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16 August 2010

Queen Seon Duk

A long historical drama for TV broadcast, but DVDs are available for the North American market. The drama tells the story of Queen Seon Duk of Kingdom of Silla in the Three Kingdoms Period of Korea. Click here

21 April 2010


The 2009 Chinese version of the legendary Mulan movie are starred by Zhao Wei (Vicki), Chen Kun, Hu Jun and Vitas (a Russian pop singer). Click here

8 April 2010

Three Kingdoms - Resurrection of the Dragon

The 2008 Hong Kong movie are starred by Andy Lau, Sammo Hung and Maggie Q. Click here

16 July 2008


A Hong Kong film introduces the backdrop near the ending Portuguese rule of Macau in 1999. One night, a Macau police officer, Shing, meets a young girl at a bar and spends the night with the girl. Soon, the homeless girl imposes herself upon his apartment and totally interrupts his single life. Later, he finds out the girl is a daughter that he never knew he fathered. His old lover got pregnant but kept the baby instead of going through the agreed abortion. Upon facing this truth, he begins treating the girl, Isabella, as a real daughter. He takes her in his home and helps her steal back the luggage from her ex-landlord. In this new relationship, Isabella delights to destroy his relationships with all his girlfriends, but he still goes with her streets to streets to find her dog. Meanwhile, he is in dire trouble, being one of the accomplices of a smuggling scandal. The Portuguese authority tries to saving his Portuguese colleagues from falling into the hands of the coming Chinese government. Thus, he is leaned to be a fall man in this scandal. Finally this movie tells that Isabella is actually not his daughter but his old friend's.

The movie has good cinematography of the street and country scenes of Macau. The camera uses natural light, even for night shootings. The roles of principal characters are masterfully played by Chapman Lo and talented Isabella Leong. It seems the actress is cut out for the role. The movie has braved to sail into the taboos of incestuous relationship and the difficulty hardship of colonial officers in the turnover of government rule. It does not treat the topics of Eurasians, though it alludes to Isabella's Eurasian features by flashing her childhood image. Despite a few shortcomings in the depth of character portraits, the movie is an excellent, enjoyable masterpiece.

Slide Show/Video

Played by Isabella Leong, Chapman To and Peter Kam.
Directed by Edmond Pang (Pang Hocheung).
Produced by Edmond Pang, Chapman To, Jin Zhongqiang. Executive producers, John Chong, Yang Buting.
Released by Media Asia Films (Hong Kong)/China Film Group (China) in 2006.

[1] Isabella Leong won a number of award nominations - Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards, the Fantasporto and the Hong Kong Film Awards, and an award at Golden Bauhinia Awards for Best New Performer.
[2] The film also won the Silver Berlin award at the Berlin Film Festival for Best Film Music.
[3] Isabella Leong's father, a Portuguese, died when she was very young; later, she and her half-Chinese mother moved from Hong Kong to Macau.

19 December 2006

Chinese Woman under Gestapo

Thumbprint-Chinese Woman under Getsapo
In 2002, the China Central Television (CCTV) produced a war-time drama based on a real story of a young Chinese woman in the Nazi-occupied Belgium. She was studying science in the university when the Germany invaded the Western Europe. The university was closed and the Germans blocked all the seaports so that she could not return to China. She then found employment as a nurse for an immigrant doctor from the Eastern Europe and they sought refuge in a small town close to Brussels. In the ensuing episodes, she and the doctor developed a romance in the harsh lives under the rule of the Gestapo. Quickly, the town folks aided the resistance campaign to fight the Nazi.

Incidentally, a friend of her family was just appointed by the Nazi to be the military governor of Belgium. When the town folks got into the trouble with the Nazi, she ventured to see him to save them from the deportation to labour camps and from execution.

Thumbprint(above)designed by
and for

After the war, the military governor was arrested by the Allies and tried as the principal war criminal in Belgium. Feeling that he had in fact helped the Belgians, she went around appealing to support him.

Several aspects of this drama are notable. First, the leading actress was the only Chinese in the whole cast which included 28 foreign actors and actresses and nearly 2,000 amateurs. Actually, she had to communicate with the other actors without understanding their languages. Then, the behind-screen efforts had the involvement of Belgium staff and Belgian companies in the production. In the Chinese version of the movie, the non-Chinese cast seemed to read the script in Chinese. Finally, the cast and the crew had managed spending only two months to shoot the scenes in Belgium.

The 16-episode TV series was televised in March, 2002 in China. In 2003, the TV5 (France) bought the right of the French version for a period of three years. The long series were broadcast by TV5 and the Belgium government in the Christmas of 2004.

Script: Zhang Yawen and Zhao Dongling
Directors: Huang Jianzhong and Yan Yi
Production: Zhong Yong, Zhou Qi and Cheng Guang
Cast: Jin Ling (Marie Jin) by Xu Qing; Doctor Victor by Antoine Vandenberghe; General Hoffman by Ric Hangue; Marguerite by Sandrine Blanqi
The Real Story
In that period, many young Chinese men and women of different background studied overseas to bring the knowledge to lift China from the poverty. The most prominent political figures include Deng Xiaoping, Premier Chou En-Lai and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek. In this story, the principal character, Madame Qian Xiuling, was born in a family of privilege in the southeast province of Jiangsu.

In 1929, she went to Belgium at the young age of 17. She later obtained a doctorate degree in physical chemistry from the Catholic University of Louvain. In 1935, she married Grichard, a medical student of Russian Greek heritage. Her cousin was a high-ranking officer in the Nationalist army of China and a friend of General Alexander von Falkenhausen, who was a military adviser to Gen. Chiang Kai-Shek until 1938. He was recalled from retirement to the German Army and was appointed the military governor for Belgium and the northern France in1940.

The Belgian government awarded Madame Qian the "Hero of the State" medal and the King and Queen of Belgium also presented her with signed photographs. The citizens of Ecaussinnes named a downtown street in her honour "Ms. Qian Street" to express their thanks.

The 94-year-old Madame Qian had requested the film makers to avoid her real name in the movie.

Update: 20 July 2008 2 Aug 2006, 14 dec 2007)

Movie Reviews: A Chinese television series and a Hong Kong action film

In the recent years, I have been captivated by the enthralling and refreshing Chinese movies, whether they are from Hong Kong, from Taiwan or from China. Most of Chinese films are now, I believe, on par with western counterparts in all respects, such as the cinematography, the directorship, or the acting. They are also closing the technology gap of special effects, probably except the area of computer simulation. There is also a fast emerging trend of the globalization of film industry in the Asia. It seems that joint-ventures are now commonplace among film makers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japanese. Actors and actresses over there often break the cultural and the national boundaries. In China, the industry traditionally concentrates their efforts on the domestic market of the immense population, although there are some more international cooperations of movie making.

Yu Guan Yin (Jade Goddess of Mercy)

The 2003 feature of twenty-seven series (Jade Guan-Yin/Jade Goddess of Mercy) is directed by Hai Yan. The story starts when a young Chinese man broke his marriage plan with a rich Canadian Chinese. The next scene shows the young man flying home from Vancouver back to his apartment in Beijing. The intrigue unfolds the past relationship of the young man, a university graduate, with a poor, beautiful cleaning worker. The man returned to China to find the girl who ran off from his apartment and their relationship. Then the story reveals that this mysterious girl was an ex-policewoman of the anti-drug squad in the Yunnan province. The scene then moves several thousand miles from Beijing to a small town in southern Yunnan close to the triangle drug zone bordered by China, Burma and Laos. The story continues to narrate the love between the young graduate and the policewoman grew with their lives entwined with personal problems, daily obstacles, stalking by criminals and deaths.

The movie tells more than a love story. It succeeds to portray the rapid social changes of a centralized and regimented country to a free and kinder culture. From the buried feelings, the clash of ideologies burst out between the older, revolutionary servicemen and the younger modern, selfish generation. It also informs us about the Chinese justice system, the pay-for-yourself healthy system, and the other changes. From my short stays with my grandparents and during my assignment of an engineering company, my knowledge of China should need an update.

Original and screenplay written by Hai Yan
Directed by Ding Hei
Executive Producers: Hai Yan and the others
Cast: Sun Li, Dong Da Wei, ...

The 27 series was filmed in several cities in China, except some scenes in Vancouver and Toronto, China assisted by Canadian crews. Typically, a larger production is a consortium of companies. This series is jointly produced by Hairun Television Ltd, Guangdong Yuan Video-Audio Ltd, Beijing Forbidden City Film Enterprise Ltd, and Sichuan Television.

The series is distributed overseas by Beauty Culture Communication. The sound track is in Mandarin with Chinese subtitles only.

[1] The 26 year-old lead actress was born in Shangha. Starting to learn dancing at 5, Sun Li performed in United Kingdom, United States, Japan and other countries when she was 11 in a Chinese children tour. In 1997, she was enlisted in the army as a dancer and performed in the Shanghai Garrison troupe. In 2004, she was named Kindness Ambassor for Small Animal Protection Because of the success of this TV Drama, Sun Li (Betty Sun) has become one of the most popular TV actress in China. Since her debut, she had lead roles in: TV series - an army life story of "Happiness as Flowers" and a gangster drama of "Shang Hai Bund (or Shanghai Grand)", and in her first action film in "Fearless" with star Jet Li.
[2] Hai Yan's novel "Jade Guan Yin" has previously showed on the cinema screen. That movie called "Jade Goddess of Mercy" was cast by Zhao Wei, the co-actress in the film "So Close" below. Zhao Wei was named one of the most popular actresses in China in 2006.


So Close

The other movie is the entertaining "So Close" that was directed by Cory Yuen in 2002. In the make-believe story, two sisters of hire-to-kill assassins ran into a policewoman with whom they performed an acrobatic hand fighting scene. In the end the policewoman helped the younger sister to track down the killers of the older sister. The touching part of the movie is the description of the sisterly love of two loners and the unnatural camaraderie of two rival women.

The roles are played by three talented actresses - Shu Qi, Zhao Wei and Karen Mok. Shu Qi is a Taiwanese actress of international recognition in the Cannes Film Festival; in May 2007, she was the honour to declare the official opening of the festival. Zhao Wei is a Chinese actress who graduated from Beijing Film Academy and now lives in Taiwan. Karen Mok is from Hong Kong. Her real name is Karen Joy Morris and she has a mixed heritage of Welsh, Chinese, German and Persian. She has studied in Europe, including London; Mok and Zhao are also pop-singers. Shu Qi has an unusual transplant from soft-adult movies to the big screen films of international distribution; she is also a well-known model.

The film is produced by Eastern (HK) Film Production with English subtitles.

Images of Shu Qi

Model Marie Claire Magazine