Zhang Yimou’s Shadow gets North American release

Zhang Yimou’s Shadow 影 will  get a limited release in North America on May 3rd.  Starring Deng Chao, Sun Li, Zheng Kai, Guan Xiaotong, Wang Qianyuan, Hu Jun, and Wu Lei, the film is about a shadow or stand-in whose job is to be killed in place of his master.

With SHADOW, director Zhang Yimou (HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) once again pushes the boundaries of wuxia action to create a film like no other, masterfully painting a canvas of inky blacks and greys punctuated with bursts of color from the blood of the defeated. In a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, the military commander has a secret weapon: a “shadow”, a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself. Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want.

Below is the North American trailer. See list of theaters screening it here.

The battle between the Shadow and his master begins in new trailer

Zhang Yimu’s upcoming wuxia film Shadow has confirmed a premiere date of September 30th, and recently released a new trailer that seems to feature a monologue by Deng Chao‘s shadow:

No people. No light. No sound. All alone in the darkness, I moved my hands over every single crevice in the walls. It was proof that I wasn’t crazy. It was proof that I was still alive.

[Extended Synopsis]

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Latest posters and stills from Zhang Yimou’s Shadow still missing color and light

Which poster is your favorite so far?

Zhang Yimou’s Shadow 影 has released three more posters and ton of stills. Some of the images are quite stunning, and Zhang Yimou is a visual master, but If this film doesn’t get some major shadow reduction, no one’s going to see anything that’s going on in a dark movie theater.

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More black and white stills for Zhang Yimou’s period wuxia film Shadow

Shadow is all about opposites – light and dark, yin and yang – and I’m hoping the future teasers will be as stylish as the posters. Deng Chao (The Liquidator) will be playing two characters, and Sun Li (Nothing Gold Can Stay) costars as his wife.

Plot summary:

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Matt Damon, Andy Lau, Jing Tian team up for Zhang Yimou’s “The Great Wall”

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Director Zhang Yimou‘s first Hollywood flick, The Great Wall, will feature Andy Lau,Jing TianZhang Hanyun, Eddie Peng, Lu HanLin Gengxin, Zheng KaiChen Xudong, Huang Xuan ,TF Boys’s Wang Kaiyuan, alongside Hollywood actors Matt Damon and Williem Dafoe.    They’re really covering all the fan bases, but I’m hoping some of those will be cameo appearances since some of them really can not act.

Plot (script is written in English by a non-Chinese team) as follows per Hollywood Reporter, although Sina also mentions a female general aka stereotypical Asian love interest:

Damon, who is in final negotiations, will star as a soldier who is part of a group of mercenaries traveling to China in order to bring back gunpowder to Europe. When the group is attacked by mystical beasts, the man finds himself in a war between a secret warrior clan and the beasts.

sources: Legendary Pictures@Sina; Hollywood Reporter

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. Continue reading

Zhang Yimou under investigation for breaching One-Child Policy

Zhang Yimou

Zhang Yimou, prolific father and filmmaker

China’s most distinguished film director is being investigated for a violation of China’s One-Child Policy, the People’s Daily reported. Zhang Yimou 张艺谋, whose recent works include The Flowers of War 金陵十三钗 and the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, is rumoured to have fathered seven children with four women. The Wuxi Population and Family Planning Commission is probing the allegations which first spread online earlier this month. Wuxi is the residence of Zhang’s second and current wife, actress Chen Ting 陈婷.

If the allegations are proven true, Zhang could face a penalty of double his annual income, a total figure given at RMB160 million ($26 million). Wuxi authorities expect to finalise the report in a few days.

The One-Child Policy was first introduced in 1979 to curb China’s then population boom. The policy, which restricts couples to only one child, directly affects about a third of the country’s population.

Christian Bale and Zhang Yimou featured on Hollywood Reporter

Christian Bale and Zhang Yimou

Bale and Zhang shares tales of bonding and awkwardness.

As December finally comes, the long-silent The Flowers of War finally begins its promotions.   The December issue of The Hollywood Reporter features an interview with directorZhang Yimou and actor Christian Bale.   See some highlights below, and read the entire story, with an especially important discussion on Chinese – Hollywood crossovers, here.

Zhang talks about what attracted him to this story, and the process of making it.

“The story of the Rape of Nanking has been told before in films, and is a very political and serious subject,” Zhang says, “but what intrigued me about this story was that it’s actually told from the female perspective, so it’s more humane and has a personal touch.”

The movie’s original title was The Heroes of Nanking, but it was changed midstream to emphasize the female aspect of the storyline.

Zhang researched the Rape of Nanking for more than three years, and some of the film’s more graphic scenes were drawn from actual photographs, while the movie itself was based on Geling Yan’s novel The 13 Women of Nanjing.

The story also tells of how the two came to work together –  Bale was recommended to Zhang Yimou by former Universal studio chief David Linde and director Steven Spielberg. Continue reading

Chinese Box Office Soars and Wang Xiaoshuai Goes Commercial

The Chinese Box Office just keeps climbing and climbing. For the first half of the year it reached 2.3 Billion in revenue. The overall box office for the year is estimated at 5.5 million which would show a 32% increase from last year. This is the sixth year in which it has sustained a 25% + growth. Considering that number is  a percentage, China’s BO’s ability to maintain it is very impressive. And now formerly indie directors are finding that there’s no reason to stay indie.

Sixth Generation Indie Director, Wang Xiaoshuai who was last heard lashing out at commercially-successful Chinese directors, has apparently decided he has had enough of sitting on the sidelines when everyone else is taking advantage of China’s film goldmine. He plans to shoot a  romance film set during the Sichuan Earthquake with a $60 million yuan budget, and says he would like to cast Han Geng. He gave choices for leading ladies as Jiang Yiyan, Tang Yan, and Gao Yuanyuan.

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