wen Muye (Dying to Survive) – Tong Liya, Song Jia, Lei Jiayin
  7. Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine)  – Liu Haoran, Chen Feiyu, Tian Zhuangzhuang
  8. Wen Yan (Angels Wear White) – Andy Lau, Zhuang Yinan

Trailer:

Looking forward to Upcoming Chinese films in 2014

Ge You and Jiang Wen as showmasters in the movie, Gone With the Bullets.
Ge You and Jiang Wen as show masters in the upcoming movie, Gone With the Bullets.

The year is almost a quarter over (I know!), but 2014 is a really exciting year for Chinese film and it would be a waste not to take a look at all the great stuff that’s going to be released soon. This year, as some have noted, will be the year of big director comebacks, from Red Cliff’s John Woo to Zhang Yimou and many others. (Thanks to Mookie for everything about this post, I’m just here to spread the word.)

(Also, you’ll soon realize that Huang Xiao Ming does not rest… I believe he has at least 4 films this year alone, excluding dramas!!)

This list is in no way exhaustive. (more…)

Popularity by the numbers

What’s the most fair way to count popularity?
Baidu, mainland’s biggest search engine, thinks it’s by search results.
On the 20th, Baidu held its 3rd annual Hunan TV-Baidu Search Awards at the Water Cube.
CFensi brings you some of the best performances and speeches from the H3O.

Vicki Zhao Wei – Most popular actress; upon viewing a video summary of her ten years as an actress:

My greatest reward is that I found the meaning to my life. I think living in this world, everyone has a purpose in their lives, be it the the feeling of parents to their child or a doctor to his patients. In these ten years, I found the value in my life. Although my purpose is not as amazing as that of a scientist, but I think my life was a worthwhile one.

Chen Kun – most popular male actor

Actually, I’m late to mature. I always thought that I should act in roles that I want to, like in Mei Lan Fang, but unfortuantely I missed it. I realized that in life, there are other roles we must act as. Thank you to everyone who has supported me to this day. Whether you’re a fan of my acting, singing, or you’re just someone who silently supports me, I hope you’ll continue to support me. I’ll do my best for you guys, because I learned to enjoy my profession now.

(more…)

Kwai Lun-mei Rocks It; Feng Xiaogang Evaluates Peers

w020081014398629642257

The girl with the name that I will never know how to romanize properly but still love, is dabbling in singing with her quirky song “Hello Microphone”, theme song to quirky movie “Not All Women Are Bad”, in which she plays a quirky singer. I use the word quirky a lot because I don’t know any other adjectives for the movie. I wish I could call it good, but If You Are the One‘s director Feng Xiaogang has apparently monopolized that adjective for the season. But can he write lyrics??

Gui Lun-mei – Hello Microphone (lyrics by movie’s director Tsui Hark)

(more…)

Ten Most Anticipated Chinese Movies for Holiday Season

Just because China is a largely agnostic country doesn’t mean it doesn’t like its winter holidays, and while I doubt China celebrates Thanksgiving, around this time the streets in China are starting to get lined with Christmas decorations and it becomes a busy time for movies. This was actually a very weird year for the Chinese movie industry because of the Olympics, and much of the production activity was halted for China so I’m not sure how these movies would have been affected, but hopefully some of them will surprise me and hopefully some of them will live up to hype. Some of you may be wondering, am I actually on hiatus? I don’t know. I have a few more posts lined up though, so maybe not. :P

kimi

(more…)