Shen Bing Xiao Jiang, new manhua movie from Tom Wong
This week Shanghai Cinemas are pleasing us with a new movie from the man called “Hong Kong’s King of Comics”, Wong Yuk-Long, also known as Tom Wong. Therefore, we’ll use this week’s Cinematheque as an excuse to go through some 漫画 (manhua) history.
Manhua refers to comics in Chinese. Most manhua so far has been published in Hong Kong and Taiwan, mostly due to greater access to artistic freedom of expression and also because of closer international ties with Japan. Manhua often includes Chinese translations of Japanese manga.
Some manhua history, from it´s wikipedia page:
In 1925, the political work of Feng Zi-Kai published a collection entitled “Zi-Kai Manhua” in “Wenxue Zhoubao” (Literature Weekly). While the term “Manhua” had existed before when borrowed from Japanese “manga”, this particular publication took precedence over the many other description of cartoon arts that came before it. As a result the term manhua became associated with Chinese comic materials. The Chinese characters for manhua are identical for those used in Japanese manga and Korean manhwa.
Modern Chinese-style manhua characteristics is credited to the breakthrough art work of the 1982 “Chinese Hero”. It had innovative, realistic drawings with details resembling real people. Most manhua work from the 1800s to the 1930s contained characters that appeared serious. The cultural openness in Hong Kong brought the translation of American Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Pinocchio in the 1950s, demonstrating western influence in local work like “Little Angeli” in 1954. The influx of translated Japanese manga of the 60s, as well as televised anime in Hong Kong also made a significant impression.
Tony Wong Yuk-Long is a Hong Kong based manhua artist, publisher and actor who debuted in comics when he was thirteen years old, publishing his work in magazine Epoch Comic Weekly. Later on in 1971, he started his own company, “Yuk-long Picture Book Company”. He produced comics like ‘Little Vagabond’, ‘The Son of Ultraman’ and ‘Solar Lord’, but his best known kung fu manga, ‘Little Rascals’ (‘Siu Lau-man, later renamed ‘Lung Fu Mun’, ‘Oriental Heroes’), was created in 1972.
Other well known creations are Weapons of the Gods and adaptations of Jin Yong novels such as The Return of the Condor Heroes (and re-titled it as Legendary Couples), Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, and Ode to Gallantry. He provided the art for Batman: Hong Kong, which was written by Doug Moench, and has also occasionally acted in movies, including the film adaptation of his own Oriental Heroes.
For his contribution and influencing a generation of artist in the local industry, he is regarded as the “Godfather of Hong Kong comics” or “Hong Kong’s King of Comics”. Click here to read an interview of Tony Wong.
This weeks movie, showing on Shanghai Cinemas from Thursday on, called Shen Bing Xiao Jiang (神兵小将) is an animated feature based on Wong Yuk Long’s comics series and directed by the comic creator himself.
Thevideo trailer of the movie in question reminds us of old school anime in a quite charming way. Here’s some information of where and when the movie is screened.
Check out what other movies are showing in Shanghai this coming week after the jump. Links lead to info about times and venues.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE MOVIES
- Penelope: Grab your nose for this Hollywood rom-com. James McAvoy teams up with Christina Ricci to unveil a modern day fairytale. Penelope is born with a pig’s snout due to a witch’s curse. To break the curse, she must find true love and realize life’s most important life lesson: “to like herself the way she is.” In Mandarin or English depending on the cinema.
- Up: Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old, has always dreamed of visiting the South American wilderness. One day, he attaches his house to a super-cluster of hydrogen balloons and sets off his adventure with an 8-year-old boy. Brought to you by the creative team behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Cars. In Mandarin or English depending on the cinema.
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra: The elite Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity (read: G.I. Joe) takes on Cobra, an evil organization led by a nefarious arms dealer. The film follows the rise of Cobra and the G.I. Joe, so those new to the series will have an easy time following along. In Mandarin or English depending on the cinema.
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: When Sid’s attempt to adopt three dinosaur eggs gets him abducted by their real mother to an underground lost world, his friends attempt to rescue him.
CHINESE LANGUAGE MOVIES
- The Warrior and The Wolf (Lang zai ji): This costume fantasy drama is the latest production by China’s influential director and producer Tian Zhuangzhuang. Set in the Qing Dynasty, the plot follows a warrior and his foreign lover. Their romantic encounters lead to a supernatural event. Japanese star Joe Odagiri, Taiwanese actor Tuo Zonghua and American diva Maggie Q star. Mandarin only.
- Wheat: Award-winning Chinese director He Ping creates a new costume drama featuring Wang Zhiwen, Fan Bingbing, Huang Jue and Wang Ji. The film opened to enthusiastic crowds at this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival and follows the adventures of two army deserters in an entirely female kingdom during the Warring States Period. Mandarin only.
- Copy Cat: In Copy Cat, a guy’s life falls into chaos after he accidentally discovers a bootleg disc factory.
- My Fair Gentleman (窈窕绅士, Yao Tiao Shen Shi): My Fair Gentleman” follows the romantic pursuit of a newly rich businessman obsessed with a female entertainer. Through the hilarious quest for a woman he thinks is the love of his life, the vulgar rich man transforms himself, as well as the object of his affection. In the end, he becomes a perfect gentleman.
- Jing Tian Dong Di (惊天动地): Local directors Wang Jia and Shen Dong celebrate the upcoming national holiday with their latest disaster flick. Shot in the earthquake-stricken areas of Sichuan, “Jing Tian Dong Di” recalls the quake by following one of the PLA’s rescue troupes in this fictional retelling. The cast of well-known actors includes Li Youbin, You Yong and Hou Yong. Mandarin only.
- The Women in War: The Six Sisters from Yimeng (Zhan Zheng Zhong De Nü Ren – Yi Meng Liu Jie Mei): In 1947, six women volunteer to prepare rations and supplies for the communist soldiers, who are fighting a bloody battle against the Nationalist government troops. Mandarin.
- Royal Tattoo (Huang Jia Ci Qing, 皇家刺青): The film is a costume kung fu comedy with a mix of a Chinese version of Prison Break. It´s a humorous reinterpretation of a classic plot about a Qing Dynasty royal secret treasure and tattoo treasure map.
- The Message (Feng Sheng, 风声): “The Message” is set in Japanese-occupied China in 1942. It tells a story of a Japanese spy chief trying to identify a Chinese agent from a group of suspects. Produced by China’s leading entertainment producer Huayi Brothers, the film is the company’s tribute to the 60th birthday of the People’s Republic of China. Riding the popularity of the TV series and play of the same name, this espionage flick features Zhou Xun, Zhang Hanyu and Li Bingbing. Mandarin only.
- The King of Milu Deer (麋鹿王): Claiming to be China’s first animated 3D blockbuster, The King of Milu Deer is about a deer-turned girl and her lover, who together try to save the Milu deer species from villains. Featuring the voices of such stars as Ge You and Li Yang.
- Prequel of the Monkey King (齐天大圣－前传): After two and a half years in production, “Prequel of the Monkey King,” has hit the big screen. The film was produced by country’s best minds in the field of 3D animation. The prequel is loosely based on the first five acts of, Journey to the West, by the famous Qing Dynasty writer Wu Cheng’en. Apart from a few imaginative touches, the film grabs the most attention with its use of 3D technology. The film’s characters, a dragon king and a little monkey, appears to leap off the screen.
- Snake Curse (She Zhou, 蛇咒): For the lovers of bad cinema everywhere, here comes what looks like one supremely cheesy Chinese B-Horror, titled Snake Curse. Apparently the film was originally released back in around 1995, but for some reason it´s now set to get a second theatrical release in mainland China. The plotrevolves around a mad scientists experiments in blending human and snake DNA – the result being a Medusa like femme fatale, who goes on a killing spree. A berserk Chinese killer snake monster movie that promises to deliver maximum amounts of kung fu, snake fu, snake woman fu, and Gordon Liu.
- Tian An Men (天安门): Prestigious director Ye Daying creates a history drama to celebrate the 60th anniversary of China. As the last film of Ye’s revolutionary trilogy, Tian An Men features Guo Keyu, Xu Xiaoli and Pan Yueming. The film is set during the Tian An Men’s restoration in 1949 for the Founding Ceremony of P.R.C. Mandarin only.
- Ke ai de Zhong Guo (可爱的中国): A bio-pic of Fang Zhimi, a senior Chinese Red Army leader executed by the Nationalist government in 1934.
- The Foundation Of A Republic (建国大业): This offering from China Film Board chairman Sanping Han tells the story of the founding of the PRC, in celebration of the country’s birthday. Chinese megacelebrities Chen Kaige , Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Chen Daoming and Ge You star. Mandarin only.
- Cow (斗牛): In the winter of 1940, Japanese soldiers are marching toward a small village. The Chinese troops are hurrying to evacuate and villager Niu Er is asked to take care of a precious Dutch diary cow, which supplies milk for wounded soldiers. He takes the job only after a village master offers a marriage with the master’s daughter, Jiu Er. To protect the cow and sometimes the life of his own, Niu Er has to outsmart the Japanese, starving refugees, bandits and a greedy quack doctor.
- Eternal Beloved (爱有来生): Yu Feihong is now back in the spotlight with her directorial debut Eternal Beloved. This ghost story revolves around an ancient gingko tree and tells a tragic romantic tale that crosses between the dead and the living.Co-starring in the movie is Yu Feihong herself and actor Duan Yihong.
- Legend of The Tang Empire (大明宫): As the royal palace of the prosperous Tang Dynasty, Da Ming Gong is a magnificent example of the era’s architecture. This epic historical movie traces the legendary events that are said to have taken place in the grand palace. Take a look at the extravagant lifestyle of the Tang imperial family in this movie directed by Jin Tiemu. Mandarin only.
- Gasp (气喘吁吁): American entertainer John Savage pairs up with China’s well-liked actor Ge You for one more time. They star as two desperate middle-age entrepreneurs who try to impress each other by puffing up themselves. Expect to see Howie B composing the music and Norwegian Aasulf Wolf Austad rocking the camera. U.S-educated director Zheng Zhong draws the best of both cultures into this comedy drama. In Mandarin with occasional English dialogue.
- Empire of Silver (白银帝国): This Shanghai International Film Festival winner features Aaron Kwok, Hao Lei and Zhang Tieling. Directed by Christina Yao, the film is set in the late Qing Dynasty and follows a carefree young man who is the reluctant heir to his father’s banking empire. Mandarin only.
- One night in supermarket (夜店): A one-thing-leads-to-another comedy of misadventure entirely set in the pic’s title location. It’s the wee hours at Wang Wang Supermarket, where nerdy stockroom boy Li Junwei is on duty with – and only has eyes for – Tang Xiaolian. But the quiet soon lapses into chaos when balding, pop-eyed He Sanshui comes in with two doofus heavies and demands to speak to the mart’s boss lady, Wang Sufen.
OTHER LANGUAGE MOVIES
- Haeundae: Located on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, Haeundae-gu of the city Busan draws one million visitors to its beaches every year. This 2009 South Korean film has been billed as South Korea’s first disaster film, depicting the tsunami catastrophy of 2004. Haeundae is directed by Yoon Je-kyoon and stars Sol Kyung-gu, Ha Ji-won, Park Joong-hoon and Uhm Jung-hwa.