While Indian audiences may not be impressed, Smitha Radhakrishnan wonders if underneath the clichés, there is diversification to be appreciated in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Chandni Chowk to China.
When it comes to contemporary independent Chinese cinema, the International Film Festival Rotterdam provides a slice of the real, the surreal, and the virtual.
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Fox Searchlight picks up My Name is Khan, Ip Man 2 fights forward, and Korea chooses Mother. All this and more in the latest edition of News from Abroad.
Fox acquires worldwide rights to My Name is Khan; Shah Rukh Khan's name lands him in trouble
The entire Fox family is committing to the upcoming Shah Rukh Khan / Kajol film My Name is Khan, directed by Karan Johar. As they did for the Oscar-winning hit Slumdog Millionaire, Fox Star Studios India will be distributing the film in India and Fox Searchlight in the U.S. Other territories will be handled by Fox International. According to the website of Dharma Productions, the much-anticipated drama about a Muslim man's experiences in post-9/11 America will be released in February 2010. But six months early, the drama seems to already be unfolding. According to media reports, on the night of August 14, 2009, Shah Rukh Khan was detained at the Newark-New Jersey airport in the United States -- because of his name. Confusion, fury, and weird bouts of the uncanny followed amongst fans and journalists around the world. Looks like Fox got more than they paid for. --Brian Hu
Ip Man 2 Starts Production
The official start of production for Ip Man 2 was marked by a ceremony held August 10 in Foshan, Guangdong Province of Southern China, Ip Man's own hometown. Last year's Ip Man is based loosely on Wing Chun martial arts master Ip Man, who later became Bruce Lee's martial arts teacher in Hong Kong. In Ip Man, the martial arts master fights against the occupying Japanese imperialists in the 1930s and 1940s. The sequel will continue from the first film, where Ip Man escapes from the Japanese forces and flees to Hong Kong. The second installment will tell how Ip Man became the martial arts master he is known as today in Hong Kong, as well as the rivalry between Wing Chun and Hung martial arts. The original crew and cast have returned, including director Wilson Yip, writer Edmond Wong, actors Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung. Shooting has begun in Shanghai where the original Ip Man was made. Ip Man 2 is scheduled for release in Hong Kong and mainland China in the summer of 2010. --Michael Lom
Korea chooses Mother for Oscar submission
According to Variety magazine, Bong Joon-ho's latest film Mother has been chosen as South Korea's nomination for the Oscar foreign-language film category. Kim Hye-ja plays a mother who tries desperately to prove that her mentally challenged son is not guilty of murdering a high school girl. Bong Joon-ho had previously received critical acclaim for his box office hit, The Host. The last date for submissions for the foreign-language category is October 1st, with the top-five nominations subsequently announced on February 2nd. The Academy Awards will take place on March 7th. --Kristie Hang
Annaud to Direct Wolf Totem
French director Jean-Jacques Annaud's next project is Wolf Totem, based on Jiang Rong's 2007 prize-winning and best-selling novel of the same name. Jiang Rong's Wolf Totem is a semi-autobiographical novel about a young Beijing student sent down to the countryside of Inner Mongolia during China's Cultural Revolution in the 1970s. There, the young boy becomes fascinated by the wolves and even decides to captures a wolf cub to raise. Annuad is well known for directing 1997's Seven Years in Tibet which starred Brad Pitt. “This is the first time a Chinese-invested film has been directed by a foreign national, telling a Chinese story from a Western perspective for the global audience,” reported Penguin Books China. --Michael Lom
The Negotiator on the silver screen
Last year's TV Asahi hit show will get a big-screen adaptation: Ryoko Yonekura will reprise her detective Reiko Usanagi character in the film version of The Negotiator (Koshonin). The story centers around Usanagi, who is a police negotiator working in a special unit known as SIT. Reportedly, the film will find Usanagi on a hijacked passenger plane, without any of her collegues around to help her. The film will be directed by Matsuda Hidetomu, who has been with the series from the beginning, and who also directed the single-episode special that aired in February 2009. Matsuda has previously worked with Yonekura on three adaptations of Seicho Matsumoto novels, including Kurokawa no Techou, Kemonomichi, and Warui Yatsura. --Ada Tseng
Naked News shut down!
After only a month, Naked News Korea has been suspended indefinitely, not because of censorship or accusations of indecency -- but due to "internal difficulties" as anchors Choi Sun Yi, Han Min Kyung, Lee Se Yeon, and Jin Jae Kyung accused the two heads/foreign investors of fleeing the country with all the company's cash. Available in Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Philippines, Naked News was the first internet show in Korean to feature topless female anchors delivering the news. Their catchphrase was: "the program with nothing to hide." Attracting 260,000 subscribers after only its first week, their programming naturally became more and more sexually explicit, so much so that they elicited a soft warning from a local broadcasting commission in early July. Unfortunately, it looks like they have other legal violations to deal with -- ones that have nothing to do with on-air content. The Labor Ministry and South Korean police have started investigating the fraud allegations. Subscribers have since received refunds. --Ada Tseng
Date Posted: 8/14/2009