Hey folks, Harry here with a pair of movies that any film geek worth their weight in salt should be excited as hell to get a chance to see. Zhang Yimou's HERO is allegedly due out this year, if Miramax can ever decide what to do about releasing it. Meanwhile, prey that they haven't butchered it in the innumerable ways they usually go about it, but if you have seen HERO, then hearing Zhang is making a new Martial Arts Epic... well, it's the sort of news to get one giddy. Here's Zhang Yimou's other great films: TO LIVE, JU DOU, SHANGHAI TRIAD, NOT ONE LESS and RAISE THE RED LANTERN. Meanwhile, Wong Kar-Wai's 2046 has been filming seemingly forever, and actually hearing of a release time and an end to filming... well, that's great news and instantly leaps to the top of... I MUST SEE IT NOW lists! If you have yet to discover the magic of Wong Kar-Wai, then you must check out: HAPPY TOGETHER, CHUNGKING EXPRESS and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE! Ok, now let's get to the news!
A first timer here. The shootings of the two biggest Chinese language films in 2004 are about to conclude. Just thought I'd send in an update in case anyone is interested. So here's for the geeks (House of Flying Daggers) and the artsy-fartsies (2046).
House of Flying Daggers (Shi Mian Mai Fu)
Riding on the box-office success of Hero, arthouse perennial Zhang Yimou is directing another martial arts epic in House of Flying Daggers (tentative English title). Production started on September the 11th last year, which coincided with the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Holiday. Early filming was completed in Ukraine. The All-Asia team stars Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon producer Bill Kong, In the Mood for Love composer Shigeru Umebayashi, Academy Award winning costume designer Emi Wada (Hero, Kurosawa's Ran and Yume) and ace action choreographer Siu-Tung Ching (Hero, Shaolin Soccer).
Two weeks after the gang returned to China's inland Yongchuan county for more shooting, Anita Mui, who was booked for the second female lead, died from cervical cancer. Mui was often tabbed as Hong Kong's Madonna in the 80s and burst onto the film scene in Stanley Kwan's critically acclaimed Rouge. Instead of casting another actress, Zhang has opted to rework the script due to time constraint. Production is scheduled to finish before the upcoming Chinese New Year.
(*Spoiler*) In the film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon belle Zhang Ziyi plays a blind sing-song girl from the Ming Dynasty whose real identity, as you may have guessed, is a roaming swordswoman. Two handsome mandarin detectives, played by multi-talented Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs, Black Gold) and multi-linguistic Takeshi Kaneshiro (Fallen Angels, Chungking Express), fall in love with the disguised heroine in the search for the real criminal.
Just when people started speculating whether one would have to wait until the year 2046 for Wong Kar-Wai's ballyhooed 2046, earlier this week, official news came from Beijing Xin Ying Lian Film Co., the film's Mainland China distributor that the super high budgeted, super star studded movie had been scheduled for a May Day Holiday theater release. More than four years after he launched the project, Wong and the crew are wrapping up the marathon shoot in Shanghai. The Chungking Express director will fly to France in February and meet with his post production team, which reportedly has been working on special effects and editing for some time. Western audiences should expect a grand premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
In trademark Wong Kar-Wai fashion, cast and crew members did not follow the script during the filming simply because there was no script to begin with. The plot was only briefly explained to cinematographer Christopher Doyle. 2046 marks the sixth time that Doyle (The Quiet America, Rabbit-Proof Fence) has worked on a Wong film. The ensemble cast features on-screen dynamic duos Tony Leung/Maggie Cheung (In the Mood for Love), Zhang Ziyi/Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Japanese heartthrob Takuya Kimura and Canto-pop siren Faye Wong (Chungking Express).
The story centers around a writer during his stay in a hotel room numbered 2046. He is befuddled and at the same time inspired by the relationships he witnessed, between men and women, love and sex, and past and future. It is rumored that Faye has posed nude for the sex scenes. However, according to Tony Leung, who got down and dirty with Leslie Cheung in the auteur's Happy Together, "it is nothing like what people think. (The film) was shot with subtlety. Besides the bed, you can't see anything". He added, "The director is amazing. He is adding something new to the film every day. So it is not over until it is in theaters." Even though no one has an idea what the final cut will look like, one thing is for sure: the long wait for us fans will finally come to an end!
If you use this, I am the translator for Gordon Liu:)