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Archive for May 20th, 2007

In. Over. Head.

The Cannes Film Festival rolls on, as Twitch now officially has reviews to the more interesting films at the festival. At least interesting to this blog.

They now have probably the first English review to Hitoshi Matsumoto’s “Dai Nipponjin,” which sounds hilarious, and also the first English review to the animated film “Vexville” by Ping Pong director Fumihiko Sori, which sounds interesting, even though I’m not a big fan of animation.

Variety, on the other hand, reviews the omnibus “To Each His Own Cinema,” comprised of 33 3-minute films by directors who have gained recognition at Cannes over the years, including Wong Kai-Wai, Tsai Ming-Liang, Takeshi Kitano, Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, and Hou Hsaio-Hsien. Out of all the films by Asian filmmakers, the review only mentions two - Zhang Yimou and Takeshi Kitano - at short lengths.

Chinese director Li Yang’s Blind Mountain was also shown in competition after Chinese censors forced Yang to make 20 cuts just to let it be allowed to travel overseas. Hollywood Reporter likes it, calling it a moving drama that retains enormous social impact, despite the cuts. Meanwhile, Variety didn’t like it, undermining the film as one that is low on drama and originality and high on deja vu.

There are also a few Japanese films that already opened in Japan, but saw its premiere in Cannes and their first reviews from Variety. One is For Those We Love, the controversial war drama that have been criticized as glorifying war before it even opened. The other is I Just Didn’t Do it by Shall We Dance director Masayuki Suo, about a man accused of molesting a young girl on the train and is forced to go through the tedious Japanese legal system.

- For Those We Love is so controversial that it’s even a target in the new Japanese film Pacchigi - Love and Peace, where one of its characters, a Japanese national of Korean heritage, becomes an actress who sees her big chance through a role in a nationalist film about kamikazes. Love and Peace, considered an independent film because it’s not distributed by “the big three,” opened on Saturday on 184 screens (as opposed to the original, which opened on 100 and expanded to 300 eventually), and the distributor is already expecting the film to make the 1 billion yen mark (considered the mark of success in Japanese box office).

- Shanghai, surely still not very happy that Disney chose Hong Kong over them (or seeing how it turned out, maybe they got over it already), will get their consolation by getting an MGM Studio World….except it’s not a theme park, but rather an indoor complex with all types of entertainment, ranging from a cinema to a nightclub. Well, I would rather get one of those than Disneyland, but that’s just me.

- Hong Kong seems like a perfectly free society…until they start enforcing laws you didn’t even know exists. A 14-year-old blogger was recently arrested because he blogs about his life in the triads. In Hong Kong, it’s illegal to even profess or claim to assist in “the management of a triad society.” Looks like Ekin Cheng has a long jail sentence ahead of him, then.

- Under “bad taste but nice try” today, the Japan censorship board has rejected the Japanese title for the mockumentary Death of a President, which supposed a world in which George W. Bush is assassinated. The rejected title? “The Assassination of Bush.” That automatically takes away any chance of me making a movie named “The Assassination of Lincoln,” then.

- Wow, what took so long? The Japanese government has finally decided to offer multiple incentives, including the allowing film to be limited-liability partnership and offering grants to multi-national co-productions, to help the film industry. Hong Kong government can offer $38.5 million, and Japan can only offer 16? Hmm….

- Jackie Chan and Jet Li are currently filming The Forbidden Kingdom, another attempt to bastardize the Journey to the West story to Western audiences. Jackie recently posted on his blog about his fight scene with Jet Li, which sounds good and all, but the movie still sounds crappy to me.

- After Paris Je T’aime (which is in American theaters now, and I highly recommend it), its producers has gotten quite a lineup for its follow up New York Je T’aime, including Oldboy’s Park Chan-Wook, Mira Nair, Zach Braff, and Allen and Albert Hughes. Sounds good to me.

- Remember Happy Male Voice, the revamped version of the talent show Super Girl in China? Apparently, people are quitting due all kinds of dark music industry stuff.

- It’s been a long time since a Gordon Chan movie made me excited (sadly, the last one was A.D. 2000, which was not worth the excitement). And this one continues the streak.

Instead of The Song of the Day today, it’ll be a special feature on the current Hong Kong hoopla about the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Copyright © 2002-2018 Ross Chen