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abcdefg

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abcdefg

This is a patriotic adventure story with stunning scenery. Much of it was filmed in Tibet. It's the story of climbing Mt. Everest (Qomolangma Feng 珠穆朗玛峰) first in 1960 when there was no photographic proof (the camera was lost) and again in 1975 when it was properly documented. Famous leading actors (吴京 as the male lead and 章子怡 as his lady love.) Directed Tsui Hark 徐克, one of the Gods of Hong Kong action movies together with Daniel Lee  李仁港, who is also no slouch in that genre.

 

I caught it this afternoon, near the end of its run. It opened just before the recent Golden Week holiday and pulled in large audiences all over China. Lots of flag waving and feel-good national sentiment. 

 

This is not some ambiguous art movie. The directors and the lush musical score let you know how you should feel at each step along the way. It's easy to go along with the program because it's all convincingly done. Everyone loves a challenge, and this movie showed brave people who wouldn't quit despite long odds.

 

A little bit of medical foolishness, but not more than was to be expected. At one point the star is crushed in an avalanche and apparently suffers cardiac arrest. After several rousing minutes of CPR, his heart starts and he soldiers on, more or less unfazed. 

 

Jackie Chan 成龙 even makes a cameo performance at the end. It was well worth the price of a ticket to see this film on the big screen.  

 

Here's a link to several trailers: https://www.soku.com/detail/show/XMTc0MjQ1Mg==?siteId=1 

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roddy

Totally failed to recognise Zhang Ziyi in the trailer! Does look good - think I saw another trailer for it a few weeks ago. 

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abcdefg

Did nobody see this film? I think it was a global release; the export versions doubtless had English subtitles. I saw a 中国大陆 version for domestic audiences that was without. 

 

Maybe nobody except me goes to the cinema anymore to watch new-release movies on the big screen. That can't be true, because I read about box office numbers from these large-budget, "blockbuster" films: How much they earned on the opening weekend and such. 

 

Three major films were released just before Golden Week in late September. "Climbers" was one, "The Captain" 中国机长 was another, and the third was about the founding of the CCP 70 years ago, featuring Mao Zedong's rise to power. 

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imron
26 minutes ago, abcdefg said:

Did nobody see this film?

I didn't (yet).

 

26 minutes ago, abcdefg said:

I think it was a global release;

Even so, a foreign language film is unlikely to get a major theater release unless there is significant praise for the film in other circles, see for example something like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (used as comparison because it's also Chinese language and also starts Zhang Ziyi, and saw wide cinematic release thanks to 10 Oscar nominations - of which it ended up winning 4).

 

From the preview, this movie seems more like a "rah, rah, go China go" movie, aimed to stoke up national pride, so I think its international appeal will be rather limited.

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abcdefg
3 hours ago, imron said:

From the preview, this movie seems more like a "rah, rah, go China go" movie, aimed to stoke up national pride, so I think its international appeal will be rather limited.

 

It certainly does have that "cheerleader" vibe. Lately, the last year or so, lots and lots of TV and movies have had that patriotic tone. I don't know if it's just a matter of the 70th Anniversary of the Republic, or if it is to become the "new norm." 

 

This film is not the equal of "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" -- definitely a great movie and a great role for Zhang Ziyi. 

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imron
54 minutes ago, abcdefg said:

or if it is to become the "new norm." 

It's become the new norm - even in Hollywood movies thanks to Chinese funding.

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realmayo
On 10/28/2019 at 12:25 PM, abcdefg said:

Ah Zhang Ziyi -- I first was smitten by her in "House of Flying Daggers."

 

A jolly way to wind up friends in China in the past was to express admiration for her abilities in front of a camera - for some reason it irritated lots of people on the Mainland that westerners liked her in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, I couldn't ever understand quite why, perhaps because it was a Taiwan/western movie and not a PRC one.

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imron
1 hour ago, realmayo said:

I couldn't ever understand quite why,

From the people I spoke with about this, they say they grew up on Wuxia films and tv shows, and they were unimpressed with what CTHD had to offer (not just Zhang Ziyi's performance, but the entire film in general).

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roddy

I wonder if it was how it was marketed. It was basically two love stories with fight scenes. 

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feihong
On 10/29/2019 at 6:42 PM, abcdefg said:

 

Did nobody see this film? I think it was a global release; the export versions doubtless had English subtitles. I saw a 中国大陆 version for domestic audiences that was without. 

 

If it’s not an art film, then it might get shown at some urban AMC theaters in the US (they are owned by Wanda, a huge Chinese conglomerate). But they are pretty poorly promoted, I only see other Chinese people at these showings, and they rarely run for more than a week. Because only certain theaters show Chinese blockbusters, the only hope for a Chinese movie to get wider viewership is to get picked up by Netflix, such as what happened with Wandering Earth.

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abcdefg

Thanks, I understand now. It definitely was not an art film. 

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roddy

Yeah, looks like it's showing at one cinema in the entire UK. I'll watch it if it pops up on Netflix or Amazon, and may even go the trouble of downloading it, but the average cinemagoer has no chance of stumbling across it. 

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abcdefg

This got me thinking about how China is more and more separate and closed off from the rest of the world. When I first came here it seemed as though the barriers were coming down. But now they are getting taller. There is China Internet and Rest-of-the-World Internet. There is China Cinema and Rest-of-the-World Cinema. And so on.  

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Lu
3 hours ago, abcdefg said:

There is China Internet and Rest-of-the-World Internet. There is China Cinema and Rest-of-the-World Cinema.

To be fair, this has been the case as long as China has had commercial cinema. Chinese arthouse movies would show in Western arthouse cinemas where the Western arthouse movie audience would see them, but the vast majority of Stephen Chow movies has never seen the inside of a Western cinema either. And this goes for pretty much all non-American blockbusters in pretty much all Western countries: we don't see the Russian crowdpleasers, the Bollywood spectacles, whatever people in South America are watching (I don't even know). If you say it should be different and we should all be watching each others' movies, I completely agree. But this is not a China problem.

 

Same for the internet, which would be divided by language even without a Great Firewall. When was the last time you visited GeenStijl, for example? Major, major news- and muck-website here in the Netherlands, totally irrelevant for almost everyone outside of the Netherlands.

 

Does China have an insulated intranet and is this a problem? Yes. But not in that way.

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feihong
3 hours ago, abcdefg said:

This got me thinking about how China is more and more separate and closed off from the rest of the world. When I first came here it seemed as though the barriers were coming down. But now they are getting taller. There is China Internet and Rest-of-the-World Internet. There is China Cinema and Rest-of-the-World Cinema. And so on.  

I would say the barriers are coming down, but not in the way you were hoping for. For example, China is exporting its media censorship to the US now. And the Great Firewall has become more porous, so that young Chinese netizens can engage in Twitter wars with their western counterparts: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/08/26/china-is-sending-keyboard-warriors-over-the-firewall/

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