Subscribe to the APA Newsletter
The passing of a Japanese cinema legend, the Indian "dancing queen of the '60s" honored, the worst idea for a remake ever, and so much more in the latest edition of News From Abroad.
Veteran Actress honored
The seventh annual International Indian Film Academy Weekend and Awards is slated to run from June 14 to June 17 in Dubai. Events include the IIFA World Premiere Film, the FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum, the IIFA Workshop, the IIFA Foundation Fashion Event, and the presentation of the Idea IIFA Award-2006 for outstanding achievement in Indian cinema -- this year going to veteran actress Asha Parekh. Parekh, known as the "Dancing queen of the sixties," was chosen unanimously by the advisory board for her status as an industry icon, and for her career as not only an actress, but also as a producer and the first female chairperson of the Indian film censor board. She will receive her award on June 16. -- Anne Lee
Taiwanese Live House singer to release debut album
Taiwanese singer Deserts Xuan (Zhang Xuan) will release her debut album, My Life Will…, on June 9th. But she's hardly a newcomer -- known in Taiwan's "Live House" scene, on the internet, and among college students, this musician has been composing since she was 13. She began performing at the age of 16, and was signed when she was 19, but even after the recordings and various photo shoots, nothing happened. After five years of working the circuit, she will finally release her album. She hopes to create music not unlike that of the rock from the '70s -- simple but catchy. With many English songs and a largely acoustic sound, her album is definitely atypical of your average Taiwanese pop star, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth a listen. -- Anne Lee
Visit her official Web site (Chinese only) at deserts.com.tw or www.sonymusic.com.tw/pop/deserts/index.php.
Japanese cinema 'treasure' passes away
Two-time Cannes winner and legendary Japanese filmmaker Shohei Imamura passed away May 30 at the age of 79 from liver cancer. Survived by his wife, Akiko, and two sons and a daughter, his funeral took place on June 6.
Imamura's The Ballad of Narayama and The Eel won the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983 and 1997, respectively. A pioneer of Japan's New Wave movement, Imamura got his first break in the 1950s, and has been making films ever since, his most recent work a part of 11'09"01, a compilation of short films regarding 9-11. As actor Koji Yakusho, who collaborated with Imamura on The Eel said, Imamura was "a treasure" of Japanese cinema. -- Anne Lee
Snow White and the Seven Samurai
The ubiquity of Chinese supastah Ziyi Zhang reached an all-time high (or low, depending on who you ask) with the announcement that she is in negotations to star in three films for every Asian cineaste's worst enemy: the Weinsteins. The first one should be of little surprise for those who've been tracking Asian cinema for years: a leading role as Hua Mulan in the live-action rendition of the classic Chinese folktale. However, it's the second project that has prompted the most hair-pulling and hand-wringing: an alleged remake of The Seven Samurai, entitled simply Samurai, with Zhang playing alongside Donnie Yen and -- are you ready for this -- George Clooney. Of course, official word is that no one has been cast to play in the film yet, but if the internet rumors turn out to be true (and they often are whenever you least want them to be), it could be the oddest pairing in cinema since Bruce Lee and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. -- Chi Tung
Hou Dejian seeks approval of China; changes occupation
Taiwanese singer Hou Dejian enjoyed some success in the early '80s before being exiled by China for his backing of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests. Now, he is back as a filmmaker, with the English-language opus Lady White Snake, an adaptation of the time-honored Chinese myth. Hou hopes that his film will be given the benefit of the doubt and screened in China in time for the 2008 Olympics. Expect lots of CGI and bestial melodrama, as well as some of Hong Kong's freshest, most flourescent faces. -- Chi Tung
The Legend, the Myth, the Jay Chou
In what feels like a nonstop, worldwide campaign to keep the spirit of Bruce Lee alive, China International Television Corporation has announced a 40-episode TV drama series unimaginatively entitled The Legend of Bruce Lee. The miniseries is the mainland's first (but certainly not the last) attempt to memorialize the fallen kung-fu, err, legend. The Legend of Bruce Lee will be directed by fifth-generation auteur Wu Ziniu, who won a Silver Bear Award in 1989 for his film Evening Bell. Also expected to come on board is Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, although not if actor Nie Yuan or kung-fu icon Shi Tianlong have anything to say about it -- all three are currently vying for the role. The real question is, will all this starpower be enough to wrestle viewership away from Korean soap operas? -- Chi Tung
Date Posted: 6/8/2006