Mulan, the old Chinese tale that was made into a Disney movie in 1998, is finally finding its way back home to its original country. Under the direction of Jingle Ma and with Zhao Wei in the leading role, the movie about the female warrior goes up on cinemas starting Friday. Who can resist another epic costume drama from China?!
We guess it´s about time Chinese film makers took back their legendary woman-warrior Hua Mulan from the grip of the American animation giant. The story of Mulan is traced back to a poem told during the Tang Dynasty, around 600 AD, called The Ballad of Mulan.
A-lister Zhao Wei plays the brave Mulan, who joins the army in place of her aging dad. For those who doesn´t yet know the story, it goes like this:
When the country is threatened by invaders, a young girl defends her father by sneaking away from home and dressing up as a man to join an all-male army where she eventually assumes a historically critical role in defending the nation in a time of war.
The making of a feature movie about Mulan has actually been going on for years, with a number of actresses considered for the lead role, including Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi and Liu Yifei. Unconfirmed news have leaked that Zhao was been engaged in horseback and combat training in preparation for the role.
Zhao is best known for her supporting role opposite Stephen Chow in the hilarious martial arts comedy Shaolin Soccer. As an active Mandarin pop singer and actress, Zhao is one of mainland China´s leading female entertainers. She´s had some screen fighting experience in past film and television roles under the action direction of veterans like Corey Yuen and Ching Siu-tung.
Chen Kun (Painted Skin) will portray Mulan´s lover and battalion commander Wen Tai. Child actor Xu Jiao will play the young Mulan and Russian pop singer Vitas will make a cameo.
Director of this romantic drama is Jingle Ma, a prominent Hong Kong cinematographer-turned director with past action credits whose most recent work was Butterfly Lovers, from 2008.
Get a taste of what the new Mulan movie is all about by watching this teaser trailer that was showed at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. If it´s teasing enough and makes you want to know where and when in Shanghai the sword wielding will take place, we suggest you click here.
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
- The Twilight Saga: The New Moon (暮光之城): The supernatural tale of star-crossed lovers continues as the Cullen family flees Forks in order to protect Bella (Kristen Stewart), and the heartbroken high-school senior discovers that vampires aren’t the only creatures in town.
- G-Force (豚鼠特攻队): The story is about a team of trained secret agent guinea pigs that takes on a mission for the US government. A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire, who plans to taking over the world with household appliances.
- 2012: Ever get chills from the Mayan prophecy that predicts the world will end on December 21, 2012? Sony Pictures’ upcoming disaster drama 2012 simulates the catastrophic happenings of the last days of the earth with plenty of epic floods and destruction. The Day after Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich helms. John Cusack and Amanda Peet star. The film boasts a sky-high US$200 million budget and breath-taking special effects. In English with Chinese subtitles.
- District 9: This sci-fi flick delivers an amazing story about extraterrestrials who come to live on Earth. Instead of being hostile attackers, these aliens are actually refugees from space who seek asylum. They get set up in the temporary “home”: District 9 in South Africa. The film’s special effects are jaw-dropping and the alien guns are simply ridiculous. In English with Chinese subtitles.
- Michael Jackson´s This Is It (迈克尔·杰克逊：就是这样): Fans of Michael Jackson: get a glimpse of the King of Pop’s last days with this documentary. Pieced together from more than 100 hours footage of Jackson’s rehearsals of his comeback London concert tour, this highly anticipated film offers you a private look into the late superstar’s life through on-stage and behind-the-scene material. In English with Chinese subtitles.
- Knowing (神秘代码): Nicolas Cage continues his action thriller career in Alex Proyas’ latest production. The plot focuses on elementary school student Caleb and his father John as they discover a string of numbers that match with dates of disasters over the past 50 years, including the numbers of people who died. In Mandarin or English depending on the cinema.
- Astro Boy (阿童木): An origin story set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist, Dr. Tenma, in the image of the son he had lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving man’s expectations, our hero embarks on a journey in search of acceptance, becoming part of a group of rowdy kids led by a girl named Cora, experiencing betrayal, and a netherworld of robot gladiators led by the greedy ring master, Ham Egg…
- Rouge Crocodile (逃亡鳄鱼岛): Pete is an American travel writer on assignment in the Australian outback. While taking a river cruise he finds himself stuck with a collection of interesting characters, including Kate, the local tour guide. When their boat is rammed by something from below, the tour is thrown into disarray and they become stranded on a tiny mud island. As night falls and the tide starts to rise, the group slowly realise they are being stalked by a huge saltwater crocodile, beginning a terrifying struggle for survival in one of the most remote places in the world.
CHINESE LANGUAGE MOVIES
- Mars Baby (火星没事): This is family entertainment, aimed especially at children. Mars Baby is about a boy from Mars who is adopted by a benevolent man on earth. With the name of “OK”, the boy is unbelievably lucky. This is noticed by a greedy businessman who kidnaps the boy to make use of his superpower. The kidnapping opens the door to plenty of humor and action in the film.
- The Robbers/Tang Dynasty Brothers (我的唐朝兄弟): A pair of amoral thieves end up defending a tiny village they initially came to pilfer in “The Robbers,” a rambunctious black comedy in period duds that plays like a Chinese riff on “Seven Samurai.”
- Panda Express (熊猫大侠): In Panda Express, a flying dagger vendor is mistakenly contracted to ship a dancing panda to the capital city.
- My Airhostess Roommate (恋爱前规则): Beautiful stewardess Ranjing meets Otaku Lu Fei after a night out on town and through a series of mishaps, they become roommates in her duplex apartment. And then they fall in love. Adapted from an ultra popular internet novel “Diary of Living with an Airhostess.”
- Stubborn Radish (倔强萝卜): An amateur scientist plans to dig a tunnel to steal back some money from his ex-best friend now worst foe. Starring Huang Bo.
- 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 Warrior and The Wolf (狼灾记, 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.
OTHER LANGUAGE MOVIES
- Shanghai, The Roaring Twenties: This film screening is part of “The Month of the Documentary” by Alliance Francaise de Shanghai, and organised by the French National Centre of Cinematography. The event takes place every year in cultural centres across the globe. Now in its 10th year, Alliance Francaise Shanghai are proud to present the screening of Shanghai, The crazy Years, a film by Oliver Horn about life in 1920’s and 1930’s Shanghai. The documentary uses Chinese archive material, old feature films, period newspapers, police reports etc. to portray the fascinating and intriguing world of old Shanghai. The film reveals facts about the opium trade, the influential gangs that operated in the city etc. This film is a fascinating insight into Shanghai’s intriguing past and not to be missed by anyone interested in Shanghai’s history.
- City On Fire: SubCinema at Dada presents: This classic Hong Kong action thriller shows the early days of Chow Yun-Fat. He stars as an undercover cop, Ko Chow, who is forced to choose between duty and friendship. Helmed by Ringo Lam, this flick earned Chow his second best actor award at the Hong Kong Film Awards and cemented his position in the Hong Kong movie industry. See it with music before and after by DJ Drunk Monk and Deville. In Cantonese with English subtitles.
- Tulpan: On Thursday (26 November) Vienna Café will show a Central Asian film. The award winning Kazakh film Tulpan (2008) takes place in Kazakhstan and portrays the life of a man with too big ears and his pursuit of the only available girl for miles.
- Scandal Makers (非常主播): Head over to watch this ubiquitous Korean romantic comedy featuring Cha Tae-hyeon and Park Bao-young. Cha stars as a show talk presenter whose program gains instant popularity from a single mother’s story. However, Cha’s life is turned upside down when the single mother shows up at his home with her six-year-old son. Language TBD.
- Nepobedimyy (特工008): Chronicles the adventures of Russian special intelligence agent Yegor Kremnyov. It involves fugitive oligarchs, western crime syndicates and top-secret papers. Languages: Russian / English.