Comedy, the most intrinsic element of all box office hits across the entertainment world, is going to show up big time in film theaters of China this summer. Zhang Ziyi's debut production effort Sophie's Revenge and another comic flick Tracing Shadow by Francis Ng, are slated for release on August 14 and July 30 respectively. This was revealed by the stars during the Shanghai Film Festival.
Both films are a far cry from the usual Hollywood action thrillers and special effects movies that have dotted the Chinese cinema territory for the past few summers. For the audience, these two films will bring a refreshing break from an excess of racy, sci-fi films and from those that borrow heavily from ancient Chinese elements.
For the audience in China, pure romantic comedies made with the scale and style of Hollywood is sure to be a big draw, believe both Zhang and Francis. For them this will be the test of their talent and vision and of the audience taste as well.
Blending laughter with stardom
With Sophie's Revenge, Zhang Ziyi might prove her detractors wrong. The claims that she was purely lucky when she impressed the world with her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon might just be brushed under the carpet when her comic flick arrives in cinemas this summer.
In her first-ever production venture, Zhang sees her future course mapped out. At the age of 30, she perhaps understands that she could no longer play the role of an innocent teenage girl or that of a kung fu fighter. With her sources, network and influence in the film industry, turning to production seemed the most natural path to walk upon.
"I've always wanted to try other things other than acting. So I thought why not be a producer and remain in the industry I am so familiar with," said Zhang at the film's press conference during the 12th Shanghai International Film Festival Sunday.
From the five-minute trailer and the plot revealed at the conference, Sophie's Revenge took one back to a few Hollywood classic "chick flicks" like Legally Blonde. The storyline and treatment resemble the romantic comedies of the West.
Zhang stressed that the film was "as good as any Hollywood production." Sophie's Revenge, she claimed, is as modern and fashionable as Hollywood.
When asked why she chose a comedy as her first production, Zhang replied that she believed audiences always have the appetite to be entertained, "especially in such dismal economic environment. And it's always best to start with a small-budget film."
Zhang is not too perturbed by the box office performance. "We've already sold to most countries in Asia like Korea, Singapore and Malaysia during the Cannes Festival," she said, adding, "The biggest pressure was how to bring the film into American market."
Talking about future plans, Zhang said she hoped to learn more about films by being a producer. "In the future, I hope I can produce, act and simultaneously support young talents."
Comedy with a purpose
Like Zhang, Francis Ng has also donned on two roles; that of actor and director, in his new film Tracing Shadow. But unlike Zhang, who is a first-time producer, Ng is into his 4th directorial venture with this comedy.
Ng's last three films were dubbed failures, both by critics and in the box office. On the sidelines of the film festival in Shanghai, Ng expressed his preoccupation with his personal feelings. "I was too eager to express my personal feelings and understanding of films, but neglected audiences' needs."
So with the help of commercial director Marco Mak (Black White Forest), Ng chose a costume comedy so that "every audience can understand my simplified philosophies." He said he hoped the film could entertain people from all walks of life and provide a relief to their pent-up feelings.
After a good laugh, they would probably come to understand the theme of the film, which is; all that people strive to pursue, like fortune and power, is ultimately a chimera and nothing else. "I hope the audience can ponder over the film's message after they have laughed along with the movie."
Source: The Global Times