Fri, Sep 02, 2005 - Page 17 News List

A good year for China in Venice

The just-started Venice International Film Festival is strong on Chinese movies, while on local screens DJs and musicals are the flavor of the week

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Hidden Blade

The 62nd Venice International Film Festival which started yesterday has a strong Chinese feel about it this year and the martial art masterpiece Seven Swords (七劍) by Hong Kong director Hark Tsui (徐克) was selected as the opening film of the event. Hong Kong director Peter Chen (陳可辛) is set to close the festival with his musical/love story Perhaps Love (如果愛); while Ang Lee's (李安) latest work, Brokeback Mountain (斷背山), and Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan's (關錦鵬) Song Of Everlasting Sorrow (長恨歌) will also compete against each other in the international competition section.

Hong Kong singer/actress Sammi Cheng (鄭秀文) has been nominated for Best Actress for her role in Song Of Everlasting Sorrow. The film depicts a tragic woman's life, from 1940 to 1980. Cheng will face fierce competition from the star-studded list of candidates this year which includes US star Gwyneth Paltrow, Isabelle Huppert and Italian beauty Monica Bellucci.

It is also a good year for Taiwanese productions. Fall ... In Love (戀人) by director Wang Ming-tai (王明台), co-starring Lan Zheng-long (藍正龍) and Lee Kang-yi (李康宜), was invited to screen at the festival; while Lin Chien Ping's (林見坪) Small Station (小站) enters the competition for short films.

In celebration of the centennial of Chinese cinema, the festival has curated a retrospective section on Chinese films from the 1930s to the 1990s in its program The Secret History of Asian Cinema. Internationally acclaimed director John Woo (吳宇森) is one of the presenters for the program.

Back to the local scene. This week ravers and electronic music lovers will get a kick from the highly enjoyable film It's All Gone Pete Tong, a comedy depicting the tragic life of the legendary (and totally fictional), world-class DJ Frank Wile.

Taipei's Top Five

City cinema weekend box office takings (Aug. 27, Aug. 28)

*The Brothers Grimm (神鬼剋星)

NT$7,938,560/1 week

*Red-Eye (赤眼玄機)

NT$4,843,010/1week

*Bewitched (神仙家庭)

NT$3,085,040/2 weeks

*The Wedding Crashers (婚禮終結者)

NT$2,569,265/2 weeks

*Densha Otoko (電車男)

NT$2,435,070/1 week


In this mock-biographic film, Frankie Wile is the self-destructive genius of the UK techno/dance scene, who loses it with a sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle. Tragedy strikes when a hearing disorder worsens until Frankie is completely deaf. He locks himself away in depression and gradually learns to accept his deafness and then finds a new perspective on life.

Camp is Broadway musical star Todd Graff's debut on the big screen. The film draws on the director's personal experiences and tells of a group of young people who join a musical-theater camp to live out their dreams. Each person has their own story and secret, and together they will learn something new and valuable before the summer ends.

The low-budget film scored nicely on the US festival circle and was nominated for the Jury Award at the Sun Dance Film Festival and was also invited to show at the Seattle International Film Festival.

The Hidden Blade by renowned director Yamada Yoji offers an alternative to music-oriented cinema this week. Co-starring Japanese stars Matsu Takako and Masatoshi Nagase, the film portrays the ill-fated life of a samurai who struggles to adapt himself to the new era and faces the consequences of tragic love. The film is the Japanese entry in the competition section of Berlin International Film Festival this year.

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