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Thread: The Grandmaster

  1. #61
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    US release

    Now we just have to figure out when and where...
    'The Grandmaster" to release in US
    By Ng Suzhen

    "The Grandmaster" fights his way into cinemas in the West.

    11 Feb – Director Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmaster" has been picked up by The Weinstein Company and will soon be seen across cinemas in the Western side of the hemisphere.

    Deadline.com broke the news that TWC acquired all the rights in the US and English-speaking Canadian territories from Annapurna as well as the rights to Australia, New Zealand and the UK from Wild Bunch.

    "I am pleased to continue our long-time and multi-picture collaboration with TWC on "The Grandmaster". With Harvey's (Weinstein) expertise and his passion for this genre, I am confident that he and his team will reach new heights with "The Grandmaster" by cultivating hard-core action fans as well as exciting and pleasing those long-time fans of my films," said Wong.

    Weinstein returned the compliments, praising Wong as an extraordinary filmmaker.


    Director Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmaster" opened at the Berlin Film Festival. Here he is seen with cast Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Zhang Ziyi.

    "The Grandmaster" tells the tale of Bruce Lee's legendary mentor, Ip Man, who crosses path with various Kung Fu masters during the Japanese invasion in the 1930s. The film stars Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as the grandmaster as well as Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Chen and Korean actress Song Hye-Kyo.

    The epic premiered in the Berlin Film Festival as the opening film on 7 February.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #62
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    The biggest Ip Man yet...

    ...at least in the Chinese box office.

    Chinese Box Office: "The Grandmaster" Reaches $40M; "Lost in Thailand" Inches Closer to "Avatar"'s Record
    Posted 5:32 PM January 24th, 2013 by Senh Duong



    Wong Kar-Wai’s “The Grandmaster” topped the charts for another week with $13.7M, upping its total to a spectacular $39.5M after two weeks. It’s now the top earning Ip Man film in China, beating the $32M gross of the Donnie Yen-starring “Ip Man 2.” That’s pretty impressive, considering Yen’s films were the ones that popularized the martial arts master who taught Bruce Lee.

    “The Grandmaster” has surpassed “Hero” ($30M) to become Zhang Ziyi’s best performer in China (excluding her cameo in “The Founding of a Republic”), and Tony Leung Chui-Wai’s second best behind John Woo’s “Red Cliff” ($46.7M). It’s very likely that it will pass “Red Cliff” in the coming weeks.

    Now the question is will the success of “The Grandmaster” spawn sequels? Wong did spend more than a decade developing it; I’m sure he had lots of ideas that didn’t make it to the film. It would be interesting if we get two franchises based on the life of Ip Man: an artsy, pensive version from Wong, and a low-key, kick-ass version from Wilson Yip.

    In second place this week with $13.4M is a surprise hit that almost topped the charts: “Bring Happiness Home,” a low-budget comedy about a dog that got separated from its rich owner. Yeah, I don’t think any of you care either. Either way, it’s good to see a chart-topper that’s not a huge, expensive production headlined by big stars.

    Third and fourth place went to “Chinese Zodiac” and “Lost in Thailand,” with $8M and $4.9M, respectively. In total, “Chinese Zodiac” has collected $135M. “Lost in Thailand” is at $196M. I’m not sure it can still beat “Avatar” ($204M). It’ll get close.

    “The Last Tycoon,” starring Chow Yun Fat and Sammo Hung, is currently at $23M, a solid performance. You just can’t compare it to “Chinese Zodiac” or “Lost in Thailand”; it’ll distort your perspective. Movies don’t make $100M in China often. Last year was a special year, in which three Chinese films passed that barrier.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #63
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    August 23

    Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘The Grandmaster’
    By THE DEADLINE TEAM | Monday April 22, 2013 @ 4:39pm

    The Weinstein Co. release acquired from Annapurna Pictures hits theaters August 23 with an abridged title (formerly The Grandmasters). Tony Leung stars in the Wong Kar-wai action drama as legendary martial artist Ip Man. Zhang Ziyi and Cung Le co-star. Here’s the first domestic teaser for the pic, replete with rainy action footage and a rather intrusive voice over:
    I didn't watch the new trailer. I dislike voice overs.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #64
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    I finally saw the Grandmasters and was disappointed. The cinematography was beautiful and the fights were entertaining (if somewhat generic) but the plot was a hot mess lacking engagement, focus or a consistent through-line on the story.

    Give it a miss if you haven't seen it yet.
    Simon McNeil
    ___________________________________________

    Be on the lookout for the Black Trillium, a post-apocalyptic wuxia novel released by Brain Lag Publishing available in all major online booksellers now.
    Visit me at Simon McNeil - the Blog for thoughts on books and stuff.

  5. #65
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    Headed to Comic-con

    I expect a lot of buzz on upcoming stuff coming out of this weekend.

    Academy to host screening of Wong Kar-Wai's 'The Grandmaster'
    After a rough Berlin debut, the martial arts epic is seeking a second wind
    By Guy Lodge Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 12:15 AM

    Tony Leung in "The Grandmaster."
    Credit: The Weinstein Company

    Wong Kar-Wai's long-awaited, long-delayed martial arts epic "The Grandmaster" looked to be the dream opening film at this year's Berlin Film Festival, but it received a slightly rude awakening when it finally premiered. I was far from the only critic to voice my disappointment with the film, which bore the scars of work that had been labored over a little too long -- though it still offered sporadic thrills and ravishing beauty aplenty.

    Faced with a mixed response to a film that was arguably always going to suffer from inflated expectations, US distributors The Weinstein Company were probably wise to sit on it for a few months. The film has played other, smaller international film festivals since its Berlin debut, but will be making its first US appearance in the very different environment of Comic-Con this week. Will the film be more warmly embraced by the genre crowd than the festival press? It's worth a try: the film certainly isn't typical Comic-Con fare, but that novelty could serve it well, generating a fresh wave of buzz ahead of its August 23 release.

    Meanwhile, it was announced today that the film will also be receiving a special screening at the Academy on Monday, as part of their season-long celebration of the kung-fu genre. Wong will be in attendance, while a Q&A with the filmmaker will be hosted by writer, director and "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner -- not the first name you'd connect with the Hong Kong iconoclast, though both men know a thing or two about style on screen.

    The Academy's exhibition, "Kick Ass! Kung Fu Posters from the Stephen Chin Collection," will be available to view in the Grand Lobby of the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater after the screening.

    The Academy event, which is already sold out, lends additional class to the film's profile as one of this summer's potential arthouse blockbusters. It'll be interesting to see if it can get a second wind nearly six months after its distant world premiere. Meanwhile, it's nice to see the Academy showcasing a genuine titan of world cinema under any circumstances. Wong, incidentally, was one of 176 individuals invited to join the Academy last year.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #66
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    Previewed in Beverly Hills

    I wish Z would make a surprise appearance at an event I am at....
    New kung fu film screened in LA
    Updated: 2013-07-25 11:18
    By China Daily (China Daily)

    Wong Kar-wai and Zhang Ziyi, female lead of The Grandmaster, attend the preview of the movie at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Monday. Provided to China Daily

    A sneak preview of The Grandmaster this week warmed up the market for the film's premier in Los Angeles in late August.
    As part of an on-going celebration of kung fu films, the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted the event as a salute to Hong Kong-based writer/director Wong Kar Wai and his new film about the instructor who trained Bruce Lee in martial arts. Lead actress in the film, Zhang Ziyi, made a surprise appearance at the event.
    According to the Academy, Wong stands out for his "unique sense of style and emotionally resonant work". He was the first Chinese director to win the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his 1997 film Happy Together. Wong has been called a "poet of time" by Sight & Sound and "perhaps the most revered and singular of Hong Kong auteurs" by the New York Times.
    The Grandmaster tells the story of martial arts grandmaster Ip Man (Tony Leung), who trained Bruce Lee. As he seeks to perfect his practice of the Wing Chun fighting style, Ip Man locks horns with another determined kung fu master, Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), during the 1937 Japanese invasion of China and the tumultuous years that follow. The cast also includes Wang Qing-xiang, Chang Chen, Xiao Shengyang and Song Hye Kyo, as well as hundreds of Asia's top martial artists.
    The Grandmaster reportedly took Wong 13 years to make. The rain scene alone - used in the movie poster - took a month to finish. Zhang said that Wong spent two years filming the movie's snow scenes.
    The film has already been released in the Chines mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, France and Japan.
    Reviews say the film presents a beauty that is appealing to both Oriental and Western tastes. Other critics gave the movie a mediocre two and half stars out of five because of the kung fu performances.
    The Grandmaster will hit US theaters on Aug 23.
    Oscar event salutes Wong Kar-Wai
    By Zhang Rui (China.org.cn)
    10:33, July 25, 2013


    Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai and actress Zhang Ziyi attend the advance screening of "The Grandmaster" in Beverly Hills, on July 22, 2013. The film will hit U.S. theaters on Aug. 23. (China.org.cn)

    The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences saluted Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai on Monday, with an advance screening of his new film "The Grandmaster," his new film about the master who trained Bruce Lee.

    Wong and his film star actress Zhang Ziyi, and Hawk Koch, the president of the Academy, and the filmmaker Matthew Weiner ("Mad Man") - the evening's host - attended the tribute at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

    This event was part of the Oscar's summer-long celebration of kung fu. The Samuel Goldwn Theater also hosted its current exhibition "KICK ASS! Kung Fu Posters and the Stephen Chin Collection."


    (From L to R) Filmmaker Matthew Weiner, actress Zhang Ziyi, director Wong Kar-Wai, screen writer Zou Jingzhi and Hawk Koch, the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, attend a salute to Wong and the advance screening of "The Grandmaster" in Beverly Hills, on July 22, 2013. The film will hit U.S. theaters on Aug. 23. (China.org.cn)
    Wong Kar-Wai is known for his unique sense of style and emotionally resonant work, according to the Academy's website. He is the first Chinese director to win the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his film "Happy Together" in 1997. His other films also include "Chungking Express," "Fallen Angels," "In the Mood for Love," "2046," and his first English-language film "My Blueberry Nights" - Norah Jones' acting debut.

    "The Grandmaster" tells the story of martial arts grandmaster Ip Man (Tony Leung), who trained Bruce Lee. As he seeks to perfect his practice of the fighting style Wing Chun, Ip Man collides with another determined kung fu master, Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), during the Japanese invasion of China in 1936 and the tumultuous years that follow. The cast also includes Wang Qingxiang, Chang Chen, Xiao Shengyang and Song Hye Kyo, as well as hundreds of Asia's top martial artists.

    The film has already been released in China and will hit U.S. theaters on Aug. 23.
    Gene Ching
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  7. #67
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    NYC premiere

    WKW in attendance.

    Kung fu epic premieres in NYC
    Updated: 2013-08-12 10:56
    By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)



    Bringing The Grandmaster to the big screen was a 15-year labor of love for Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai.

    "If you like kung fu movies, then you've come to the right place," Wong told the audience before the film's New York premiere. "If you don't like kung fu movies, then it's time to change."

    The event was held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York, and included a post-screening onstage interview with the director. A question and answer session with the audience followed, during which one audience member shouted from the second to last row that she had worked briefly for Wong on the film and was wondering if he would be her reference for her film school application.

    "Talk to me after," the 57-year-old director sporting his signature sunglasses replied.

    Wong Kar-wai is widely considered one of the most influential film directors of his generation, both inside and outside of Asia. Saturday's premiere was the centerpiece of a comprehensive retrospective of Wong's work, which began on July 12 and includes all ten of his feature films. Between now and Aug 24, the retrospective will wind up with screenings of My Blueberry Nights, In the Mood for Love and 2046.

    Wong's latest feature, in which he seeks to reinvent the martial arts genre, reunites Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi, the stars of his science-fiction epic 2046. Neither actor has a background in martial arts, and both spent three years training for the film's fight sequences.

    "I always wanted to make a kung fu film, but there are so many kung fu films made before me and so I had to find my angle," Wong said during the onstage interview.

    The film tackles the story of Ip Man, played by 51-year-old Leung, who pioneered the popular Wing Chun fighting style and taught kung fu legend Bruce Lee.

    In the film, Wong seeks to capture the nobility and formality of Chinese kung fu as it existed in the 1930s and '40s, as well as today with its competing schools and philosophies.

    The director said he considered naming the film The Grandmasters, but his son talked him out of it, arguing that the film was more about the idea of what it takes to be a grandmaster than the grandmasters themselves.

    Wong said he wanted to set the record straight on the Ip Man story, as opposed to merely dazzling audiences with another kung fu movie. The Grandmaster coincides with another Ip Man film released this year, Ip Man: The Final Fight, by Hong Kong director Herman Yau, who also directed The Legend Is Born: Ip Man (2010). Wong's film encountered many delays, including Leung breaking his arm during rehearsal and the day before his first shoot. Wong spent 22 months on a budget of $25 million to shoot the film.

    Wong missed a number of release dates before The Grandmaster finally reached theaters on the Chinese mainland in January. The film is Wong's greatest commercial success to date, having earned more than $50 million worldwide. In China, it out-grossed his previous four features combined.

    In contrast to Wong's usual free-form style of directing, the filmmaker insisted on strict historical accuracy in this film. After sifting through piles of books, journals and archival materials, including a home video the Ip family presented to Wong in their living room of Ip Man in his studio three days before his death, the filmmaker spent three years interviewing hundreds of mainland martial artists in preparation for the script he co-wrote. The resulting story includes many Ip Man proteges.

    "To make this film is like a dream come true," Wong said. "I grew up on streets full of martial arts schools, but I was never allowed to practice martial arts."

    When he was growing up, he said, martial arts schools were dark and mysterious and sometimes associated with the triad gangs - groups that became prevalent in Hong Kong during the 1960s and '70s. No parent would encourage their kid to practice martial arts, said Wong.

    At the end of the film, a boy stares intently through the window to Ip Man's martial arts studio. "That could be Bruce Lee or that could be me because it was always my dream to walk through the door to find out what's so special, what's so mysterious about Chinese martial arts," Wong said. "With this film, I walked past this door and I find it very satisfying."

    carolineberg@chinadailyusa.com
    Gene Ching
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  8. #68

    I saw the trailer on TV

    At first I thought it was for Ip Man 3, but no. Oddly, it is being released as Martin Scorcese presents "The Grandmaster"

  9. #69
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    SF Sneak Preview this Monday

    We're helping with a promotion for the San Francisco premiere of THE GRANDMASTERS by giving away tickets to some lucky winners. To enter, you need to log onto www.gofobo.com/rsvp and enter in the code (KUNGTK24) to download passes. Entry with these passes are based on a first come first serve basis, and the theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. Hope to see you there!

    Gene Ching
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  10. #70
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    I am going to see this for two reasons, the fight scenes look fantastic cinematographically (is that even a word?) Secondly for Zhang Ziyi, she is captivating to watch on the big screen. The story line doesn't particularly appeal to me, I'm more of a Wuxia type.
    "if its ok for shaolin wuseng to break his vow then its ok for me to sneak behind your house at 3 in the morning and bang your dog if buddha is in your heart then its ok"-Bawang

    "I get what you have said in the past, but we are not intuitive fighters. As instinctive fighters, we can chuck spears and claw and bite. We are not instinctively god at punching or kicking."-Drake

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  11. #71
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    US release to be presented by marty scoresese and will be getting a wide release and oscar push...whoa!


    For Wong Kar-Wai's 'The Grandmaster,' Weinstein Plans Subtitled Wide Release, Oscar Campaign

    by Tom Brueggemann
    August 15, 2013 4:29 PM




    Wong Kar-Wai's "The Grandmaster," now being officially presented by Martin Scorsese, is getting an ambitious release from the Weinstein Company, taking the chance that subtitles won't be a barrier in reaching a wider audience. Moviegoers have not had much access to high-budget prestige martial arts films since Ang Lee's spectacular 2000 success with "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

    With all the recent major hits from the Weinstein Company (while French, silent "The Artist" was less foreign), one area that that hasn't quite replicated earlier Miramax success is subtitled films. In its heyday in the 1990s, the company transformed the normally limited market for foreign language pictures, starting with "Cinema Paradiso" in 1990 and then later "Il Postino," which both grossed over $10 million (a rare achievement today, even with higher ticket prices), and prestige successes like "Farewell My Concubine" and Kieslowski's "Three Colors" series. Miramax peaked with Roberto Begnini's multiple Oscar winning "Life Is Beautiful' (which totaled $57 million).

    But these grosses pale next to Sony Pictures Classics' achievement, "Crouching Tiger," which took in a staggering $128 million in 2000-2001 (adjusted would be $185 million at today's prices), which other than the anomaly of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," sold more tickets than any subtitled film in U.S. theater history. (Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" sold as many or more tickets than "Crouching," but it played the majority of its runs with a dubbed English soundtrack in the early 1960s.)

    "The Grandmaster" also could be competitive in an Oscar area where the Weinsteins under the Miramax label once excelled -- the Foreign Language Film category. But if so, there could be a complication that could up this year with the change in voting rules.


    Under the Miramax banner, Weinstein won the FL award six times between "Pelle the Conqueror" and "The Barbarian Invasions," for a time rivaling Sony Pictures Classics. (SPC has won the award an incredible 13 times, including six of the last seven.) In recent years, though, the Weinsteins have been mainly absent. They had a strong contender last year with the huge international hit "Intouchables," which was submitted by France and played well in the U.S. but failed to make the final five. Instead their Danish crowdpleaser "Kon-Tiki" was a 2012 nominee -- although its U.S. release was in the English-language version shot at the same time.

    With the Weinsteins making a major push, "The Grandmaster" could end up with a strong profile that could boost its chances. Cannes winner "Blue Is the Warmest Color" will not open in France in time to be eligible, although IFC will mount a best actress campaign. And "The Past" from director Asghar Farhadi ("A Separation") has yet to be selected by either France, its country of production, or Iran, Farhadi's country (though it remains a likely contender).

    "The Grandmaster" could be well positioned thanks to the precedent of "Crouching Tiger," its master auteur Wong Kar-Wai, the most critically acclaimed director from Hong Kong of his generation, and the initial positive critical response. Word is that Hong Kong -- China is the other the co-producing country -- will submit the original China cut of the film, so this could be well-positioned to land a nomination.

    Weinstein is releasing the final edit of "The Grandmaster" in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto in limited theaters on Aug. 23, then rolling it out to 600+ theaters on Aug. 30, backed by a national TV campaign (spots have already shown up on broadcast prime time shows this week). All dates will be subtitled, a bold move by Weinstein, even more so since this is likely a record (other than Mel Gibson's films) for the number of dates in only the second week of a run. (SPC's last two winners both played at their widest in fewer than 350 theaters on their way to $6 million or better totals; "Crouching Tiger" at its widest was in over 2,000 theaters, though much later in its run.) And with any level of success it could be an elevated contender, if submitted, for Foreign Language Film, as well as other categories.

    And that would lead to confusion, more so with revised rules this year. The version being released in the U.S. is one of three that has been shown -- the original one opened in China and Hong Kong in January, the second played in Berlin last February, and the third and shortest cut with new elements but the same structure, whose editing was overseen by the director who has authorized this version, to be released in the U.S.

    Academy rules though say that the version submitted for the Foreign Language committee, and then if nominated screened for members for the final voting, must be the one released in the submitting country. In the meantime, if Weinstein pursues nominations in other categories (apart from the top ones, several of the craft ones could be prime contenders), the U.S. release version is the one that is the correct one to view.

    But there is a wrinkle this year -- for the first time, the final voting for the award will be done by all members, with the Academy sending out DVDs of the foreign final five nominees. And they'd be sending out the original version, not the one released in the U.S. That would mean controversy in the first year of the revised rules, since this likely would cause confusion among members, who are instructed to vote only after seeing the applicable version. And members might be sitting at home with two versions, the U.S. release, with Weinstein sending this out as part of their 2013 slate, and then the one released in Asia by the Academy, with members being told they need to watch that one even if they have already viewed the other. Not exactly an easy thing to get them to do.

    There is ironically a Weinstein-related case of this, but under much more limited circumstances. "Cinema Paradiso" won the award for 1989 in a longer version released in Italy than was in the U.S. However, that film opened in the U.S. only around the time of its nomination, and was in limited release in early weeks. Until this year, home viewing of nominees wasn't allowed, so those who voted needed to see it at official screenings (although some might have gone to theaters in cities where it had opened already and voted on that basis).

  12. #72
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    Scorcese, the Weinsteins & Wong Kar Wai

    What a power team. Oscar-worthy? We shall see.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the U.S. edit as well as seeing it on the big screen. I hope some of our SF local forum members and readers can join us for the screening next Monday. Just get there early or you'll get shut out.
    Gene Ching
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  13. #73
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    I hate to say it...

    ...but I think I might like the U.S. dumbed down version better. I guess I'm just a dumb American. We'll see. I'm going to the screener tonight. If any other locals are coming via our ticket giveaway, get there early and look for me.

    August 15, 2013, 6:12 p.m. ET
    'The Grandmaster': A Punched-Up Kung-Fu Saga
    The American version of director Wong Kar-Wai's new film tells a different story than the original version.
    By DON STEINBERG

    Weinstein Co.

    The U.S. edit of 'The Grandmaster' tells a different story than the original Chinese version. Shown, Tony Leung.

    Cinema snobs have been suggesting that the U.S. version of "The Grandmaster," Wong Kar Wai's art-house kung-fu film that opens on Aug. 23, is dumbed down from the original version that made its debut in China earlier this year. It has been edited so Americans can understand what's happening amid all the dreamy photography, Chinese history and martial-arts action. This push for clarity isn't necessarily a bad thing, although Mr. Wong and his film's stars put it another, kinder way during their visit to New York this week.

    "The U.S. version is more straightforward and linear," Mr. Wong explains. "The Chinese audience is more interested in experiencing the history. In the U.S., it's more about the story."

    "I think it's wise for him to do a version for Americans," says Tony Leung, who plays the lead role of Ip Man, the real-life Chinese martial arts grandmaster of the early 20th century who famously was Bruce Lee's childhood instructor. "It's much easier for them to follow."


    Zhang Ziyi

    "In my opinion, I like the American one," says Zhang Ziyi, who in her role as the headstrong Gong Er is Ip Man's (fictitious) romantic interest and fighting rival. "It's clearer. Easier for foreigners."

    American fans of import films have learned to brace themselves when overseas arrivals like "The Grandmaster" debut here, hoping that the releases aren't neutered edits of the originals. Like many successful Asian movies in recent years, the film is presented in the U.S. by the Weinstein Co., whose co-chairman Harvey Weinstein has earned the nickname "Harvey Scissorhands" for his insistence that foreign films he distributes be chopped up and remixed to become more amenable to Yankee tastes. (Mr. Weinstein declined to comment for this story.)

    Mr. Wong and members of his cast believe many references in the original version might be simply lost on non-Chinese audiences. Mr. Leung says the movie in its original state reminded him of the martial arts novels he grew up reading. "But Westerners can't connect. They don't have this culture," he says. So the U.S. version is less about Chinese tradition and more focused as a narrative about Ip Man.

    Some directors are less than thrilled when American distributors request significant alterations. But Mr. Wong's film-building style lends itself to this sort of culturally customized editing, and he says he embraced it. Mr. Wong, whose work as a director/writer includes "Chungking Express" (1994), "In the Mood For Love" (2000), and "2046" (2004), is known for deciding how to arrange the pieces of his films in the editing room, long after the cast and production crew have gone home.

    "There's no script. You don't know the schedule," says Ms. Zhang, known for her roles in Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and Zhang Yimou's "Hero." "Every day before shooting we will get two pages. When we were doing '2046' it was handwriting. Now he's typing."

    The Asian version of "The Grandmaster" is 130 minutes long. The European version that premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February is 122 minutes. The U.S. cut is down to a tight 108 minutes. "I took it as a challenge," Mr. Wong says. "Instead of doing a short version, I wanted to do a new version. I wanted to tell the story in a different way."

    Filming on "The Grandmaster" started in 2009 and consumed 22 months over three years, ending last September. Mr. Wong was inspired when he saw Bruce Lee on a magazine cover in 1997 and later saw a film (then rare, now on YouTube) of an elderly Ip Man displaying some of his moves. Mr. Wong announced his Ip Man project 10 years ago. Meanwhile, action star Donnie Yen has made two films portraying Mr. Ip, and director Herman Yau has made two films about Mr. Ip, nearly turning the martial arts master into a movie superhero. Mr. Wong's only prior martial-arts film, "Ashes of Time" (1994), was a swordsmen-in-ancient-China story about a loss of chivalry. It was produced before the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China, when fears of a break from the past were rife. Mr. Wong came to see "The Grandmaster" as another way to examine how traditions are passed down, or sometimes lost, in an age when China is aggressively modernizing.

    The fight scenes remain mostly the same, stylized but with real thump, less ethereal than those in "Crouching Tiger." Much else in "The Grandmaster" has been rearranged for American viewers. Ancillary characters are diminished. Subtitles are tweaked to streamline the plot, which involves rivalries vying to replace an old grandmaster, their coming together during the Japanese occupation that began in the late 1930s, and a romance.

    "We were able to replace some of the scenes, specifically in relation to the historical context, with clear and concise captions and narration to help the audience understand the challenges faced between North and South, and especially during the Japanese invasion, " Mr. Wong says. Historical exposition near the beginning of the Chinese version is excised and relegated to a flashback near the end.

    "The first 30 minutes of the film are about the old grandmaster, before his retirement, coming to the South. He's going to offer a chance to a local fighter," Mr. Wong explains, laying out a story line he hopes Americans can sink their teeth into. "He's almost like Apollo Creed in 'Rocky.' "
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
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    A lot of good buzz

    I'll have some comments on the screener later today, after I get a few things off my desk.
    Wong Kar Wai's 'The Grandmaster': an exile story told through Kung Fu

    Chinese director Kar Wai Wong poses for a portrait while promoting his upcoming movie ''The Grandmaster'' in Los Angeles, California in this July 23, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

    By Eric Kelsey
    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif | Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:03pm EDT

    (Reuters) - It was a black-and-white home movie of an old man, diminutive and cancer-stricken, performing Chinese martial arts techniques in a Hong Kong apartment that spurred director Wong Kar Wai to make his latest film, the Kung Fu epic "The Grandmaster."

    Wong, best known as an auteur of pensive and brooding urban dramas "Chungking Express" and "In the Mood for Love," said he was deeply puzzled by the intentions behind the homemade film of Kung Fu master Ip Man, made days before his death in 1972.

    "I keep asking myself why he wanted to do it and much later I realized that there's a saying in Chinese martial arts that's like 'to keep the fire burning,'" Wong, 57, told Reuters.

    "So what I think he intended to do is to do this: he wanted to preserve his technique so it can be shared and taught to future generations," the director added.

    "The Grandmaster," in U.S. theaters on Friday, is Wong's attempt at sharing that legacy, telling the story of Ip - the trainer of Kung Fu film icon Bruce Lee - as a man whose calling as one of China's martial arts masters was taken from him by the upheaval of World War 2.

    Starring longtime Wong collaborator Tony Leung as Ip, the film is divided into three parts that span the Kung Fu master's adulthood in 1930s southern China and his exile in Hong Kong following the Chinese revolution in 1949.

    The story of Ip, who was born in Foshan, China, in 1893, has also experienced a revival in recent years with a 2008 biopic and a TV miniseries broadcast earlier this year in Hong Kong, China and other Asian countries.

    But Wong said he wanted to differentiate his film, which was released in parts of Asia and Europe earlier this year, from others by conveying technical authenticity, specifically the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu.

    "I wanted to make a film about Chinese martial arts in a different way, to tell you more about what is the value of Chinese martial arts," he said, adding that Leung twice broke his arm while training for the role.

    Other Chinese martial arts in "The Grandmaster" include Baji and Xinjyi, each characterized by swift and powerful handwork.

    FRUSTRATED LOVE AND EXILE

    What defines "The Grandmaster" are Wong's trademark themes of frustrated love and exile, his plot-less and episodic storytelling, and sumptuous cinematography by Philippe Le Sourd.

    The film, Wong's first attempt at a martial arts movie after 1994's box-office flop "Ashes of Time," also writes in a fictional love story between Ip and Gong Er, the daughter of a Kung Fu grandmaster played by Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi.

    "It's so physical and there's an animal quality in it," Wong said about the first sparring match between Ip and Gong, after which Gong pursues him by exchanging letters.

    "During that part (the fight), it's like two beautiful animals fighting each other. I think that tells a bit more about this relationship than just a normal romantic story," he said.

    Both of the characters are uprooted by the Japanese invasion of China, which began in 1937, and end up reuniting in Hong Kong as refugees in the 1950s, their families in China now dead.

    "Gong Er is in a way a symbol of a time that he (Ip) wants to go back to. It's almost like a lost paradise," Wong said.

    Their reunion in Hong Kong, to which Wong moved from Shanghai at age 5, punctuates the film's legacy theme amid its masses of dislocated people.

    "Hong Kong is a place for all these immigrants after the war," Wong said. "They're coming from all parts of China: north and south, and they come in all walks of life: businessmen, martial artists, intellectuals, politicians."

    Wong said he is able to feel this sense of exile handed down from past generations and how they struggled to adapt while also trying to preserve their former life.

    "And this film, actually, we trace back even more to see what is the time before Hong Kong, where they came from, what is their life. And you can feel this sense of loss when you compare these two periods," the director said.

    (Refile to fix typo in Beverly Hills in dateline)

    (Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Ken Wills)
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA.
    Posts
    1,162
    Sold me...gonna see it for sure. Don't know if you've seen the Chinese version of Dangerous Liaisons with Zhang Ziyi but she was outstanding in it and the flick was better than the American version.
    "if its ok for shaolin wuseng to break his vow then its ok for me to sneak behind your house at 3 in the morning and bang your dog if buddha is in your heart then its ok"-Bawang

    "I get what you have said in the past, but we are not intuitive fighters. As instinctive fighters, we can chuck spears and claw and bite. We are not instinctively god at punching or kicking."-Drake

    "Princess? LMAO hammer you are such a pr^t"-Frost

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