Not many new movies showing up in Shanghai this week as it seems, but at least Alliance Francaise offers “a movie – a book” event on Wednesday that sounds tempting. It goes in the footsteps of Marcel Proust, so for literature lovers it should be a mind treat.
The Wednesday screening will be followed by a discussion and an analysis of the director´s choices when bringing a book to the screen, led by Thierry Berthommier, French teacher at the Alliance Française and by Denis Bolusset-Li, French comedian.
The 1984 film, Eine Liebe von Swann (Swann In Love, or Un Amour de Swann) was the german filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff´s ambitious attempt to film a portion of Marcel Proust’s epic novel Remembrance of Things Past.
The movie stars the always so elegant Jeremy Irons in the lead role as Charles Swann:
a Jewish intellectual who has managed to overcome growing anti-Semitism in 19th century France and travels in an elite social circle. But Swann has become obsessed with Odette (Ornella Muti), a courtesan who cares more for money than Swann’s passion for her. In time they marry, but Swann soon realizes his desire for her is based purely on physical lust for someone with whom he has no rapport, or even much affection, and the relationship begins to erode the social acceptance Swann struggled to achieve. Meanwhile, the Baron de Charlus (Alain Delon) finds himself similarly attracted to a young man who does not share his desires.
The film was praised for its production design and the cinematography of Ingmar Bergman collaborator Sven Nykvist. But many also felt the film failed to capture the narrative depth and complexity of Proust’s novel.
Director Volker Schlöndorff won an Oscar as well as the Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival for The Tin Drum (1979), the film version of the novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass. The Berlin-based filmmaker is known for his adaptations of classic literary works, he has made many a book into movies including some critically well-received US productions. Here´s how he sees it:
When I shoot a movie, I want to talk about what upsets me, what´s unique to me. And yet, almost all my movies, even the best, are adaptations of classic novels. Is there any contradiction? Maybe, but it belongs to my life. I have always needed literature, and more precisely, novels. First, to discover myself, then to hide myself. By reading and analyzing other authors´ characters, I had a self-revelation. Thus, by constructing my movies upon classic novels, and not upon my own experiences, I hide from others, while expressing myself.
Seems like its cooking up for an interesting evening, but behold: it will of course all be held in French!
Where: Alliance Française de Shanghai, Hongkou Center, 297 Wusong Lu, 6th floor, salle polyvalente
Starts: Wednesday December 16th, at 7pm
Cover: Free entrance
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.
- The Taking of Pelham 123 (地铁惊魂): Tony Scott directs this remake of the original Palomar Production/Walter Matthau-starring thriller from 1974 with this Columbia Pictures production that pits Denzel Washington and John Turtorro against a group of hijackers, lead by John Travolta, who take over a subway train in order to rake in a hefty ransom. David Koepp (War of the Worlds) is adapting the book by author John Godey.
- 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.
CHINESE LANGUAGE MOVIES
- Bodygards and Assasins (十月圍城): This historical drama features an all-star cast, including action star Donnie Yen and Fan Bingbing. It also happens to mark the screen debut of Super Girl Li Yuchun. Set in the early 20th century in Hong Kong, the plot follows a group of revolutionaries fighting against the British and Qing government to protect Republic of China founder, Sun Yet-san. Director Teddy Chan is reported to have spent almost 10 years masterminding this flick. In Cantonese or Mandarin depending on cinema.
- Amazing Tales: Three Guns (三枪拍案惊奇): This comedy thriller, also known as “A Simple Noodle Story” is Zhang Yimou’s remake of the Coen brothers´ “Blood Simple”. The story begins as a noodle restaurant-owner in the northwest part of ancient China hires a soldier to kill his cheating wife and her new man, a waiter, but the soldier has a plan of his own. Expect heaps of nonsensical humor and a line of A-listers in the cast, including comedian Xiao Shenyang, Zhao Benshan and actor Sun Honglei. Mandarin only
- Storm Warriors (风云Ⅱ): Storm Warriors is a Hong Kong martial arts/wuxia film, produced and directed by the Pang brothers. It is the second live-action film adaptation of screenwriter Ma Wing-Shing’s manhua Fung Wan, following the 1998 film The Storm Riders. Ekin Cheng and Aaron Kwok respectively reprise their roles as Wind and Cloud, who this time find themselves up against Lord Godless (Simon Yam), a ruthless Japanese warlord bent on invading China.The film is the first Chinese language film to be shot in bluescreen.
- The Treasure Hunter (刺陵): Also called Taiwan´s answer to Indiana Jones: In the northwest desert where countless prosperous dynasties have flourish and fallen, there is rumour of a buried treasure of unbelievable riches. A group of mysterious guardians have kept the map to the location of the treasure safe, until a fierce rivalry erupts. A notorious international crime group, The Company hunt down the map keepers and before they manage to secure it, the keeper passes the map to a young chivalrous man Ciao Fei (Jay Chou). Ciao Fei is forced to give up the map to save the live of his mentor’s daughter Lan Ting (Lin Chi Ling). Teaming up with Hua Ding Bang (a famous archaeologist) and Lan Ting they embark on a dangerous journey to recover the map and fight to protect the ancient treasure.
- Mulan (花木兰): 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. 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.
- Happy Running (快乐奔跑): The 90-minute animated fi lm with a theme of “I exercise, I happy” is China´s answer to the Harry Potter saga. A group of vegetable babies embark on an adventure to a mysterious island to vie to be champion of a sports game. They are confronted with new challenges and unexpected situations in life. In Chinese without English subtitles.
- Jump: This comedy follows a girl who pursues her dream as a hip-hop dancing queen, but instead becomes a janitor in a big city dancing school. Produced by Stephen Chow, this flick originally featured Edison Chan as the leading actor, but later the production team re-shot the whole film and replaced Chan with Leon Jay Williams after Chan’s scandal broke out. In Mandarin or Cantonese depending on the cinema.