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Thread: The Banquet

  1. #1
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    The Banquet

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0465676/

    Did I miss a thread on this? Has anyone seen it? Looks like an artsy film starring Ziyi Zhang and has Woo Ping as choreographer. Looks very interesting.
    "For someone who's a Shaolin monk, your kung fu's really lousy!"
    "What, you're dead? You die easy!"
    "Hold on now. I said I would forget your doings, but I didn't promise to spare your life. Take his head."
    “I don’t usually smoke this brand, but I’ll do it for you.”
    "When all this is over, Tan Hai Chi, I will kick your head off and put it on my brother's grave!
    "I regard hardships as part of my training. I don't need to relax."

  2. #2
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    Here is the English trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAa0ip1czjc
    I haven't seen it yet, so I can only comment on what I've heard/read. Not sure when the U.S. theatrical release might be.

    It is Feng Xiaogang’s latest and is rumored to be up for the upcoming Oscars. The story is inspired by Shakespeare's Hamlet.
    Here is the basic synopsis, taken from http://www.nightbanquet.com:
    The Banquet has been described as a loose adaptation of "Hamlet"; it is a tale of fate and revenge set in 10th century China. A new Emperor has usurped the throne through murder. Zhang Ziyi plays the widowed Empress, who marries the new Emperor (Ge You) only to protect herself, but also secretly plots his death with the help of the Crown Prince (Daniel Wu) and the Chief Minister (Ma Jingwu). Yet the Prince and Minister each have their own plans for the throne, and, of course, so does the Emperor. All these intrigues are brought to a climax when the Emperor calls for a lavish banquet, where the murderous plans are set in motion. According to director Feng Xiaogang: "If Hamlet is about a prince who must make a choice involving life and death, then The Banquet is about how each character must face a choice of life or death... All are motivated by desire, but as soon as they have begun their plans must grow more extreme, and they move step-by-step towards the abyss... They do not intend evil, but turn to it out of self-preservation and ever-growing ambition."

    The story to me seems very similiar to Curse of the Golden Flower -- imperial power struggles and what not. An interesting tidbit is that they are filming a scene the “Bamboo Sea” of Zhejiang Province, which was also featured in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Another CTHD parallel -- music composer is Tan Dun.

    Here is some recent financial and box office info from its release in China:
    Feng Xiaogang's The Banquet, despite a mixed review, is going very strong right now in China. The box-office revenue will reach 100 million yuans (US$12.6 million) in a few days. The Banquet, which has been released in the mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for over two weeks, has become the top-seller of Feng Xiaogang. The total revenue may eventually reach 150 million yuans, the record of Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers, but is very unlikely to reach 250 million yuans, the record of Zhang Another film Hero. The number one seller in the mainland China is still Titanic, which collected 360 million yuans from Chinese box-offices.

    If you want more info on the film, here are some links:
    The official Media Asia website There are a ton of movie stills, making-of clips, etc. here.
    Ye Yan page at ent.sina.com (slow loading)
    Trailer links:
    http://www.helloziyi.us/Videos/banquet-trailer3.wmv
    http://ent.sina.com.cn/m/c/2006-07-20/18361165899.html
    http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/006682.html

    One more fun fact: the director, Feng Xiaogang, had a small role in Kung Fu Hustle -- he was the Crocodile Gang boss who says "I would do anything except producing films; nobody come to cinema at Sunday!"
    The Eye Half-Shut:
    Part of the Truth Revealed
    http://rubesroost.blogspot.com

  3. #3
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    Wow, thanks for all of the info. You would think with the names of Ziyi and Woo ping attached and with making all of that money that it would have to have a US relaese.
    "For someone who's a Shaolin monk, your kung fu's really lousy!"
    "What, you're dead? You die easy!"
    "Hold on now. I said I would forget your doings, but I didn't promise to spare your life. Take his head."
    “I don’t usually smoke this brand, but I’ll do it for you.”
    "When all this is over, Tan Hai Chi, I will kick your head off and put it on my brother's grave!
    "I regard hardships as part of my training. I don't need to relax."

  4. #4
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    Why would you think that?

    Zhang Ziyi has been involved in about half a dozen films since Hero (2002) and only HoFD, Geisha (which doesn't really count since it was more of a U.S. production) and 2046 got any theatrical release in America. Yuen Woo Ping has had a better track record - almost everything he's done has been released in the U.S. over the last half decade except House of Fury.

    U.S. distribution of Chinese films is still very limited. That's sort of what our Watch Fearless thread is all about.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #5
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    I guess I think everyone likes to make money. I never heard of the Myth until I saw it on here.
    "For someone who's a Shaolin monk, your kung fu's really lousy!"
    "What, you're dead? You die easy!"
    "Hold on now. I said I would forget your doings, but I didn't promise to spare your life. Take his head."
    “I don’t usually smoke this brand, but I’ll do it for you.”
    "When all this is over, Tan Hai Chi, I will kick your head off and put it on my brother's grave!
    "I regard hardships as part of my training. I don't need to relax."

  6. #6
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    It's all about the money

    But there's the rub. Martial arts films don't make that much money in America. In general, subtitled films do very poorly. Believe it or not, some of our own staff choose not to attend our free screening of FEARLESS because it was subtitled.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Zhang Ziyi has been involved in about half a dozen films since Hero (2002) and only HoFD, Geisha (which doesn't really count since it was more of a U.S. production) and 2046 got any theatrical release in America.
    I recently saw her in Lou Ye's Purple Butterfly and Hou Yong's Jasmine Women, both of which were drama pieces with no kung fu. Purple Butterfly was pretty interesting, and had some good acting. Lou can get a bit impressionistic at times, and at times his interpretations of relationships reminds me of Wong Kar Wai, though not nearly as riveting. (Speaking of WKW -- I really liked Zhang's part in 2046 and think it's her best performance yet -- yes, his movies are a bit depressing and meloncholy, but they sure leave their mark on the viewer). Jasmine Women reminded me a bit of Joy Luck Club, where you see the stories of several generations of women, though in this one, Zhang plays 3 roles throughout the movie -- the grandmother, the mother, and the daughter.

    It's true that Zhang has yet to become "mainstream" in Hollywood yet, and to be honest, I hope she keeps making these kinds of movies over in China as alot of them are more interesting and fulfilling than your average popcorn flick from Hollywood. Look at Michelle Yeoh -- she was a legend in HK films for years and didn't really become known mainstream in America until she played a Bond girl. It seems to me that she is interested in making some more serious films though and expanding her dramatic repertoire rather than be the next action girl. Still, she does pretty well in those kind of roles considering she had no martial arts experience whatsoever prior to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

    Regarding The Banquet -- I broke down and got the DVD the other day when I was picking up those other movies of hers. Since it's loosely based on Hamlet, I was expecting a Shakespearean tragedy and this film delivers on that aspect. Visually, it's stunning and very picturesque -- very elaborate sets and costumes. I do have to say that there are not many characters in the film I felt any kind of sympathy for -- most of them are cruel and calculating. There was the requisite love triangle that is a familiar thread in recent wuxia films. Zhang's performance was fine, though not very inspiring and perhaps that was due more to the character she portrayed. Also, Yuen Woo Ping's choreagraphy seemed to lack its usual zing and flair. All in all, it was still entertaining and had some eye-candy for sure, but the acting and action were not as enthralling as I had anticipated. In the immortal words of the King, I guess I would have preferred "a little less conversation, a little more action please" I'm hoping Curse of the Golden Flower fares better -- hopefully I can be patient enough to wait for the big screen on that one.
    The Eye Half-Shut:
    Part of the Truth Revealed
    http://rubesroost.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    I bought the dvd of Ye Yan and viewed last weekend.

    I think over all it is alright.

    most of the twists and turns happened over the dinner/banquet.

    I dun like the ending. b/c every one died oops spoiler alert.

    It happened during 5 dynasties/10 kingdoms or Wu Dai Shi Guo.

    It was a time that everyone fought or murdered someone else to get to the thrones.

    --


  9. #9
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    The 5 Dynasties / 10 Kingdoms was a pretty short but interesting time period of China, sandwiched between the great Tang and Song Dynasties, when the imperial government lost its power to small regional leaders -- a fitting place in history to set this movie in.

    More on the "Hamlet" influence as well: According to director Feng Xiaogang: "If Hamlet is about a prince who must make a choice involving life and death, then The Banquet is about how each character must face a choice of life or death... All are motivated by desire, but as soon as they have begun their plans must grow more extreme, and they move step-by-step towards the abyss... They do not intend evil, but turn to it out of self-preservation and ever-growing ambition."
    The Eye Half-Shut:
    Part of the Truth Revealed
    http://rubesroost.blogspot.com

  10. #10
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    Tan Dun’s Martial Trilogy

    On Saturday April 25th, San Francisco Symphony is performing a very special concert. Read Tan Dun’s Martial Trilogy by Gene Ching
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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