Monday, February 19, 2007

News & Notes, 2/19/07

From Variety Asia: intriguing details on John Woo's upcoming film, The Battle of Red Cliff, an adaptation of the classic Chinese epic "The Romance of Three Kingdoms," which will be released in two different versions -- in Asia as a two-part film, four hours in total, and everywhere else as a single two-and-a-half hour film. Hopefully, when this film is finally made, it will lessen the damage to Woo's filmography wrought by films such as Paycheck and Windtalkers.

Also from Variety Asia: The latest film to run afoul of Chinese censors, Li Yu's Lost in Beijing, screened in its uncut version at the Berlin Film Festival, which just wrapped this past weekend; also, some Berlin deals, including Hou Hsiao-hsien's new film Ballon Rouge ("Red Balloon"), a French-language remake, and expansion, of Albert Lamourisse's 1956 film of the same name, which won the Oscar in 1957 for best screenplay, a remarkable and unusual achievement considering the original was only 34 minutes in length and had no dialogue. Definitely something to eagerly look forward to.

Speaking of Berlin, some of the notable winners included: the top prize (Golden Bear) going to Wang Quanan's Mongolia-set "Tuya's Marriage"; Park Chan-wook's new film I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK won the Alfred Bauer Prize for "innovative film." Also, Taiwanese filmmaker Zero Chou won the Teddy Award, which honors gay and lesbian cinema, for Spider Lilies. I saw her earlier film Splendid Float, which I quite liked, two years ago at the New York Asian-American International Film Festival. You can read about the rest of the winners here.

Also in Korean cinema news, there has been a rather disturbing number of high-profile celebrity suicides, the latest being actress Jeong Da-bin, best known for the 2003 TV drama Cat on the Rooftop, whose popularity had apparently waned in recent years. The method of suicide (by hanging) eerily echoed the 2005 suicide of actress Lee Eun-ju (Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Bungee Jumping of Their Own). Even more unsettling, these suicides have inspired copycats. You can read the full story here, in Joong Ang Daily.

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