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WKW JCCA Master Class

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:55 pm    Post subject: WKW JCCA Master Class Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many THANKS, Eri Smile
.......for keeping us up with current WKW-news/links thumbleft
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been looking for English reports for this Embarassed - look no more. Thanks for the links Very Happy .
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the links, Eri!
Water which is too pure has no fish.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Wisdom of Wong Kar-wai

By Dean Napolitano, March 22, 2013, 5:53 PM

For work and life, you need passion and perseverance.

That was the key lesson from Wong Kar-wai as hundreds of film-industry professionals, students and movie fans turned out in Hong Kong Thursday night for a “master class” from the celebrated filmmaker.

In the session organized by the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the director of “Chungking Express” and “In the Mood for Love” focused on the inspiration and the making of his latest film, “The Grandmaster.”

But while his movies often spark discussion over possible hidden meanings and subtext, he insisted that he prefers not to spell things out for his audience.

“I want every viewer to throw themselves into [the story] and use their imaginations,” he said. Asked whether images of trains in his films such as “The Grandmaster” have any particular significance, Mr. Wong responded: “No. … I like trains!”

“The Grandmaster” stars Tony Leung as Ip Man, the famed martial-arts master who taught the wing chun form of kung fu. The subject of several films in recent years, Ip Man was born in 1893 in Foshan, in China’s southern Guangdong province, and died in Hong Kong in 1972. The film covers the period from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s, a turbulent period in China’s history and during which time Ip Man moved to Hong Kong. The film also stars Zhang Ziyi as Gong Er, a skilled kung fu expert and the daughter of a martial-arts master from northern China.

Mr. Wong spent a decade researching the movie before he began filming in 2009. In the process, he met with many martial-arts masters. “You realize they are humble and gentle,” he said. “But when you ask them to demonstrate their kung fu, they … become another person with an animal instinct, and [there’s] a sense that they could kill.”

Preserving those legacies in a film was something Mr. Wong wanted to do for years as he searched for the right story. “Heritage is something martial-arts films don’t often talk about.”

Mr. Wong joined critic, writer and radio host Yau Ching-yuen for an onstage conversation and audience question-and-answer session, which was conducted primarily in Cantonese with simultaneous English translation. Edited highlights below.

On Bruce Lee’s Enduring Attraction:

While shooting “Happy Together” in Argentina in the 1990s, Mr. Wong saw magazines with Bruce Lee and Mao Zedong on the covers. “How did these two people influence the people of Argentina?” he said. “What was the appeal?”

According to the director, his idea for “The Grandmaster” came from seeing a Bruce Lee magazine cover and thinking the action star had a contemporary attraction, even though his death had been more than 20 years earlier. “His face was one of confidence,” said Mr. Wong.

As he further researched the background for the movie, Mr. Wong examined photos taken in the early 20th century. The images gave him “an urge to make a film about the beauty and elegance of Chinese men and women.”

On the Many Legends of Ip Man:

The filmmaker spent years researching Ip Man in order to understand various periods of his life, interviewing a number of the martial-arts master’s “first-generation students” from the early 1950s.

Ip Man moved permanently to Hong Kong in 1950, but before that, he first traveled to the then-British colony when he was 12 years old. “There are lots of legends,” Mr. Wong said, but “one thing we know for sure was that when he went back to Foshan in his early 20s, he was wealthy.”

As a man of means, Ip Man didn’t have to work, but instead had “hobbies.” The opening scene of “The Grandmaster,” in which the central character takes on a gang of opponents, reflects that conclusion.

Why would he be fighting on the streets on a pitch-black night in a heavy downpour? asked Mr. Wong. “Because he enjoyed himself.”

On Tony Leung’s Martial-Arts Training:

“Everyone [on the film] trained very hard,” Mr. Wong said. “Tony Leung broke his arm twice.” The first time happened while he was rehearsing. “The second time was more serious,” but the award-winning actor “was intent on finishing the film himself” and didn’t want to use a stunt double. Mr. Wong called Mr. Leung’s professionalism and passion “rare.”

On Ip Man and Gong Er:

While Ip Man is portrayed as a devoted husband, critics and fans have discussed at great length what seems to be an unspoken love and desire between Ip Man and Gong Er.

Mr. Yau, the master class’s moderator, suggested that the film gives the sense that “Gong Er had fallen for the married Ip Man” as they exchanged letters over the years. Mr. Wong’s response: “Maybe I shouldn’t say anything,” otherwise people might not flex their own minds and creative muscles. But he did reveal that he viewed the characters’ relationship as a friendship developed from an appreciation of kung fu.

On the Movie’s Most Controversial Character:

Taiwan star Chang Chen plays an ambiguous kung fu expert named Razor, who appears in just three short scenes in “The Grandmaster.” Critics and audiences have debated the character’s brief appearance and purpose in the story.

Mr. Wong, a reader of kung fu novels, said that characters drifting in and out of the storyline was a common literary device in serialized martial-arts stories of the 1950s and ’60s. “People turn up, then depart the story for long passages.” (As an example, he noted the writer Louis Cha, whose many novels included “The Legend of the Condor Heroes,” which Mr. Wong adapted in his 1994 film “Ashes of Time.”)

The director said that although Mr. Chang doesn’t have much screen time in “The Grandmaster,” he was obviously successful — “otherwise you wouldn’t remember him.”

On Patience, Passion and Profit:

Mr. Wong famously spends years developing a project. (“My good friend Wong Kar-wai can take five years” to make a film, Hong Kong director Andrew Lau said in a recent interview. “I’m not that patient.”)

But Mr. Wong said that his investors are patient. “They care about profits, but we all have a passion,” he said.

Follow Dean Napolitano on Twitter @NapolitanoWSJ
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why the Majority of Chinese Films Never Make it to Theaters

March 22, 2013, 7:16 PM

China’s film industry may be spitting out movies like never before, but less than half of what it produces is making it onto the big screen, a new report shows.

Among the 745 feature films produced in China last year, only 315 – or 42% — played in cinemas, media-research firm Entgroup says in its recently released annual survey of the country’s film industry.

That number puts China far behind the U.S., where nearly three quarters of the 818 feature films produced in 2011 were released in theaters, according to the most recent statistics from the Motion Picture Association of America (pdf).

The report comes at a time when things are looking up for China’s film industry. China recently overtook Japan to become the world’s second-biggest movie market behind the U.S., according to the MPAA. Meanwhile, The recent success of domestic hits “Lost in Thailand” and “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons” – both of which broke box office records this year – has many in China feeling optimistic that local filmmakers may finally break Hollywood’s choke hold on the market.

But the failure of so many Chinese films to make it into theaters serves as a reminder of the limitations the industry still faces, analysts and observers say.

Among the most basic of those limitations, according to Entgroup researcher Kady Yang, is a shortage of screens. “The capacity of China’s cinemas is very limited and their movie schedules are tight,” Ms. Yang said, noting that China is home to 3,680 cinemas with 13,118 total screens. The U.S. has more than 39,500 screens, according to the MPAA.

But it’s not just the number of theaters that’s a problem, according to well-known film critic Raymond Zhou. Some of the blame, he argues, should fall on state-funded propaganda films pushing other movies off the screen. “Local governments may spend 5 million yuan in making films for propaganda purposes, like paying tribute to a virtuous man or praising their good work,” Mr. Zhou said.

Among the most widely disliked films in recent Chinese film history are two state-commissioned, star-studded propaganda epics – 2009’s “The Founding of a Republic” and 2011’s “The Beginning of the Great Revival” – both of which dominated screens nationwide for extended periods.

More recently, a trio of recent bio pics about Lei Feng, a Mao-era model citizen, have taken up screen real estate in theaters across the country despite completely failing to sell tickets in some cases.

Yet another problem, according to Tsinghua University media scholar Yin Hong: the near total absence, outside major cities, of small venues for non-mainstream films. “China lacks for art theaters that can include those alternative movies that are not fit for ordinary cinemas, like what the U.S. does,” he said.

The stakes are high for Chinese filmmakers fighting to get their movies seen. Total box office revenues grew from less than 1 billion yuan ($160.8 million) in 2002 to more than 10 billion yuan in 2010, according to government statistics. Last year, total revenues hit 17.1 billion yuan, a 30.2% increase from the year before, and are poised to top 23 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) this year, according to the Entgroup report.

While foreign films have traditionally accounted for the lion’s share of ticket sales, there is reason for Chinese film producers to be optimistic: Entgroup says the number of Chinese films making it into theaters increased a record 33% year-on-year in 2012

The report adds that people went to a cinema to watch a movie 467 million times in China in 2012. That’s the highest number since 2000, though still well short of 1979, when pent-up demand from more than a decade of Cultural Revolution restrictions pushed movie attendance to 29.3 billion, according to state media.

In the absence of more quality Chinese films, analysts say, many people choose to watch movies and TV shows at home – meaning there’s big potential for growth.

“Many well-off people in non-first tier cities have not watched a single film in cinema for years,” said Mr. Zhou. “If they can be attracted to cinemas by high-quality films instead of watching pirated DVDs at home, the market can be gigantic.”

– Lilian Lin. Follow her on Twitter @LilianLinyigu
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