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2007 Dec 4 Tuesday's Movie Round Up


The fact that it’s a quiet week on the foreign movie front has less to do with the writer's strike in Hollywood and more to do with the beginning of China's Hesui Pian season (films released to take advantage of the Christmas/Spring Festival bonanza). The relatively short window given to huge Hollywood blockbusters like The Bourne Ultimatum and Die Hard 4 has been closed in order to give some local content a chance to make a few kuai at the box office. Keep reading for quick recap of the films to see around town this week and where and when to catch them.

Crossed Lines (Mingyun Hujiao Zhuanyi - 命运呼叫转移)

Despite the fact that this cheesy comedy can only manage a ranking of 5.3 out of 10 on the Chinese equivalent of IMDB, the films producers – and their media friends – are trumpeting the film's success at the box office. Reports claim that the film has taken in RMB 18,000,000 across the country in its first week – knocking the other Chinese contenders (Lost in Beijing and Phoenix) out of the water in the early battle (we’re still waiting for Peter Chan's Warlords and Feng Xiaogang's Assembly to hit screens in mid-late December) for profits. These figures should be taken with a grain of salt, as China does not currently publish official box office rankings and we have no idea where these stats come from. The film is a sequel to last year's similarly titled Aiqing Hujiao Zhuanyi (爱情呼叫转移) and relies on the popularity of leading man Ge You for its audience pull. No criticism in English available, but you can take a peek at the trailer here.

London in Beijing

The London Film Week begins today and will run through to Dec 23. A visiting group of directors and film insiders including Stephen Frears (whose film The Queen was released in China earlier this year), Lynda Myles (the producer of The Commitments) and Andrew Macdonald (the producer of 28 Days Later) will come to Beijing as part of the exhibition. The highlight for this week is a showing of The Queen at which director Stephen Frears will be present to take questions from the audience (China Film Archives on Dec 5, 7pm). Keep an eye on this site for updates about the program and screening times. 7pm. China Film Archive (6225 4422 ext 1214)

New Beijing International Movie Festival

The lineup for the festival has been finalized and the website updated, so those of you wanting to check out some quality independent cinema this yuletide can head over to venues like Club Obiwan, Yugongyishan and D-22 to lap it up.

Films Around Town

Lost in Beijing

There was a time when we thought we’d never get to see Lost in Beijing at the cinema, but after extensive cuts to the film it’s finally on release throughout Beijing. The story focuses on a young couple that moves to Beijing to seek work, but economic pressures and a sexual assault put huge pressure on their relationship. To check out what others thought of the film you can click here or view the trailer here.

Lust, Caution

Outlasting competition from the likes of The Bourne Ultimatum and Live Free, Die Hard and still going strong, Lust, Caution is showing around town. You many not be able to see all the good parts, but it’s still worth checking out Ang Lee’s thriller on the big screen. There are also rumors that there are plans to make a TV series based on the film. We’ll keep you posted on that one. To check out what others thought of the film you can click here or view the trailer here.

Blind Mountain

A naïve college graduate is kidnapped and sold into marriage in remote mountain town. Blind Mountain is the most recent in a slew of Chinese movies not ducking away from sensitive subjects. To check out what others thought of the film you can click here or view the trailer here.


I know it’s a cartoon, but I still find the idea of a rat cooking food pretty disgusting. But don’t be put off by my misgivings; it’s a Pixar movie which means it’s a massive favorite with families. To check out what others thought of the film you can click here or view the trailer here.

Screening Times for Films (Blind Mountain, Lost in Beijing and Crossed Lines do not have English subtitles) in Beijing – Tuesday Dec 4

(All times and prices have been taken from today’s Beijing News or this website – it would be a good idea to call and confirm details)

UME International Cineplex
Lust, Caution
Digital Screenings:17:30 20:10 21:40 22:50

Lost in Beijing
18:20 19:15 20:10 22:00 23:10

Crossed Lines
18:20 19:35 20:30 21:05 22:40

Wanda International Cinema
Blind Mountain

Lust, Caution
18:10 19:30 21:00 22:20

Lost in Beijing
17:15 18:05 19:20 20:10 21:25 22:15

Crossed Lines
17:00 17:40 18:20 19:10 19:50 20:30 21:20 22:00

Art Gallery
Changhong Cinema
Lust, Caution
17:40 19:30 20:30

Lost in Beijing
18:50 20:50

Crossed Lines
18:25 20:30
Digital Screenings: 11:05 13:05 15:05 17:05 19:05 21:10

East Gate Cinema
Lust, Caution
18:30 19:30 21:10

Lost in Beijing
17:30 22:10

Crossed Lines
17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00

Xindong'an Cinema
Lost in Beijing
18:20 20:10 22:00

Crossed Lines
19:30 21:00 21:30

Shoudu Shidai Cinema
Lust, Caution
19:00 21:40

Crossed Lines
17:30 18:30 19:30 20:30 21:30

East Fourth Ring Road
Espace France Cinema
Lust, Caution
18:35 19:30 20:30 21:30

Lost in Beijing
18:05 19:50 21:30

Crossed Lines
19:10 21:10

Stellar International Cineplex
Lust, Caution
19:00 20:40 21:50
(Screenings also available with Korean subtitles – call for more info)

Lost in Beijing
19:15 21:15

Crossed Lines
18:15 19:30 20:20 21:35 22:35


Links and Sources:
Mtime: Pingguo (image)

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No Hollywood Movies For 3 Months?

A recent (and quite alarming) article in Variety trumpeted the news that due to escalating political tensions between China and the US, no foreign films would be released in China for the next three months! Let's think about that for a moment. Doesn't it sound a little bit like the Outstanding Golden Domestic Film Exhibition Month (Sep-Oct), where supposedly no foreign films were released throughout China? Well, during that particular "blackout" period, No Reservations, Prey, Shrek the Third, Transformers (IMAX) and Ratatouille were all granted releases. More interestingly, a report from Herald Tribune quotes Zhang Pimin, deputy director-general of China's Film Bureau as saying that foreign films will continue to be released for the rest of 2007 and on into 2008. However, with only a certain number of foreign films granted a release each year, and the snip-happy scissors of the censor waiting to take content out of movies, it is becoming increasingly hard for movies to be granted a release in China, which Will Smith is now finding out (see below).

Friends! The drought is over. After weeks of waiting for that alleged blackout of Hollywood movies to end, they give us … The Pursuit of Happyness … Oh, I guess beggars can’t be choosers. For a complete roundup of what's showing around town this week, keep reading below.

Director Zhang Yuan was released from jail on Saturday after being arrested for alleged drug use on January 9th. According to a Beijing TV news report, Zhang was discovered at his apartment taking ketamine and ice. Hopefully the "Sixth Generation" director, whose movies have performed well at the Venice and Berlin film festivals in the past, will be able to recover from this.

Zhou Xuan Retrospective

If you’ve ever flicked through a pile of "vintage" posters at Panjiayuan, you've probably come across this woman's face.

Zhou Xuan (1920-1957) was known as "golden voice" and reached the peak of her fame in the '30s and 40s. Her smooth and silky voice (which you can listen to here) was the inspiration for Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love, with the film itself being named after one of Zhou Xuan’s songs.

This week the China Film Archives offers a special series of Zhou Xuan films (eight in total) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the star’s tragic and premature death. Visit the CFA website for more details about screening times. In Chinese, no English subtitles. Until Nov 25. RMB 8. After the retrospective is over the CFA will go into hibernation to emerge as a renovated version of itself early in 2008.

For screening times of all the English-language films showing in Beijing today and more movie news ...

What got cut from Lust, Caution?

Lust, Caution opened at Beijing Cinemas last week and today (see screening times below) is your chance to catch the long-awaited Ang Lee film (yes – it has English subtitles) at half price. For those who are wondering just what got cut from the shorter 143 min version being screened at Beijing's cinemas (and no, it’s not just the sex scenes), Roland Soong over at ESWN has provided a partial translation of a recent article on the subject in the Southern Metropolis Daily.

I have a recurring nightmare about being chased around Beijing by Megatron, leader of the Decepticons. He chases me around Nanluogu Xiang, forcing me to duck and weave my way through the hutongs. If only Optimus Prime would come and rescue me … Well, the imaginings that inhabit the dark recesses of my subconscious are soon to become a reality, as Obiwan will be screening a series of short Chinese transformer-style animated films in November as part of the Beijing Film Festival. Of course, the films have nothing to do with the Michael Bay-helmed blockbuster, but it’s still cool to see robots kicking the heck out of each other in a hutong.