One of the most musical of Chinese filmmakers, Cui Zi'en shoots his latest work as a gentle hymnal rather than an austere requiem. The result is a heartfelt paean to brotherly love.
Published over a decade after its 1996 Korean debut, the English-translation of Kim Young-ha's first novel I Have the Right to Destroy Myself sheds light on Kim's beginnings in the Korean literature scene.
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Song Hye-Gyo catches the indie spirit, Tony Leung and Tang Wei feel the indie love, and Midnight Eagle gets an indie release in L.A.'s newest indie theater. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
Song Hye-Gyo makes U.S. film debut
Popular Korean actress Song Hye-Gyo has arrived stateside to begin filming Fetish, an independent production by Korean director Sohn Soopum. Set in New York, Fetish is a psychological thriller about a young Korean woman who uses her paranormal abilities to steal an American woman's husband, played by Austrian actor Arno Frisch. Fetish is an appropriate title for a movie that features interracial love gone wrong. Song has starred in many television drama series, including Full House, for which she won best actress at the 2004 KBS Awards. Song's first role in an American movie is a departure from her cute and soapy image, as well a move from mainstream pop culture to alternative film. --Lisa Leong
Gong Li to Star in Shanghai
Celebrated Chinese actress Gong Li will star opposite John Cusack in their new film Shanghai, produced by the Weinstein Comapany. First introduced to audiences by great director Zhang Yimou, the 41 year-old has starred in Chinese and Hollywood blockbusters such as Curse of the Golden Flower, Memoirs of a Geisha, Miami Vice, and Hannibal Rising. Mikael Hafstrom, who also directed John Cusack's thriller 1408, will helm the film. Li will play an underworld woman who croths paths with an American played by Cusack. The film will be shot in Shanghai, Los Angeles, and Canada and will begin filming in February of next year. --Richard Park
Lust, Caution Actors up for Awards
The Independent Spirit Award nominations are out and the two leading actors of Lust, Caution both received bids. Tony Leung is nominated for Best Male Lead and his co-star Tang Wei is up for the Best Female Lead award. The Clark Gable of Asia has starred in many Hong Kong films such as Infernal Affairs and has garnered much praise throughout the world. This nomination is the first for newcomer Tang Wei who was handpicked by director Ang Lee. Lust, Caution was a hit in Asia and received the top prize in this year's Venice Film Festival, the Golden Lion. The awards ceremony will be held in Santa Monica, California on February 24th. --Richard Park
ImaginAsian theater opens in LA
Asian American multimedia company ImaginAsian Entertainment expands its empire with a new theater, The ImaginAsian Center, in Los Angeles. Opening December 7 after years of plans and announcements, this will be the second of ImaginAsian's theaters, following the first ImaginAsian Theatre in New York. Formerly the historic Linda Lea Theater, L.A.'s ImaginAsian Center will be the only film center in downtown L.A. dedicated to first-run Asian and Asian American films. The layout features 250 capacity stadium-style seating, a VIP lounge, a working stage, and even a rooftop garden. Feature films, screenings, live performances, and special events and exhibitions will be held at the Center, and Midnight Eagle, the Japanese action and adventure film, will be the grand opening feature. Opening night festivities will be held on Saturday, December 1, with special guests Carrie Ann Inaba and Michelle Krusiec. --JoJo Yang
Japanese Action Film Midnight Eagle Releases in US and Japan
Set in the icy Northern Alps of Japan, a U.S. bomber aircraft nicknamed "Midnight Eagle" crashes and unknowingly photographer Yuji Nishizaki (Takao Osawa) captures the plane's descent on camera. His involvement soon becomes an international hunt for what's inside the plane -- a nuclear warhead threatening to wipe out Japan's entire population. Directed by Izuru Narushima (Fly, Daddy, Fly), the Japanese action film Midnight Eagle, is based on the novel by Tetsuo Takashima. With participation from Japan's Ministry of Defense, Ground Self Defense Forces and the Japan Air Self-Defense Forces, this marks the first-ever such collaboration in the history of Japanese film (according to the press notes), and is also the first Japanese mountain film made in fifty years. Midnight Eagle stars actors Takao Osawa (Life - Tengoku de Kimini Aetara), Yuko Takeuchi (Closed Diary), and Hiroshi Tamaki (Nodame Cantabile). The film was released in the US in New York on November 23 and is set to release in Los Angeles on December 7. For more information about the film, see its official website. --LiAnn Ishizuka
Seven Days bought for remake
After it's November 14th release in Korea, Won Shin-yeon's crime thriller Seven Days hit number one at the Korean box office and still climbing. Lost star Kim Yunjin plays a lawyer who receives a phone call after her daughter unexpectedly vanishes. To get her daughter back, she must help a man who is on trial for murder. Positive reviews are bringing Koreans to the theater to see Kim's performance, and in its second week, Seven Days had a 30% increase in ticket sales. Summit Entertainment quickly bought the right to the film, and the remake is scheduled to begin production in 2008. --Lisa Leong
Yu Hua's Poignant Novel Cries in the Drizzle Published in English
Yu Hua's Cries in the Drizzle is a heartbreaking novel chronicling the life of a Chinese boy throughout his childhood and adolescence during the reign of Chairman Mao. Noted contemporary Chinese author Yu Hua, who has published acclaimed novels To Live and Chronicle of a Blood Merchant, began his career first as a dentist but transitioned into writing after submitting stories to literary journals in 1983. Cries in the Drizzle was originally serialized in a Shanghai literary journal in 1991 and was published in English in October 2007. --LiAnn Ishizuka
Date Posted: 11/30/2007