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
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:
- Guan Hu (Mr. Six)– Ou Hao, Huang Bo, Wang Qianyuan
- Zhang Yibai (Fleet of Time) – Zhang Jiayi, Zhang Ze
- Xu Zheng (Lost in Thailand) – Liu Tao, Xu Zheng
- Xue Xiaolu (Finding Mr. Right).- Du Jiang, Zhu Yilong, Gao Yalin
- Ning Hao (Let the Bullets Fly) – Ge You
- Wen Muye (Dying to Survive) – Tong Liya, Song Jia, Lei Jiayin
- Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine) – Liu Haoran, Chen Feiyu, Tian Zhuangzhuang
- Wen Yan (Angels Wear White) – Andy Lau, Zhuang Yinan
Crazy Alien is an upcoming black comedy starring Huang Bo as Geng Hao, a monkey trainer whose act goes wrong after an alien crash lands on Earth and injures his monkey. Desperate to perform the act, he attempts to train the alien instead, though is punished after the alien regains his powers.
The alien’s plans to return home are complicated by American scientists searching for alien life and Dafei’s (Shen Teng) desire to make some traditional medicated liquor. Lei Jiayin costars as a policeman.
Ning Hao’s new film is scheduled for a February 5th release.
Dying to Survive 我不是药神 stars Xu Zheng (A or B) as Cheng Yong, a man suffering from chronic myeloid leukemia who sources a generic cancer drug Veenat from India and resells it in China with the help of fellow patient Lv Shouyi (Wang Chuanjun). Zhou Yiwei plays the cop that is hot on their heels.
Director Ning Hao and Huang Bo (Battle of Memories) first collaborated back in 2006’s black comedy film Crazy Stone, which was a critical and commercial hit. The second film in the series, Crazy Racer, didn’t do too badly either, and now production has begun on comedy sci-fi film Crazy Alien 疯狂的外星人.
The film is inspired by Liu Cixin‘s novel The Rural Teacher 乡村教师, and has set a premiere date of February 5th, 2019.
I bumped the list of nominations because the ceremony is today, and edited in the winners. This was a shocker because a certain film got shut out, winning none of its nominations. (Hint: it’s one of the above – both heavy favorites for the best picture award)
The whole thing was a lot more boring than last year, probably because the jury did not pick very big films, and completely had shut out Red Cliff 2 from nominations.
Although interestingly – this year was the first year purely Chinese films were allowed to compete. Before they had to be partially invested in by Taiwanese producers. And in a sign of better cross-strait relations China’s CCTV in tur broadcasted the awards.