Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Upcoming Films at 67th Venice Film Festival

Latest poster for Detective Dee
The film screens in competition at Venice on Sept.5.

Synopsis:  690 A.D., Tang Dynasty: in the capital Luoyang City, a giant Buddhist Stupa pagoda is under construction. On the date of its completion, China’s first female emperor, Wu Zetian, will formally ascend the throne of the largest and most powerful country in the world. But a series of unexplained incidents is threatening Wu’s rise to power. Several men have spontaneously combusted in public. Determined to solve the case before her ascension, she turns to an unlikely candidate, Dee Renjie. Eight years before, she had ordered Dee’s arrest and imprisonment after he criticised her seizure of power following the death of the emperor. She appoints him Chief Judge of the Empire. Meanwhile, the violent and ambitious Judicial Officer Bei Donglai is appointed as Dee’s subordinate in the investigation...(Venice Film Festival, (Sina)

The Child's Eye in 3D from Danny and Oxide Pang screens September 4
Child's Eye - Elanne Kwong, Shawn Yue, Rainie Yang

Stranded in Thailand by the political uprising and airport closure, Rainie and her friends are unable to return home. Reluctantly, they stay in an old and shabby hotel. Among them are Rainie’s soon-to-be ex boyfriend, Lok, Ling and her brother Rex, and Ciwi and her beloved boyfriend, Hei. From the moment they check into the hotel, they come across three weird children and a puppy, and a series of strange things happen. The next day, Lok, Rex and Hei disappear. The three girls search the hotel thoroughly in the hope of finding the three missing young men, but to no avail. To save their missing friends, the girls pluck up the courage to seek the truth. The more they investigate, the more frightening the revelations from the shabby hotel… In desperation, Rainie tries to get information from the hotel owner, Uncle Chuen. But he feigns ignorance. Shortly after, Ling and Ciwi are in trouble too. Rainie is left alone to fight against the unknown. At last, with the help of the ghost-seeing puppy, Rainie enters another world and searches for the truth. She is the only one who can save everyone’s life …(Venice Film Festival)(Sina)

Reign of Assassins, directed by Su Chao-Pin, September 3
Produced by John Woo and Terence Chang, this epic martial arts action thriller promises to be “Face/Off meets Mr and Mrs Smith”. Set in A.D. 428, the film stars Michelle Yeoh as a skilled assassin who is on a mission to return the remains of a mystical Buddhist monk to their resting place. The remains are believed to hold a powerful secret. Along the way, she falls in love with a man named Jiang, whose father was killed by her gang. Unaware that he also is a trained martial artist, their love blossoms but tensions arise as the truth of her past unfolds. Soon, a lethal triangle surfaces between her, Jiang and the team of assassins who are after the monk’s remains. (Venice Film Festival)

Stanley Kwan's Showtime, September 2
Synopsis: Director Stanley Kwan re-examines his familiar Shanghai through the lens of a performance academy where two troupes – one transported across time from the 1930s, the other one very much of today – are forced to act as one to put on a contemporary show. Where one group emphasises traditional skills and core competences, the other one stresses performance and self-expression. Can the torch be successfully passed from one generation to the next? How can old and new remain in step with each other? While the story is told through performance and music, the city of Shanghai also has lessons for the youth of both eras. With Carina Lau, Hu Jun, Tony Leung Ka-Fai. (Venice Film Festival)

Isaac Julien - Better Life (aka Ten Thousand Waves)
Maggie Cheung, Zhao Tao, Yang Fudong
Synopsis:  Better Life explores desires and fantasies, examining the ambitions and dreams that drive people to risk everything for a “better life”. The film does this through three interweaving “ghost” stories, unwinding simultaneously: scenes of contemporary Shanghai and the Shanghai Film Studios are intercut with a telling of the 15th-century Chinese fable, The Tale of Yishan Island featuring Maggie Cheung as the Goddess Mazu. Within these strands, Julien brings in a reworking of the famous 1934 Chinese silent film, Shen nu (The Goddess). With poems by contemporary Chinese poet Wang Ping, Julien has created his own cinematic meditation on China’s ancient past and present. (Venice Film Festival)

Opening Night - September 1st

Synopsis: While China is traumatised by military cliques during the Warlord Era in the 1920s, Shanghai is the cynosure of all eyes. People see it as both Hell’s Kitchen and Heaven’s Gate. One of the city’s most memorable heroes has to be Chen Zhen, who single-handedly avenges his mentor’s death by killing all the Japanese at a dojo in Hong Kong, only to be showered with bullets while making his legendary flying kick. Having vanished from the public eye ever since, he is presumed dead though his body has never been found. Seven years later, a wealthy entrepreneur called Koo returns from abroad and makes a grand entrance on the Shanghai social scene by befriending the notorious mafia boss of the city. This mysterious man is none other than Chen Zhen in disguise, dwelling in a nefarious world in order to infiltrate the criminal empire. He soon discovers a clandestine collusion between the mafia and the Japanese. Disguised as a caped crusader at night, Chen sets out to dismantle the evil collusion that plagues the country by using his martial arts skills. One of his foremost missions is to ferret out the assassination list prepared by the Japanese. (Venice Film Festival) 

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