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New Tony-Takeshi-Shu Qi thriller coming around the corner, Mira Nair rounds up Bollywood for a good cause, and Kim Jong-il's a film critic. All this and more in the latest edition of News From Abroad.
Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Shu Qi Confess All…
in the new film Confession of Pain. The film is slated to be an all-star pan-Asian event. Aside from the stars mentioned above, among others, the film is directed by Infernal Affairs powerhouse Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. The film is also presented by Hong Kong’s Media Asia, Beijing’s Polybona Films, and Tokyo’s Avex. The psychological thriller follows Detective Hei (Leung) as he enlists his former colleague Bong (Kaneshiro) in search of the murderer that killed his father-in-law. The film is slated for a December 14th release in Hong Kong and Singapore but has already generated a lot of buzz because of all the names behind its release.
Official site: http://www.confessionofpain.com/
APA review of The Departed
Eyeing the Eye for the Third Time
The third installment to the horror franchise will be worked on by legendary Hong Kong director Tsui Hark and producer Peter Chan. Though the two are world renowned, The Eye 3 will be their first collaborative work ever. This time, the film follows psychiatrist Ching as she deals with the death of her husband in an underwater expedition. Production for the film begins in winter of 2006, and is widely anticipated not only because of its powerhouse production and direction, but also because of implications the new film could have on franchise deals struck abroad with both Lions Gate Films and New Line Cinema.
Bollywood AIDS Awareness
Filmmaker Mira Nair has begun enlisting top Bollywood talent to produce several short films about AIDS awareness. Among the stars include directors Vishal Bharadwaj, Santosh Sivan and Kamal Hassan, writer Zoya Akhtar, and Saif Ali Khan, Vidya Balan and Shiney Ahuja. The films will not be commercial, and are part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Initiative in India to prevent the spread of HIV. The films will be accessible through all major cinemas in India.
To stay competitive with the global film industry, the Indian film industry is investing millions to overhaul its use of technology and special effects in hopes that the investment will pay off at the box office. While Bollywood is one of the most prolific film industries, it currently does not have the technological capacity to create films of greater production value through stunts and effects. And, with information technology making the world a more connected place, Bollywood has to remain competitive as film goers have greater access to films from all over the world. This competitive edge has also forced Bollywood to venture beyond the romance films and song-and-dance musicals it is generally known for, hiring props, stunts, and effects masters to help train Bollywood filmmakers. As the industry further develops, expect a Bollywood action movie, coming to a cinema near you.
Tamil director Bharathiraja has just signed Nana Patekar for his sophomore Hindi film effort, entitled “Cinema.” Patekar will play the lead in the film. Bharathiraja is known for his first Hindi film, Lovers, which was a remake of 1983’s Alaigal Oyvathillai, and his directorial debut with the film Pathinaru Vayathinile.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is gearing up for the Global Indian Films Awards, set to take place on December 7, 2007, with the distribution ceremony on December 9th, featuring performances from the Indian film industry’s top performers such as Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra and Ameesha Patel. The award ceremony is part of a 3-day event that will also include the premier of Ravi Chopra's Baabul, with the film’s stars in attendance.
Scary Subway Ads
Hong Kong MTR transit authorities have banned subway advertisements for the Japanese horror film Ghost Train, saying that the ads are too scary, especially considering the context of the film and the location of the ads. The Takeshi Furusawa film, opening November 23 in Hong Kong, is about passengers being haunted after picking up lost items on the train. While the ads themselves were deemed too frightening, the messages on the posters also did not sit well with transit authorities. Though the film is not directly about the MTR system, having posters warning about haunted trains would definitely not inspire confidence in MTR riding.
Ghost Train site: http://www.shochikufilms.com/movie/train.html
Once in a Summer of ‘69
Korean actor Lee Byung-hun’s latest film is set to open on November 30th in Korean cinemas everywhere. Entitled Once in a Summer, the film is a melodrama about two lovers in the summer of 1969. In the film, Lee plays college student Yoon Suk-young who finds love while participating in a rural home-stay program over the summer with his classmates. The film’s love interest, a librarian named Suh Jung-in, is played by actress Su Ae.
Once in a Summer trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzrKMSP7bzI
Paris’ First Concert in Seoul
Paris Match, that is. Japanese acid-jazz band Paris Match, featuring the lead Mari Mizuno, has increasing appeal to Korean fans, more popular here than in their native Japan. Named after a 1983 song off of the Café Bleu by the English band, The Stylish Council, Paris Match first gained a following in Korea in 2004 when J-pop albums were getting a wider audience. The band’s first live performance for Korean audiences was a brief live performance showcase in July where they received a better-than-expected reception. Since then, the subculture band has been plotting its return to Korea, culminating in their November 24th appearance at Melon-AX in eastern Seoul. The live band will consist of the three main members- Mari Mizuno, songwriter Tai Hurusawa and producer Yousuke Sugiyama, as well as five guest members.
Official site: http://www.jvcmusic.co.jp/parismatch/news.html
The King and the Clown in Musical Theater
The King and the Clown, the blockbuster film based on the Kim Tae-woong play Yi, is now being redeveloped back to the stage as a musical. The story, like the play and the film, is about Yonsan, king of the Choson Kingdom, and his court jester Kong-gil. But the latest edition of the story adds another perspective to the complex story, particularly with character development in portraying an introspective and Kong-gil. The musical version of The King and the Clown is produced by the Seoul Performing Arts Company, and will be shown at the ArKo Art Center in central Seoul until December 3.
Chang Chen cast in Kim Ki-duk Flick
Chang Chen -- best known for his roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Happy Together, and Three Times -- has been chosen to play the the leading role in Kim Ki-duk's new project Breath. The Taiwnanese actor will play a prison inmate who falls for a female worker who decorates his cell. Kim is planning on casting both Chinese and Korean actors for the cast, which marks the first time Kim has worked with foreign actors. This is also the first time Chang Chen has worked with a Korean director. --Ada Tseng
APA's review of Kim Ki-duk's Time
Doctor wins award for short story collection
Vincent Lam, a doctor in Toronto, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize last week for his short story collection, Bloodletting and Miracle Cures. Lam, who was surprised when he won the prize of $40,000, worked on the SARS outbreak in 2003 in Toronto. Born and raised in Canada but with roots in Vietnam's ethnic Chinese community, Lam's tales incorporate his biculturalism into the narration of successful Chinese-Canadian professionals. His twelve stories follow them from medical school at the University of Toronto to their eventual position as doctors and the difficulties they face every day. Presenter Margaret Atwood described his work as "subtle in emotion and occasionally gruesome in humor." Lam's collection is published by Doubleday Canada. --Anne Lee
Warner Divests from Chinese Theaters
Warner Brothers has decided to rid itself from its Chinese theater business citing impediments such as changing regulations governing foreign direct investment in the burgeoning Chinese entertainment industry. Last year, after Warner had already gained controlling shares in their theater ventures, the government changed regulations to stipulate that Chinese partners in foreign investment must own 51% of the venture. Though Warner Brothers only has 6 theaters affected by the divestment, they were seen as top-of-the-line cinemas, and Warner’s decision further complicates the role of foreign investment in the Chinese film industry, which analysts say is growing at 25-30% annually. Warner’s theaters will be sold off in accordance to their vacating that industry. Warner Brothers does not currently have plans to divest from its other Chinese joint ventures in film production, home entertainment, and consumer products.
Date Posted: 11/15/2006