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The Golden Rock - August 30th, 2007 Edition

Call me lazy, call me tired, or just call it plain Thursday syndrome, but there’s again not all that much news out there.

- Everyone is trying to break into that China market, and the only way is co-produce them with China, and the only way to do that is to get Chinese government approval. The first successful Australian production to pull this off will be Roger Spottiswoode’s The Children of Huang Shi, co-starring Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh. In traditional ethnographic gaze, the film will be about a British journalist who team up with an Austrlian nurse to rescue Chinese children oppressed by the Japanese during World War II.

- The Hong Kong Asian Film Festival (smaller than the Hong Kong International Film Festival and a different organizer) will feature some pretty huge films this year, including Ang Lee’s Lust Caution (which is opening the festival), Lee Chang-Dong’s Secret Sunshine, Jiang Wen’s The Sun Also Rises, and Jia Zhangke’s Useless.

- Speaking of Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, Lee said that while his film did get the most restrictive rating the American censors could give (NC-17 - no one under 17 may be admitted), he hopes to use it to change perceptions about the rating itself. While I would like to see Lee pull that off, I doubt it would be an Asian espionage triller that will do it. An NC-17 itself means that it won’t reach beyond the urban areas because newspapers won’t even advertise them, and theaterowners are too conservative to show them.

On the other hand, category-III films (no one under 18 may be admitted) are able to get wide advertising and theater bookings here in Hong Kong. And yet, society is somewhat more conservative. What’s the deal here?

- This all sounds a little complicated (it’s easy to get broadband TV here in Hong Kong, but how do you do it in the states, where all kinds of infrastructure problems can prevent it), but there is now a new way to get Asian programming into your American homes, thanks to (for once) American Chinese video content distributor Tai Seng.

- Jason Gray continues to try to spread word-of-mouth for the Pia festival winning film This World of Ours. I just requested for a copy of the film with the director Ryo Nakajima, so I’ll be checking it out and hopefully help him spread word. Why? Because I believe in good karma, especially for an aspiring director like myself.

- About freaking time. NHK chairman actually asks at a committee meeting to reduce license fee by 10%. That way, corrupted producers will have less money to pocket.

- Remember that “Sing this song and you’ll die” movie with the creative advertising? Densen Uta opened this past weekend in Japan on 106 screens and managed to make only 31.21 million yen, outside of the top 10. That opening is only 74% of the opening for the last teen girl-infected horror film Ghost Train.

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