Big names turn to high drama as Chinese cinema expands its horizons
Thursday 10 March 2011
Two of the biggest names in Chinese cinema have this week announced projects which reflect the growing breadth of the nation's film industry.
Both director Feng Xiaogang - the all-time Chinese box office champ thanks to hits such as Aftershock and If You Are The One - and internationally acclaimed actress Zhang Ziyi (
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) have gone public to promote their next productions and both are concerned with richly dramatic themes, a far cry from the action blockbusters which have in the past 12 months dominated the mainland Chinese box office.
Feng cryptically claimed this week that his next project would be something he has been chasing for more than a decade and the mainland Chinese media swooped - pointing to the director's long-held desire to turn his cameras on author Liu Zhenyun's Memory of 1942, which traces the effects of the famine that killed around three million people. Feng is expected to start shooting the film later this year with an eye on a 2012 release.
Zhang, meanwhile, has a film coming out on May 10 in mainland Chinese cinemas - and it tackles a subject which has long been taboo in the country.
Life is a Miracle - which also stars Hong Kong heartthrob Aaron Kwok - is a love story set around a couple who both develop AIDS, and its director Gu Changwei concurrently shot a documentary about the subject which is doing the rounds of the nation's art-house cinemas.
At the Chinese box office, meanwhile, things were all about DreamWorks' I Am Number Four, which picked up 41.3 million yuan (4.5 million euros) in the week ending March 6, to hold out the local drama Buddha Mountain, about a group of youngsters whose presence inspires the life of an aging opera singer. It picked up 25.7 million yuan (2.8 million euros).
In Japan, the latest installment of the animated Doraemon series - Nobita and the New Steel Troops: Angel Wings - picked up close to US$5.5 million (four million euros) in its first week of release to come out number one, while in Hong Kong the Oscar-winning Black Swan held on to its top position for the second week in a row with takings of US$620,333 (450,000 euros).
For the teaser trailer for Life is a Miracle (Chinese only), visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBzXE2PgUP0
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate