June 24th, 2018 VOL.13
Documentary studies Serbia through Chinese eyes
By Liza Li(Shanghai Daily)
A new perspective of Serbia through the eyes of a renown Shanghai travel writer is at the heart of the co-produced Sino-Serbian documentary "Where the Sava Flows."
Writer Chen Danyan spent more than three years in Serbia researching and filming for the documentary.
The latest trailer for "Where the Sava Flows" was shown at a press conference yesterday during the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival.
Chen travelled extensively in the country, his journey of discovery encountering generous people and a vibrant culture. He was granted permission to film in heritage locations, including the Museum of Contemporary Art and a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery.
"The making of every documentary is about seeing what’s going to happen today," Chen said. "The storyline may not always work, so every day was very stressful for all of us," he added.
The project, signed during the 2017 Shanghai International Film Festival, was the first Sino-Serbian film co-production. It represented a new era of cooperation between the Chinese and Serbian film industries.
Serbia is one of the key countries in China’s Belt and Road initiative and the film will allow Chinese audiences to understand its history, culture and art.
The Serbian media and film industry consider the documentary to be one of the most important films of the year.
The creator in chief of "where the Sava Flows." Pic by CFP
Strong audience praise for Japanese film 'Shoplifters'
By Joyce Xu (Shanghai Daily)
The Palme d'Or- winning Japanese film "Shoplifters" won acclaim from local audiences and film critics after a special screening at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival yesterday.
The cast of the drama, including director Hirokazu Koreeda and actors Jyo Kairi and Matsuoka Mayu, talked with movie fans after the screening.
The heartwarming movie focuses on the life of a poor family whose members have no blood relationship but share a close bond of love.
Chinese filmmaker Huang Jianxin traveled from Beijing to Shanghai especially to attend the screening.
Huang said Japanese movies have had a strong impact on Chinese cinema since the 1980s. He believes director Koreeda is adept at portraying impressive and touching scenes in a natural and simple way.
Koreeda said that he liked the movies of Chinese filmmakers Hou Hsiao- hsien and Edward Yang.
"Jia Zhangke is also a good friend of mine," he added. "We have talked a lot about what kind of movies we should make. It’s a rewarding experience for me to exchange views with Chinese directors."
"Shoplifters" was the "hottest" movie screened at this year’s film festival, with tickets sold out online within 30 seconds.
The creator in chief of "Shopliftes." Pic by CFP
Internet drives movie market growth in China, forum told
By Joyce Xu(Shanghai Daily)
The Internet will continue to be a strong impetus for Chinese cinema, experts told a forum on June 21 at Shanghai Theater Academy.
The forum, titled "Challenge vs. Opportunity: New era of Cinema" is a program of the ongoing 21st Shanghai International Film Festival. It included veteran filmmakers, scholars and critics from around the world.
It heard the film industry in China was developing rapidly and was on track to surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest movie market. China had more than 50,000 screens and box-office revenue of almost 56 billion yuan (US$8.88 billion) last year.
Professor Shi Chuan, a movie critic from Shanghai Theater Academy, observed the Internet was playing an increasingly important role in the development of Chinese cinema.
“More than 80 percent of Chinese cinemagoers buy tickets through ticket- selling websites and mobile apps,”Professor Shi said.
Hong Kong filmmaker See- yuen Ng said the film market in China still had great potential with an increasing number of well- educated people and improvements in living standards.
"The Internet will also provide a wide platform for talented scriptwriters," said Ng. “We can also learn from our foreign peers about how to present a diversity of movie genres.”
Insiders called for more original and thought-provoking productions. They also hoped that arthouse movies would have more platforms for public showcase.
Officials from Shanghai Theater Academy also revealed they would launch a new film school to cultivate more film professionals in China.
Guests were gaving the speech in the forum. Pic by Tigong
Emotions run high in Italian film vying for Golden Goblet
By Liza Li(Shanghai Daily)
One of the writers, Rinaldo Rocco, and actress, Isabella Briganti, of Golden Goblet Award- nominated“Where I’ve Never Lived”met the press to talk about making the film yesterday at the ongoing 21st Shanghai International Film Festival.
The movie is Italian director Paolo Franchi's fourth feature film and Rocco has worked on three of them.
He said it took two years to develop the script for “Where I’ve Never Lived,”especially the dialogue and how to more accurately express the emotions in the story.
“A lot of people may notice the communication between people in the film is very difficult," Rocco said. "I wanted to create a feeling that shows the fear in life, the fear of emotional investment.”
The story centers on the relationship between Francesca (Emmanuelle Devos) and her father Manfredi (Giulio Brogi) who wanted his daughter to follow in his footsteps and lead the family architecture firm.
But Francesca decided to quit her career and move to Paris where she married a rich and much older man. But when Manfredi became bedridden after an accident, he asked Francesca to help with a lakeside villa restoration project with his business partner Massimo (Fabrizio Gifuni).
Francesca slowly started appreciating the opportunity to work again and as the renovation of the villa progressed, the empathy increased between Francesca and Massimo.
When Manfredi suddenly passed away, they both needed to deal with the void left by his death and the true feelings they had for each other.
Unable to visit Shanghai, Franchi wrote a letter explaining that he was inspired to make the film by books he had read about architects.
He said the casting was not easy and he only decided the age of Francesca would be around 50 after he met French actress Emmanuelle Devos. Isabella Briganti plays a supporting role in the film.
The creator in chief of "Where I’ve Never Lived." Pic by CFP
Sci-fi fans lap up movies, engage with novelists
By Joyce Xu(Shanghai Daily)
Special screenings of sci-fi movies "Predator" and "Avatar" were staged for movie enthusiasts this week during the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival.
The 20th Century Fox movies have a large fan base in China and the screenings were accompanied by discussions with fans by sci-fi novelists Ji Shaoting and Chen Qiufan.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the horror film “Predator”revolves around the mission of an elite paramilitary team to save hostages.
A new blockbuster continuation of the "Predator" film franchise helmed by director Shane Black will be released in North America on September 14, the audience was told.
Director Black, whose credits include“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”and“Iron Man 3,”is a big fan of the franchise.
"Avatar" enthusiasts were excited to know that its two sequels, sure to be popular, are in post-production and will be screened in 2020 and 2021.
Director James Cameron is also producing a new sci- fi adventure movie, "Alita: Battle Angel," which is adapted from a classic Japanese anime. Cameron is also the film’s scriptwriter. The film will hit cinemas in North America on December 21.
Chinese scriptwriter and director Zhang Xiaobei, a fan of Cameron’s movies, expects that "Alita: Battle Angel" will boast cutting-edge film technology and continue the filmmaker’s distinctive style.
The creator in chief of "Predator." Pic by Tigong