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'The Grandmaster': A Punched-Up Kung-Fu Saga
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wong Kar-wai treats every film like a masterwork

By Saul Austerlitz Globe Correspondent
August 24, 2013

http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/movies/2013/08/24/wong-kar-wai-treats-every-film-like-masterwork/66pKGRbjbtmWYg8lEzPHQK/story.html



NEW YORK — On the 30th night of filming the same scene, an acrobatic martial-arts fight in a pouring rainstorm, Tony Leung Chiu-wai went out to dinner with Wong Kar-wai, and quietly told his director that he couldn’t work anymore. The incessant rain, the endless takes, the treacherous puddles, art director/costume designer William Chang’s refusal to let him change his soggy shoes from one take to the next for continuity purposes, and the pills he had to take every night in his hotel room to combat his perpetually running nose and headaches made for “the toughest scene in my acting career.” Wong managed to convince his sniffling leading man that the end result would be worth the heartache. On the 40th night, they wrapped “The Grandmaster” and Leung immediately flew back to Hong Kong, checked into a hospital, and spent five days recuperating from bronchitis.

“Horrible. It was horrible,” Leung says with a laugh, demonstrating his onset trembling from the cold and illness by clasping his shoulders, arms crossed, and violently shivering. “But it looks good. I know it looks good, but it takes a lot of effort.”

Leung could hardly have been surprised by the toll of life with Wong Kar-wai. “The Grandmaster” was his sixth collaboration with the famously perfectionist filmmaker, known for regularly requiring upward of 20 takes per shot. Opening in the Boston area on Friday, their latest work is Wong’s self-described “once upon a time” kung fu film, pairing the most famous Hong Kong director of his era with the genre that forms the backbone of its movie industry.

The new film combines his trademark lush camerawork and highly stylized decor with traditional kung fu motifs and plot lines. Leung plays Ip Man, a master sent to unite the traditionally combative northern and southern Chinese schools of kung fu during a time of great upheaval. The film takes place against the backdrop of the Japanese invasion of China in 1936, with Ip falling for Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), daughter of a grandmaster and protector of the vaunted 64 Hands style. Ip and Gong Er are fated never to be together, their thwarted affair coming to stand for all that is best and most fleeting in their lives. “They are the lost paradise,” Wong says of the lovers’ relationship to each other. “They are time.”

Its surface attributes as an action epic to the side, “The Grandmaster” bears a distinct resemblance to earlier Wong films like “In the Mood for Love” and “2046” as tales of unrequited, doomed romance.

Wong emerged in the late 1980s as a masterful stylist, his luxurious sense of tone and rhythm almost immediately marking him as an inheritor of the Hong Kong kung fu film tradition of a preceding cinematic generation, mostly minus the kung fu. Early films like “Days of Being Wild” and “Chungking Express” were slinky, gorgeously photographed (with Wong collaborating with mercurial cinematographer Christopher Doyle), and surprisingly quirky; a key plot point of “Chungking” revolves around expired cans of pineapple slices. “Chungking” and “Fallen Angels” must rank high atop any list of Hong Kong classics, as well as of the best films, period, of the 1990s. The overwhelming majority of Hollywood filmmakers could only dream of creating something so propulsive and yet so personal.

With his taste for acrobatic action sequences and copious gunplay, Wong was loosely affiliated with the hard-boiled style of John Woo, but as his international profile grew, the mayhem mostly fell away, replaced, in films like “In the Mood for Love,” by an elegance and mournfulness that had always lingered beneath the surface.

“The Grandmaster” is a return to Wong’s action-film roots, while also being the first kung fu film he has made since 1994’s swordplay-oriented “Ashes of Time.” Always interested in reorienting the Hong Kong film in his own idiosyncratic direction, Wong has now embraced the style that made Hong Kong a destination on the cinematic map.

The 57-year-old Wong remembered growing up on a Shanghai street lined with kung fu schools, and clamoring to get a look inside their windows. At the end of “The Grandmaster,” a boy we are meant to understand is a young Bruce Lee peers through Ip’s school window, spotting the man who will one day be his teacher. “That could be me,” Wong says of the coda. “I always want to know what exactly is happening inside. With this film, I finally walk through the door and find out what is so great about Chinese martial arts.”

“The Grandmaster” was originally announced more than a decade ago. In the intervening time, Wong directed his first English-language film, “My Blueberry Nights” (2007), which arrived to a mixed reception. (“‘My Blueberry Nights’ is a huge hit in Russia. I just don’t understand why,” says Wong.) Wong also needed the time to acclimate himself to the foreign world of kung fu. “Psychologically, for myself, and creatively, I need time. I need to understand the period. I need to understand martial arts. So I spent three years doing interviews, and to live with those martial artists.”

The burgeoning Chinese domestic film market also increased the international appeal of the project, making financing easier. “In 1998, it [wouldn’t have been] possible to make a film with this skill,” says Wong. “And I don’t want to compromise to make something more simple. If I have to make a kung fu film, I want to make it this way.”

Because of contractual obligations, the US release of “The Grandmaster” clocks in at 108 minutes, which required some rethinking of the 127-minute international version. “You can’t just take out one scene, or make some trims,” says Wong. “The structure will collapse. It doesn’t feel right. Instead of cutting and trimming, I restructured the picture. There’s 15 minutes of new footage in the film.”

Wong’s unpredictable film sets had occasionally been a source of controversy and consternation for his actors. “It’s like a train,” he says of the filmmaking process. “You know the next stations, but somehow, you haven’t decided where the destination is.” Leung defined Wong’s style as less improvisational than experimental. “He would put you in different sets, different situations, different weather. And he would do it again and again.”

Leung is still rattled by the surprise Wong had in store for him on the set of 1997’s offbeat romantic drama “Happy Together.” Leung had first been told that his character’s father was gay, prompting the visit to Argentina that sets off the film’s plot. After a few days shooting, Wong revealed another dimension to Leung’s role. “He said, ‘I think you are a homosexual!’ ” Leung recalls. The actor was panicked, but ultimately appreciated the shock tactics. “That’s the fun part to work for him. You never know what happens next.”

Wong asked Leung, 51, to invest his Ip Man with touches of Bruce Lee. Leung, who had been mostly unaware of kung fu tradition beforehand, took to studying Lee’s books for inspiration. “I never knew kung fu is like that,” says Leung. “I’m not just trying to portray the look of a kung fu great. To have the soul, you need to have the knowledge.”

On “The Grandmaster,” Wong came in with a more polished script than usual, and a strong sense of where the film would end: with Ip Man arriving in Hong Kong, his glittering career as a martial-arts master about to come into bloom. Wong compares the work done on set to that of an artist executing a final painting from copious drawings and drafts: “As a painter, you have the sketches, and then you have the outlines. The process of making it is you have to put in all the details.”

To inspire his performers, Wong would regularly play opera recordings while filming. “I would follow the music, the rhythm. I would have a special kind of rhythm when I act,” says Leung. The kung fu sequences, including the backbreaking fight in the rain, and a flashback to Gong Er practicing as a child with her father, play like musical numbers as a result, dance sequences set to the sound of breaking bones and whizzing fists.

Leung sighs wearily at the thought of all the work his friend and director put him through in the service of another film. “I don’t know how I can do it. I don’t know. [But] after I saw the movie, I think it’s worth [it].”
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taking on ‘The Grandmaster’

Posted on 13 September 2013
By Andrew Hamlin
Northwest Asian Weekly

http://www.nwasianweekly.com/2013/09/taking-grandmaster/

Longtime cult director Kar-wai Wong, legendary for such Hong Kong productions as “In The Mood For Love,” “Happy Together,” and “Days Of Being Wild,” probably wishes for a box office smash hit to supplement his longstanding critical acclaim. And with his latest film, “The Grandmaster,” a historical martial arts extravaganza, he’ll probably get it.

An biographical account of martial arts master Ip Man, the film follows a conventional martial arts arc for most of its length, which should draw in everyone who loves vivid fights. But it also takes an idiosyncratic turn toward the end, reminding us that director Wong ultimately follows his own path.

Ip Man was born in 1893 in Foshan, Guangdong, China, and died of cancer in 1972 in Hong Kong, where he had lived permanently since 1949. His earlier years saw a fair amount of back-and-forth movement between those two places, and he worked two separate stints as a Foshan policeman. But he began to learn martial arts at age 13, from the much-older Wah-shun Chan, a master of the Wing Chun fighting style.

As portrayed by longtime Wong collaborator Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Ip Man flares onscreen as a stylish, laconically witty fellow in the longstanding tradition of movie martial arts masters. There are only two true martial arts positions, he chuckles: Upright, or on the ground. The secret to mastery, he explains, is to stay upright.

Needless to say, the truth is a bit more complicated. The first major fight sequence in the film takes place in pouring rain, and shows Ip Man vanquishing multiple opponents. Throughout the film we see equally stylish and improbable fights, although sadly, rapid crosscutting prevents the fights from evolving naturally onscreen. Most of the stars aren’t proficient fighters in real life, and these rapid-fire edits cover for their lack of mastery. Still, it seems frustrating.

Ip Man learns, teaches, and takes a wife, Wing-sing Cheung (played by Korean actress Hye-kyo Song). But his married/family life seems, from this film at least, largely irrelevant. The three main people in Ip Man’s life appear to be the elder master Gong Yutian (Qingxiang Wang), Gong’s daughter Gong Er (Ziyi Zhang), and arch-nemesis Ma San (Jin Zhang). Ip Man will face many enemies and meet many friends over the course of the film, but his young adult life revolves around those three.

The film plays out against the background of the Second Sino-Japanese War, from 1937 to 1945, between Japan and China. Japanese-Chinese hatred ran lava-hot at the time, and the conflict touches all of the major characters, whether they’re collaborating with the Japanese to acquire power, urging on the Chinese side, or simply trying to stay alive amidst chaos.

Ip Man becomes a master in the middle of this whirlwind of history, although he struggles, as first, to keep a Wing Chun fighting school open. Gong Er loses her father to treachery and vows to spend the rest of her life seeking vengeance.

It’s this vengeance, long-awaited and lavishly depicted, which forms the final climax of the film. (At least, it does in the North American print, much shorter than Wong’s original.) As they meet for the last time, Gong Er tells Ip Man what she did, how and why she did it, and how she’s accepted the consequences. This is all recounted in another lavish fight sequence, but one not involving Ip Man at all.

And so Gong Er pulls the story away from the man who’s supposed to be its focus. But this doesn’t feel sloppy, only odd. She’s insisting that her own history is as vital, as crucial, as Ip Man’s own — for that one moment, at least. And for that moment, until she ends her tale, she earns that claim. (end)

“The Grandmaster” is currently playing Seattle theatres. Check local listings for locations, prices, and showtimes.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

‘The Grandmaster’ – Kung Fu with class … and crying?

Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 4:00 am
Bob Leeper

http://explorernews.com/livenup/article_56d8fbc6-1ab9-11e3-8aec-0019bb2963f4.html

“The Grandmaster” tells the story of the legendary martial-arts master, Ip Man (or Yip Man or Yip Kai-man), or as he is known in the United States, the guy who trained Bruce Lee. It is a kung-fu film that is heavy on the drama and light on the mysticism, making it one of the classiest martial-art movies I’ve seen. It may not have as much fighting as some genre fans would like, but the action sequences it does have are extremely well produced.

The Grandmaster is written and directed by Chinese filmmaker Kar Wai Wong and stars Barack Obama look-a-like, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, as Yip Man. The film also stars Chinese treasure Ziyi Zhang, who you will remember as a feisty fighter from “House of Flying Daggers” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” as Yip Man’s kindred spirit, unfulfilled love interest and sometimes opponent, Gong Er. Jin Zhang plays the bad guy in the film, Ma San, and he has some of the best fight sequences.

Renowned American director, Martin Scorsese, recently attached his name as a supporter of The Grandmaster film, in the same way we’ve seen Quentin Tarantino get behind some genre films in recent years, in order to garner attention from American audiences who might otherwise pass the film by. And it’s easy to see why Scorsese would lend his moniker to Kar Wai Wong’s movie as both directors share a penchant for unconventional narratives that take place in another era.

I’m not going to pretend to completely understand the plot of The Grandmaster and despite surface sophistication it still seemed to me to have the trappings of a standard kung-fu flick. That is, the North claims their kung-fu style is better than the South, and the South sends their best man, Ip Man, to try and dethrone the Northern Master, who wants to retire his title.

The Northern Master’s daughter, Gong Er, then attempts to regain the title from Ip Man, and after fighting the two find mutual respect for each other and become lifelong friends. Gong Er also pursues Ma San, who has killed her father and claimed his legacy. In the midst of all this the Japanese invade China and Ip Man’s family is killed. After the war he lives in exile in Hong Kong and rekindles his relationship with Gong Er while becoming a famed martial-arts instructor.

I’m sure there will be martial-arts purists who scoff at my simplistic plot description, but even though “The Grandmaster” has an attractive elegance to it, the debate over which kung-fu style is best, while amusing, makes for a rather run-of-the-mill story. (I’m certain I’m missing some nuances due to language and cultural barriers at work here as well.)

As director Kar Wai Wong moves his story back and forth across twentieth-century China time and space, I became a little confused regarding Ip Man’s love interest and at one point thought he was married to Gong Er, which made for some head-scratching until I realized that wasn’t the case at all. It might just be me, but trying to keep track of the action while reading the subtitles, coupled with the unorthodox narrative, made for some slight confusion.

As mentioned, there is a lot of drama in this movie, and a lot of tears, especially for this genre of film, which lead me to think at one point, “There’s no crying in kung-fu!” The point being, if you are going into this film expecting wall-to-wall action, you are going to be disappointed. But if you are patient, you will be rewarded with some of the most realistic looking and beautifully filmed fight-sequences you’ve ever seen.

My favorite part of this movie, a sequence that is, alone, worth the price of admission, is the battle between Gong Er and Ma San that takes place at a train station with snow falling and a moving train in the background. Not only is the action top-notch, the set-up and outcome are all delivered in a magnificent manner. This awesome 10 minutes of action goes on my list as one of the greatest film fights ever created.

On the not-so-great side, there is a blurred-motion effect that happens for the entire length of the film, even when there is no action and no appropriate reason to use it. This trick is used in an undisciplined manner and gets old fast, distracting from the otherwise first-rate cinematography by Philippe Le Sourd. If you are a kung-fu film fan, then you no doubt already plan to see this movie, for everyone else, it’s certainly worth checking out for its unique style and fantastic action choreography. The drama in-between is a little shaky and over-complicated, but if you feel the movie is short a fight or two, just stay until after the first run of credits for a nice surprise.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Grandmaster’s Tony Leung Sheds Light On Wong Kar-wai’s ‘Adventurous’ Methods

by Philana Woo
August 14, 2013

http://www.jingdaily.com/the-grandmasters-tony-leung-sheds-light-on-wong-kar-wais-adventurous-methods/33144/

Hong Kong leading man Tony Leung and director Wong Kar-wai partner for the seventh time on The Grandmaster, which held its New York premiere last night. The Hong Kong-Chinese martial arts drama is based on the life of kung fu master Ip Man (Leung), respected for popularizing the Wing Chun school and famous for teaching Bruce Lee.

Best known internationally for his portrayal of a chain-smoking, suit-wearing, lovelorn journalist in an earlier Wong film In The Mood For Love (2000), for which he won best actor at Cannes Film Festival, Leung, 51, has in fact enjoyed critical and commercial success in a highly prolific singing and acting career spanning three decades, over a dozen studio albums, 80 films, and some of the most popular television series of the 80’s and 90’s.

Jing Daily joined in conversation with Leung, who is in town to promote The Grandmaster. Look below for his comments on a wide range of topics, including what it’s like to work with Wong.

Translated from Chinese.

On the literally unspoken chemistry between Wong Kar-wai and the actor:

“It’s a bit funny between us. We don’t interact much. In the two decades we’ve worked together, we’ve probably seen each other no more than twenty times off set. We don’t usually speak on set either.”

On how this project differed from previous ones with Wong Kar-wai, notorious for working off-script:

“The unique aspect of this film was that I had a historical figure to base my character on. I also did a lot of research. This was one of the most pleasant collaborations I have had with Wong because I had a very clear understanding of who I was from day one. For an actor, this is more enjoyable. Other than that, we’re the same as usual, seldom speaking.”

On whether The Grandmaster represents a shift from Wong’s more independent oeuvre and a desire to garner wider box office appeal:

“I don’t think so. I heard that Wong was inspired when he saw a photograph of Bruce Lee while filming Happy Together (1997) in Argentina. So it’s not for commercial or other reasons.”

On critiques that the film’s final version seems “unfinished” and characters are unevenly developed:
Tony Leung in The Grandmaster.

Tony Leung in The Grandmaster.

“Actually I think Wong has always worked this way. He tends to film in excess. For actors, the most enjoyable part is the filming process. The more you experience, the deeper your understanding of your character. So for actors, it’s interesting. But the final cut is up to the director. So we’re never quite sure about the plot because we don’t use a concrete script during filming. Sometimes we even forget what we’ve filmed because it’s been too long. That’s why I say that whenever I see a premiere, I’m no different from other members of the audience; I’m busy looking for scenes that were shot but may not appear in the film. But I think it’s ok, because this is his method.”

On how his Ip Man differs from other versions throughout film history:

“I’m sure every actor has a different approach to Ip Man. When Wong approached me to play Ip Man, it was a childhood dream come true. Like a lot of people from my generation, I idolized Bruce Lee and learned about Ip Man through him. Back then, my understanding of Bruce Lee and kung fu was very basic; kung fu was just a fighting technique and Bruce Lee was a fighting superstar. I always wanted to learn kung fu as a kid but my family didn’t allow it because back then it seemed like it was only for two kinds of people: future police and gangsters.

Wong wanted me to blend Bruce Lee and Ip Man. Through my research of the role, I was exposed to Bruce Lee’s teachings and mission, as well as the more spiritual aspects of kung fu. As a 4,000-year-old tradition, it is actually highly influenced by Zen and Daoism. Aside from being a physical training, it is also a training of the mind. A lot of philosophy and meditation. I found the spiritual elements very appealing.

This also helped me develop Ip Man’s character because there was very little information about his life before Hong Kong. At first I didn’t understand why Wong wanted me to merge Bruce Lee’s character with Ip Man. But then I realized that Bruce Lee was greatly influenced by Ip Man. Ip Man is great not for his physical ability, but his knowledge and vision of kung fu.

I think that when Ip Man was younger, he was charismatic, confident, and playful like Bruce Lee. That’s how I constructed him. He came from a wealthy family and didn’t have many responsibilities before the age of 40. He practiced kung fu for pleasure. The dramatic shift came when he moved to Hong Kong. My teacher, who was a student of his, told me about Ip Man’s difficult life. One winter, a student even lent him his comforter because he didn’t own one. Yet, in photos he is refined, like a scholar as opposed to a kung fu master. He has a dignified air and is smiling. But I knew the truth about his life. I wondered how he could display so much dignity in the face of hardship. Wong said that he was optimistic but I think it was the spiritual teachings of kung fu that helped him cope with life, and this was something I experienced in my own training. Kung fu isn’t just about fighting or health benefits, it’s a cultivation of the mind.

So to answer your question, I constructed his character as someone who persevered through tough times, aided by the spiritual cultivation of kung fu.”

On filming the opener, an epic fight scene in the rain:

“Initially, Wong wasn’t around and we filmed the opening scene with Yuen Woo-ping. I was wearing head-to-toe black. It was the end of summer, and we wrapped the shoot in just seven days. But after a while, Wong thought I should wear a white hat instead, so of course we had to reshoot. The final version took 40 nights in the rain and colder weather. On the thirtieth day, I told Wong that I didn’t think I could film anymore. He said ok, and then we filmed for ten more days.”

On the history lesson he gained while filming:

“It was the first time I was exposed to Republican Era martial arts novels.”

On seeing his hero in a new light:

“I have a newfound appreciation for my childhood idol Bruce Lee.”

On working with Ang Lee versus Wong Kar-wai:

“I appreciate and respect both. Our partnerships are different. Wong’s working process is more adventurous. It’s a different kind of challenge. If you ask Lee for something, he’ll provide you with it and more. So before you start filming, you’ve already reached most of the character development, whereas with Wong, you can never be sure.”
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chinese Films in the US: Not a full house

Updated: 2013-08-30 11:05
By Wang Jun and Liu Yiyi (China Daily)

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/2013-08/30/content_16932154.htm

More movies from China are released, but they aren't attracting Westerners, causing box-office receipts to tumble, report Wang Jun and Liu Yiyi from Los Angeles.

Walk through the lobby of AMC Atlantic Times Square Theater in Los Angeles on a Friday night and you may wonder whether you are in China.

Huge posters of Chinese movies are on the walls and at least one of its 14 theaters is full of young Chinese adults watching Chinese movies recently released on the big screen in China, such as The Rooftop, Tiny Times, Drug War and The Grandmaster.

"This situation is hard to be imagined even three years ago," said Robert Lundberg, vice-president of China Lion Entertainment, a leading Chinese film distributor in the US. "There were only two or three Chinese movies released a year in certain locations three years ago. But now, there is always at least one Chinese-language film in theaters."

Ironically, that audience is one of the major challenges facing movies made in China: There aren't Westerners there and it's causing box-office receipts to suffer.

According to the statistics from EntGroup, revenue from Chinese films in the US fell to 860 Million yuan (about $140 million) in 2011 from about $200 million in 2010. International revenue for Chinese films declined to about $170 million in 2012 from about $330 million in 2011, according to Silver Paper: Report on International Spread of Chinese Movies 2012.

Chinese Films in the US: Not a full house

"The audience was very different dating back to the '90s from today's Chinese movies," said Stanley Rosen, professor of political science at the University of Southern California. "Most of the audience for the films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were Americans, but for the movies today, very few Westerners go to see them. The main audiences of today's Chinese films are Chinese in the US, mainly Chinese students. The market for Chinese films became very limited outside the Chinese community. The Chinese films today are played only in a very limited number of theaters and last for a very short time."

According to Box Office Mojo, in the US Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was played in 2,027 theaters and Miramax's popular Chinese film Hero was played in 2,175 theaters. While two recent Chinese films Lost in Thailand and So Young were played in only 35 and three theaters respectively.

Past success


Chinese films were very successful in the US market in the past, with many high on the box-office tally for foreign-language films. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was at the top. Its box-office take was $128 million, twice as much as the box office for the Italian film Life is Beautiful, which ranked second. Hero ranked third, with a box office of nearly $54 million.

But the golden time for made-in-China movies has passed. The most successful film last year was Back to 1942. With a box office of around $313,000, it ranked 608 on the box-office receipt total for foreign-language films in the US.

"Zhang Yimou's movies back to the 1990s had $2 million box office in the US. The most recent Zhang Yimou films didn't do anything near that well," said Rosen.

"The genre of Chinese film being distributed in the US has also changed. The most successful Chinese films in the US market before 2006 were action movies or martial arts movies, and dramas directed by famous directors such as Ang Lee, Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige and Wong Kar-wai. On the 2012 list of the most successfully distributed Chinese films in the US, the number of action movies or martial arts movies declined and romantic comedies increased."

In terms of distributors, Chinese films in the 1990s or the beginning of the 21st century were distributed by major US companies. Sony, the number six distributor in the US, put out Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; and the Miramax-distributed Hero.

Today, a leading distributor for Chinese films in the US is China Lion Entertainment, a company ranked 41st for total gross and market share in the US in 2012. That year it distributed five of the top 10 Chinese films in the US.

Lundberg said distributors now have a more focused business model. He said China Lion's target audience is in big cities between the ages of 18 and 34, born in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong or Taiwan, and who can speak Mandarin.

Chinese Films in the US: Not a full house

He said China Lion picks movies according to the taste of its target audiences. Therefore, they tend to distribute more romantic comedies and dramas that are popular in the Chinese market, and they only distribute the films in theaters in big cities' where there is a Chinatown.

Well Go Entertainment, another key player in Chinese film distribution in the US, said Chinese-language films accounted for 65 percent of all films it distributed.

"Foreign comedies don't translate very well," said Jason Pfardrescher, vice-president of Well Go. They will translate to Chinese audiences but only to Chinese audiences, he said. "I know there were really great Chinese comedies, but we decided to take them out because for business reasons it does not make sense to release in North America."

Rosen said there is a cultural difference, with Chinese comedies always telling Chinese stories that are made for Chinese audiences. "Unless you are from China, you'll not find it particularly interesting," he said. "It's very hard to get Westerners interested in the stories or even understand the stories."

Rosen said Lost in Thailand did well in China and received very good ratings in Italy, Japan and South Korea. The film made more than $200 million in the Chinese market, but only $60,000 in the US. Let the Bullets Fly was another successful film in the Chinese market, but Americans walked out at the film's screening because they could not understand it.

Like Chinese foreign-language comedies, Chinese foreign-language dramas also have not done well in the US market. Lundberg cited A Simple Life, a Chinese drama released by China Lion last year. "It was among the top 10 films of the year rated by a well-known American movie critic, Roger Ebert. But the American audience did not even know the film existed," he said. The film's box office was $191, 826 and ranked seventh among all Chinese films distributed in the US in 2012.

"Action movies tend to be more successful than other genres," Pfardrescher said. "There's no secret that Well Go focuses on action movies and martial arts movies."

Since 1980, the Chinese movies that had a box office over $10 million were all action movies. "When watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, many people did not even realize that was in subtitle because they were watching the action," Rosen explained.

"The time of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is gone. Now martial arts films are hard to be that successful. Foreign-language films have not done very well in the US since 2006. It's not only for Chinese films, but for all foreign language films," he said.

The change

Rosen said the change started with the US Academy Award nominations in 2006. Almost all of the nominees for Best Picture were independent films. Because the independent films were so successful, every major studio including Warner Brothers, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures started to set up their own small companies within their main studios and began to produce independent films.

Soon after that, there was greater competition in the independent-film industry, which made making those films more expensive. As a result, instead of booking foreign-language films, multiplex theaters began to book independent films from major studios. It became more difficult for foreign-language films to be on any screens in major theaters.

There was also competition from France, Italy, Japan, Sweden and elsewhere, which basically eliminated Chinese-language films. "The competition is so fierce," Rosen said, "even American independent films have not done that well since 2006."

Janet Yang, an American film producer, said the overall movie industry in the US is declining. "There are so many other distractions in our daily life. We have to admit that movies are no longer the dominating entertainment," she said.

Yang said the box office is facing challenges. "If you read reports that the box office is going up, that is only because the ticket price is going up," she said. "There is no growth in the number of tickets being sold."

Co-production films

Rosen agreed. "Ninety percent of the Chinese overseas box office receipts are from co-production films", he said. "The co-production has been declining greatly these years because China is getting stricter about what co-production is. It is hard for films to be accepted for co-production today."

Regulations for doing a co-production film in China cover a film's content, the number of Chinese stars and the percentage of funding provided by a Chinese company. The requirements may result in unsatisfactory global box-office receipts outside China. The makers of Iron Man 3, which was released this summer, decided not to do a co-production in Chinese.

Distributors are still hopeful.

"China Lion is gaining audiences these years, and China Lion is very confident with what they are doing," Lundberg said. The company's box-office gross in 2010 was $365,000 and increased to $818,000 in 2011 and $1.7 million in 2012.

Christopher Chen, vice-president of business development with Endgame Entertainment, an American company that co-produced Looper, said that per-screen-average box office should be the key criterion of the success of independent films. The overall box office may be low because the film is only played in a limited number of theaters, but the film is still a good film if the per-screen-average box office is high, he said.

Pfardrescher said Well Go is continuously growing and is doing very well. He attributed Well Go's success to strong relationships with digital platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon and Sony Play Station. "The max majority of Well Go's revenue comes from home entertainment, which is everything outside the theater," he said.

Transition period

Yang said that the film industry is in a transition period, and agreed that the digital platform is the future. She said theaters are only for the big budget, profitable franchises and everything else should go digital.

Pfardrescher said releasing films in movie theaters is very expensive. Well Go came up with a new model to release Ip Man: Final Fight. The film was first available through video-on-demand (VOD) digital platforms and then released in selected theaters a month later in September. Pfardrescher said this new model - releasing films on digital platforms before the traditional movie-theater release - makes it possible to reach general marketing exposure with less expense.

Lundberg said Well Go partnered with China Lion and helped to distribute several films such as A Simple Life on digital platforms. China Lion has its own channel on Hulu and has part of its content available on Netflix and other pay-per-view digital platforms.

Pfardrescher said China is now having its "golden time" for film production. He expects more good Chinese films in the future. Lundberg said the outside world is entering into China these days, and he believed that it will help China to produce more interesting stories.

Yang, a US-born Chinese, said she fell in love with China and began to learn Chinese when she visited China for the first time as a teenager. Later, she got her bachelor's degree in Chinese studies from Brown University.

From her personal experience, she said it takes time for Westerners to understand Chinese culture. Understanding between the two countries and the two cultures is growing, but it is a long journey, she said.

Yang said she has been waiting for the success of Chinese films since the 1980s. "Today is the golden time for the Chinese film market. This day finally arrives."

But in terms of marketing, when measuring the success of Chinese films, one should keep "realistic expectations", Rosen said.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'The Grandmaster' provides cinema on a grand scale

BY MATTHEW LUCAS
Correspondent
Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 5:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 5:48 p.m.

http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20130911/LIVING/309119970

For most people, Bruce Lee is a legend of modern kung fu, a symbol of the martial arts that came to define how the West saw the Eastern practices. But while Lee became something of a household name, far fewer people are familiar with his trainer, Ip Man.

• 'The Grandmaster' is directed by Wong Kar Wai and stars Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Hye-kyo Song, Cung Le and Chen Chang. It is rated PG-13 for violence, some smoking, brief drug use and language. In Mandarin with English subtitles.
• Now showing at the Grande 18 in Winston-Salem and The Grand 12 Four Seasons in Greensboro.

Ip Man has been the subject of two excellent films in the past five years: "Ip Man" starring Donnie Yen, and "Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster." A third in that series is due out later this year, but before it arrives on American screens, a grandmaster of cinema has taken on a grandmaster of kung fu in Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmaster."

Wong Kar Wai is known for sensuous, highly stylized films like "In the Mood for Love" and "Chunking Express." He's been quiet lately since his 2007 English language debut, "My Blueberry Nights," which opened to decidedly mixed reviews. So "The Grandmaster" is something of a triumphant return for Wong, and what a grand return it is.

The film follows the life of Ip Man (Tony Leung) from his humble beginnings at a time when Northern and Southern disciplines deeply divided China. The Northern grandmaster, who had tried to unite the two styles of kung fu, selects Ip to carry on his legacy in the south. This does not set well with his daughter, Gong Er (Ziyi Zhang), who sees herself as the only true heir of her family legacy. But since Chinese culture frowned upon women in martial arts, she was forced to stay in the dark.

Gong Er challenges Ip Man anyway, and the two of them form an instant bond. It isn't long, however, before World War II descends on China as the Japanese invade, forcing Ip Man to flee to Hong Kong. When the war is over and the borders are closed, Ip is separated from his wife and children. So he sets out to prove himself as a master teacher. But his past continues to haunt him, old loves and friendships return to him in Hong Kong, and as Ip continues to prove his mettle against even greater opponents, the legend of a grandmaster is born.

With the help of legendary choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping ("The Matrix," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"), Wong Kar Wai crafts some of the most beautiful fight sequences ever put to film. He takes an extraordinary life and directs it with the size and scope of an opera and the grace and beauty of a ballet. Perhaps most interestingly, however, Wong supposes that Ip himself isn't the real grandmaster, but Gong Er.

Denied her rightful stance by culture and tradition, Gong hands Ip his only defeat on their first meeting. It is a fateful encounter that neither ever forget, and Gong's quest for family honor makes up the core of "The Grandmaster." Her struggle is the film's struggle, her fights the most beautifully staged (her battle with the usurper of her father's legacy at a snowy train station is absolutely jaw dropping). She is the real star here, and "The Grandmaster" is really her story. She is a figure that history may have forgotten, but Wong most certainly has not, and he brings it to breathtaking life.

While Wilson Yip's "Ip Man" films are excellent in their own right, "The Grandmaster" is a more lyrical, perhaps even more abstract take with a much different focus. It is an intoxicating exploration of love and honor, and Wong's finest film since his 2001 masterpiece, "In the Mood for Love." This is cinema on a grand scale.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From reading these reviews, it seems that the fact that Ip Man is a character in this film, continually confuses the audience as to what the film is really about. Not only that, but "Grandmaster" should've have been the English title of the film, not "THE Grandmaster." "The" signifies a specific person, whereas Kar-Wai wants to suggest that "grandmaster" is a state of being. (Damn that English! It's such an exact language, it's anal! Lol!)

BTW, seen the American release three times, the Chinese five times. As with nearly all WKW way films, the more it's seen, the better it is. I start to see more of what I missed, and I understand more. It's really worth the time, and I'm SO impressed with how well Tony handled the Kung fu - the documentary footage is even more impressive, as he's not being edited. I never would've guessed his coordination would pull together as well as it did. Really amazing job, and something for him to really feel good about! Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the mood for martial arts: ‘The Grandmaster’

by Brian D. Johnson on Friday, August 23, 2013

http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/08/23/in-the-mood-for-martial-arts-the-grandmaster/

You may never see a more drop-dead gorgeous kung fu spectacle than The Grandmaster, a martial arts rhapsody by Hong Kong cinema’s supreme stylist, Wong Kar Wai, best known to Western audiences for In the Mood for Love (2000). The director casts that movie’s quietly charismatic star, Tony Leung, as Chinese martial arts legend Ip Man, the man who popularized the Wing Chun kung fu style and who had a famous student named Bruce Lee.

The Grandmaster is not the first movie about Ip Man, but it’s a bold departure from the usual genre fare. Although its fight scenes are superbly executed, with a precise devotion to detail, it’s not so much an action movie as an action painting: an exquisite widescreen watercolour. From the first shot—a flood of slow-motion macro raindrops bursting over the pavement as Ip Man prepares to fight off a horde of attackers in a storm—each battle unfolds as ballet of brushstrokes, a dance of limbs softly exploding into space.

This epic tale, which begins in 1936, hinges on a duel between the 40-year-old Ip Man, a Cantonese master, and Gong Baosen, a master from the North, whose daughter, Gong Er—played by an ethereally poised Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)—inherits her father’s threatened legacy. From their first duel, as much a seduction as a fight, a slow-burn attraction develops between Ip Man and Gong Er. Their unrequited romance is played out over decades of separation, and the upheavals of Chinese history, notably the Japanese occupation. The story unfolds against panoramic landscapes that range from China’s wintry north to the sub-tropical south. The movie’s epic sweep and spirit of romantic longing recalls Doctor Zhivago, complete with a breathtaking scene in a railway station, although the narrative is as scattered and elusive as the snowflakes that drift across Zhang’s perfect cheekbones.

The story, which is threaded with technical notes and sage homilies about kung fu, is hard to follow, even with a rather clunky overlay of exposition. But frankly, I would have been happy to watch this film without a word of dialogue. Though The Grandmaster is cloaked in the luxurious décor of a period film on a historic mission to honour the legacy of Ip Man and his art, it seems like a front for a film that wants to lose itself in the art of filmmaking. Here is movie “violence” that feels like silk, a silent dialogue of measured glances—stolen and lingering but always unblinking—framed in a suite of duels, each a romantic pas de deux. The camera has a special affection for feet, with lingering close-ups of embroidered slippers that steal across the floor like cat’s paws waiting to lunge. The lens moves like a partner in the dance, each shot gliding in a synch with the actors’ movement, riding a hypnotic score of low-slung strings that echo the opiated fugues of In the Mood for Love.

If this were just an opulent exercise in style, it would feel empty. But Wong has imbued a martial arts film pageant with the same sense of intimate longing that infused In the Mood for Love. One could say he’s repeating himself. So what? After the sad disappointment of the director’s previous film, My Blueberry Nights (2007)—a hollow confection starring Norah Jones and Jude Law—The Grandmaster marks an eloquent return to form. For fans of the director, it’s a must-see, and for those who’ve never seen a Wong Kar Wai movie, it’s not a bad place to start.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Grandmaster, reviewed: Rushed plot matches the speed of martial-arts master Ip Man’s movements

Chris Knight

23/08/2013

http://arts.nationalpost.com/2013/08/23/the-grandmaster-reviewed-rushed-plot-matches-the-speed-of-martial-arts-master-ip-mans-movements/

Sorry, chess fans. The Grandmaster is not the second film this year to revolve around the classic strategy game, after the bizarre ’80s-set Computer Chess. In fact, it could hardly be more different, although the element of strategy is definitely there.

The topic is the life of Ip Man, a famed martial artist whose legacy was passed along (albeit briefly) to none other than Bruce Lee. Since the man telling the story is writer/director Wong Kar-wai, we can be assured of some romantic longing and plenty of sterling cinematography amid the flying fists.

In fact, the film opens with a beautifully framed donnybrook in the rain, in which Ip Man (Tony Leung) bests a dozen opponents, all without losing the crease in his crisp white fedora. The credits accompany this scene, with one of the first names being action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (Kill Bill, Kung Fu Hustle). Clearly, kinetic energy is gong to be even more important here than it was on your grade 12 physics final.

Soon enough we’re into flashback territory, with Ip Man describing his pampered upbringing in the Chinese city of Fushan, a time he recalls as “40 years of spring.” But it’s followed by a quick plunge into winter as the Second World War engulfs his homeland. Ip Man loses two daughters to famine during the conflict, but staunchly resists becoming an enemy collaborator.

The same cannot be said of Ma San (Zhang Jin), a duplicitous martial arts master from the north (every country has a north) who functions as a thorn in Ip Man’s side. Or, given the milieu, perhaps he’s a six-and-a-half-point blade in his side.

Wong presents Ip Man’s life as a kind of highlights reel. We witness his sublime powers when a rival challenges him to break a cake, and he does so with no more than the force of his reasoning. We see him move to Hong Kong after the war, penniless but carrying a fancy coat button to remind him of the old days, and determined to raise himself up again.

There’s also an understated, unrequited love affair with Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), on a parallel quest to reclaim her family’s honour, besmirched by Ma San. At one point, this involves a fight in front of an apparently endless train that’s somehow managed to accelerate to fantastic speed even as it’s leaving the station. It’s like a math problem run amok, and an oddly magic-realist moment for what is meant to be a biopic.

But you take The Grandmaster on its own terms or not at all. Fans of Wong’s esthetic will no doubt lap it up, as it marks a return to some of his favourite actors; Leung has appeared in all but three of his 10 features, while Chang Chen, cast here as a character called The Razor, makes his third appearance.

It also puts the action back in China, after what many viewed as an ill-advised attempt by Wong to concoct an American road movie, 2007’s Blueberry Nights, starring Jude Law.

The version of this film opening in North America features editing changes that make it some 20 minutes shorter than the 130-minute original that opened the Berlin International Film Festival in February. That might explain why, in spite of its languorous love story, the plot often feels rushed. Then again, when you live on the cutting edge of martial artistry, it doesn’t do to move slowly.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The Grandmaster" and "Unbeatable" fight for Oscar nomination

By Heidi Hsia | From Cinema Online Exclusively for Yahoo! Newsroom

http://my.entertainment.yahoo.com/news/grandmaster-unbeatable-fight-oscar-nomination-040630649.html

21 Sep – While Wong Kar-wai's "The Grandmaster" has always been the favourite entry to be nominated for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Film category; it seems that the martial arts movie is now facing a strong competitor in the form of Dante Lam's "Unbeatable".

As reported on Apple Daily website, the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong Limited, whose annual job is to submit a film to represent Hong Kong to compete for the Best Foreign Film nomination in the Academy Awards, has set his sights on the Wong Kar-wai masterpiece for quite a while.

However, this year's jury panel, which includes Mabel Cheung, John Chong, Teresa Mo, amongst others, are having problems choosing, since Dante Lam's "Unbeatable", which is still screening, has been showed promise.

A source claimed, "Originally, the jury thought that the HKD 120 million (app. USD 15.47 million) budget and a decade-long production of "The Grandmaster" would have a better shot as Hong Kong's representative for Best Foreign Film, especially since it has frequented a lot of international film festivals and that Wong has been recognised by most foreign viewers."

"They also believe that the film will have a better chance at winning since it was screened in the US and accumulated USD 2.45 million in a short time," the sources continued.

However, with the recent success of "Unbeatable" in raking in more than HKD 42 million (USD 5.4 million), as well as Nick and Crystal Lee's wins as Best Actor and Best Actress at the Shanghai International Film Festival, some of the voters are having second thoughts and requested to watch the American cut of "The Grandmaster" before making any decisions.

The voting session has been delayed until 23 September.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hong Kong enters Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster to Oscars

23 September, 2013 | By Michael Rosser

http://www.screendaily.com/news/hong-kong-enters-grandmaster-to-oscars/5060705.article

Martial arts epic entered for inclusion in the Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award submissions 2013.

Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster has been chosen as the official entry of Hong Kong to the Academy’s Best Foreign Language Film Award.

The film, which debuted in China and Hong Kong in January and opened the Berlin International Film Festival in February, was released by The Weinstein Company in the US on Aug 23, where it has so far grossed $6.3m. This is part of a worldwide gross in excess of $63m.

The martial arts epic, set in 1930s China, stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai (Infernal Affairs) and Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and tells the story of kung fu icon Ip Man.

It was produced by Wong’s Jet Tone Films and Block 2 Pictures, Hong Kong’s Sil-Metropole Organisation, and China’s Bona Film Group.

The other two finalists for the Oscar submission included box office smash Unbeatable and Ip Man: The Final Fight, directed by Herman Yau

The nominations for the 2014 Academy Awards will be announced on Jan 16, 2014. The 86th Oscar Ceremony will take place on March 2, 2014.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wong Kar-wai's Grandmaster put forward for Oscar nomination

Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 11:16am
Lo Wei

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1316228/wong-kar-wais-grandmaster-put-forward-oscar-nomination

Hong Kong filmmakers have chosen Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster to represent the city at the Oscars.

It is hoped the film about wing chun master Ip Man will be among the five nominees for best foreign-language film at the 86th Academy Awards in March.

The Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong said yesterday the US version of the film, starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai as Ip and Zhang Ziyi, was chosen from the 40 local films screened in the past year.

"The film is very artistic and it shows a lot of local Chinese elements," federation chairman Crucindo Hung Cho-sing said. "The Oscar academy usually chooses films that reflect the country's features, so there's a big chance it will be a nominee."

The US version is 22 minutes shorter than the 130-minute version released in Hong Kong and the mainland.

Another popular choice was boxing drama Unbeatable, directed by Dante Lam Chiu-yin.

Comparing The Grandmaster to previous films based on Ip Man, board member Patrick Tong Hing-chi said earlier ones focused more on action, while Wong's version was more emotional. "He paid a lot of attention to shooting techniques," Tong said. "The kung fu moves are very elegant."

The action film hit cinemas in January after more than a decade in the making and three years in production.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oscars: Hong Kong Nominates Wong Kar Wai's 'The Grandmaster' for Foreign Language Category

12:57 AM PDT 9/23/2013 by Karen Chu

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscars-hong-kong-nominates-wong-634287

The film opened in the U.S. on Aug. 23, distributed by The Weinstein Co., and has grossed $6.3 million thus far.

HONG KONG – Director Wong Kar Wai's martial arts epic The Grandmaster has been selected to be Hong Kong's representative in the best foreign language film category at the 86th Academy Awards, the Federation of Motion Film Producers announced on Monday.

Oscars: Taiwan Nominates 'Soul' for Foreign Language Category
Oscars: India Nominates 'The Good Road' for Foreign Language Category
Oscars: Philippines Nominates ‘Transit’ for Foreign Language Category

Starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai (Infernal Affairs, Lust, Caution) and Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; My Lucky Star), The Grandmaster was screened in Los Angeles during a special salute to Wong -- whose other credits include Happy Together, In the Mood for Love and My Blueberry Nights -- by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on July 22.

The drama, about the life of Wing Chun master Ip Man -- kung fu icon Bruce Lee's martial arts mentor -- was produced by Wong's Jet Tone Films and Block 2 Pictures, Hong Kong's Sil-Metropole Organisation and China's Bona Film Group, and took six years in planning and three years in the making.

The film was released in January in Hong Kong and China. It took in $2.8 million (HK$22 million) in Hong Kong, and close to $49 million (300 million yuan) in China, making it the highest-grossing film in the director's career. It also opened in the U.S. on Aug. 23, distributed by The Weinstein Co., and has grossed $6.3 million thus far.

The Grandmaster was chosen over two other finalists. MMA drama Unbeatable, which is the highest-grossing Chinese-language film in Hong Kong in 2013 so far, was also on the shortlist, as well as another drama about the life of the martial arts master, Ip Man: The Final Fight, directed by Herman Yau and starring Anthony Wong (The Painted Veil).
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hong Kong Picks ‘Grandmaster’ for Oscars Fight

September 23, 2013 | 02:12AM PT
Patrick Frater

http://variety.com/2013/film/news/hong-kong-picks-grandmaster-for-oscars-fight-1200661343/

HONG KONG — Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster” has been selected as Hong Kong’s nominee in the foreign-language Academy Awards category.

The film stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Zhang Ziyi in a story about the martial arts master Ip Man, who in later life was Bruce Lee’s mentor.

The selection was made by the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong, which had also shortlisted “Unbeatable,” directed by Dante Lam, and another Ip Man biopic “Ip Man: The Final Fight,” directed by Herman Yau.

The highly stylized “Grandmaster” premiered commercially in Hong Kong and China in January and subsequently was set as the opening film of the Berlin film festival in February.

It was produced by Wong’s Jettone and Block 2 Pictures with funding from SIL-Metropole Organisation and China’s Bona Film Group.

Released on an expanding platform release in the U.S. by The Weinstein Company, “Grandmaster” has so far scored $6.29 million at the stateside box office. International sales in different territories are handled by France’s Wild Bunch and by Hong Hong’s Fortissimo Films.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UPDATE: Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award submissions 2013

23 September, 2013 | By Michael Rosser

http://www.screendaily.com/news/update-best-foreign-language-film-academy-award-submissions-2013/5059891.article

New entries from Hong Kong, Belgium, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia, Slovakia and South Africa.

Submissions for the Best Foreign-Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards are coming in and will continue until October, when the full list of eligible submissions will be revealed.

Last year, a record 71 countries submitted features and the eventual winner was Austrian entry Amour, directed by Michael Haneke.

An initial nine finalists will be shortlisted, which will be whittled down to five nominees that will be announced on Jan 16, 2014.
Submissions

* = new additions

Australia, The Rocket, Kim Mordaunt
Austria, The Wall, Julian Pölsler

* Bangladesh, Television, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki
* Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Felix van Groeningen
* Brazil, Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho
Bulgaria, The Colour of the Chameleon, Emil Hristov

Chile, Gloria, Sebastián Lelio
Croatia, Halima’s Path, Arsen Anton Ostojić

Dominican Republic, Who’s the Boss?, Ronni Castillo

Finland, Disciple, Ulrika Bengts
France, Renoir, Gilles Bourdos

Georgia, In Bloom, Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Groß
Germany, Two Lives, Georg Maas
Greece, Boy Eating The Bird’s Food, Ektoras Lygizos

* Hong Kong, The Grandmaster, Wong Kar-wai
Hungary, The Notebook, Janosz Szasz

* India, The Good Road, Gyan Correa

Japan, The Great Passage, Yuya Ishii

Latvia, Mother, I Love You, Janis Nords
Luxembourg, Blind Spot, Christophe Wagner

* Mexico, Heli, Amat Escalante
Montenegro, Bad Destiny, Draško Đurović
Morocco, God’s Horses, Nabil Ayouch

Nepal, Soongava: Dance of the Orchids, Subarna Thapa
Netherlands, Borgman, Alex van Warmerdam
New Zealand, White Lies, Dana Rotberg

Pakistan, Zinda Bhaag, Meenu Gaur, Farjad Nabi
Philippines, Transit, Hannah Espia
Poland, Walesa. Man of Hope, Andrzej Wajda
Portugal, Lines of Wellington, Valeria Sarmiento

Romania, Child’s Pose, Calin Peter Netzer
* Russia, Stalingrad, Fedor Bondarchuk

Saudi Arabia, Wadjda, Haifaa Al Mansour
Serbia, Circles, Srdan Golubovic
Singapore, Ilo Ilo, Anthony Chen
* Slovakia, My Dog Killer, Mira Fornay
* South Africa, Four Corners, Ian Gabriel
South Korea, Juvenile Offender, Kang Yi-kwan
Sweden, Eat Sleep Die, Gabriela Pichler

Taiwan, Soul, Chung Mong-hong
Turkey, The Butterfly’s Dream, Yılmaz Erdoğan

Ukraine, Paradjanov, Serge Avedikian, Olena Fetisova
United Kingdom, Metro Manila, Sean Ellis

Venezuela, Breach in the Silence, Luis Rodríguez, Andrés Rodríguez
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