Ann Hui (I) - News Poster


Our Time Will Come (2017) by Ann Hui

Veteran director of the Hong Kong New Wave, Ann Hui is back this year with “Our Time Will Come,” a movie that retains all the trademark comfort elements that made her a legend. Produced and distributed by Chinese Bona Film Group this WWII drama movie arrives just in time for the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China even if Ann Hui’s work is far from celebratory, and it was presented as a world premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival. It is the opening movie of the Five Flavours Film Festival 2017.

Our Time Will Come” will screen at at the 9th International Chinese Film Festival, that will be on 23 February to 28, 2018.

Our Time Will Come” is set in Hong Kong in 1942, during the Japanese occupation and it immediately introduces a spy thriller atmosphere, opening in a secret meeting where a group of activists is planning
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Hong Kong Film Awards: 'Our Time Will Come' Leads Nominations With 11

Hong Kong Film Awards: 'Our Time Will Come' Leads Nominations With 11
Director Ann Hui’s WWII-set drama Our Time Will Come led the 37th Hong Kong Film Awards nominations, which were unveiled Tuesday, with 11 nods, while actioner Paradox and Love Education, an exploration of romance, followed with nine each.

The Hui-helmed Our Time Will Come revolves around the underground resistance in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation in the 1940s. It got nominations for best film, director, screenplay, actress for Zhou Xun, supporting actress for Deanie Ip, cinematography, film editing, art direction, costume and makeup design, original film score, and sound design. Hui is a five-time winner of the best director award,...
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‘Our Time Will Come’ Wins Hong Kong Critics Prize

‘Our Time Will Come’ Wins Hong Kong Critics Prize
Ann Hui’s “Our Time Will Come” was named as the best local film of 2017 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society. The film charts the resistance efforts of indigenous Leftist guerrillas during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong between 1941 and 1944.

The critics association announced that Sylvia Chang is to receive the prize as best director, for “Love Education.” The film premiered as the closing night movie at the Busan film festival.

God of War,” a war epic directed by Gordon Chan, was named the winner in two categories. It won for best screenplay and for best actor (Japan’s Yasuaki Kurata). Stephy Tang won the best actress award for “The Empty Hands,” a martial arts drama.

Our Time Will Come” was produced with the backing of mainland Chinese firm Bona Film Group and was considered sufficiently politically correct to be selected as the opening title for the Shanghai International Film Festival in June last year. However
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The 10 Best Chinese Language Movies of 2017 (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan)

2017 has been a very interesting year for the Chinese-speaking world (allow me not to dwell on the politics of the matter). The collaborations between China and Hong Kong have resulted in a number of blockbusters, Chinese filmmakers continue to produce unique (original if you prefer) films, Hong Kong is trying to reinstate its former status with the help of governmental initiatives, while Taiwan keeps producing masterpieces of all genres.

Here are ten of the best samples of the aforementioned, with a focus in diversity. Some of the films premiered in 2016, but since they circulated mostly in 2017, I took the liberty of including them. (By clicking on the titles, you can read the full reviews)

10. Wolf Warrior 2 (Wu Jing, China)

Granted, this does feel more of the same of what came before it, but the film’s sense of fun overall makes it a more than worthy effort overall. On the whole,
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'Legend Of The Demon Cat' leads Asian Film Awards nominations

Angels Wear White, Youth and The Third Murder also score multiple nods.

Source: 21st Century Shengkai Film

‘Legend Of The Demon Cat’

Chen Kaige’s lavish period drama Legend Of The Demon Cat racked up the most nominations for this year’s Asian Film Awards, with six nods in all, including best director.

The co-production between Hong Kong, China and Japan was also nominated for best supporting actress (Kitty Zhang Yuqi), cinematography, costume design, production design and visual effects. However, the film wasn’t nominated in the best film category.

Three films scored five nods apiece and were all nominated for best film – Vivian Qu’s Angels Wear White and Feng Xiaogang’s Youth, both from mainland China, and Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Third Murder.

Rounding out the best film category are Newton from Indian filmmaker Amit V. Masurkar and The Day After from South Korea’s Hong Sangsoo, which both racked
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‘Demon Cat’ Leads Chinese-Dominated Asian Film Awards Nominations

Nominations for the 12th edition of the Asian Film Awards were dominated by Chinese-language films. “The Legend of the Demon Cat” narrowly led the field with nominations in six categories.

A larger-than-life historical fantasy that was released shortly before Christmas, “Demon Cat” was shut out of the best picture category but earned Chen Kaige a best director nomination. The nominations were announced Thursday in Hong Kong.

The prizes will be decided by a jury headed by veteran action director and stunt coordinator Tony Ching Siu-tung. They will be presented at a ceremony at the Venetian Hotel in Macau on March 17, two days before the beginning of the FilMart convention and the Hong Kong Film Festival.

Four films garnered five nominations each. “Angels Wear White,” a topical drama on sexual abuse, will compete for best picture and earned Vivian Qu a nomination for best new director. Mainland Chinese veteran Feng Xiaogang earned a best director nomination and saw
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Contemporary Chinese Cinema: The Year So Far

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Contemporary Chinese Cinema is a column devoted to exploring contemporary Chinese-language cinema primarily as it is revealed to us at North American multiplexes.Over the last few years it has become increasingly easy to see mainstream Asian films in North America at the same time they are released in their home countries. Thanks to partnerships with small, international distributors, the major multiplex chains (AMC, Cinemark, Regal) have devoted a handful of screens in major markets to showing new releases from India, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Most of these titles fall under the radar of both critics and audiences outside the diasporic communities to which they are targeted. They play for a week or two and then disappear, outside of a handful of breakout titles. Last year Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid made headlines for its high per-screen averages in North America as it shattered domestic box office records in China.
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Rushes. George A. Romero & Martin Landau, Choreographing Rape, Latest Trailers

Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveries. For daily updates follow us @NotebookMUBI.NEWSOver the weekend we lost two greats: Filmmaker George A. Romero, best known for inventing the modern version of all things zombie, and actor Martin Landau. Patton Oswalt has pointed out that a 19-year-old Romero worked as a pageboy on North by Northwest, Landau's second movie.The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has again added more names to its membership, and this latest batch includes even more unexpected additions from the world of international art cinema, including directors Pedro Costa, Lav Diaz, Ann Hui, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Kira Muratova, Johnnie To and Athina Rachel Tsangari.Did you see that the lineup of the Locarno Film Festival has been announced? With a huge retrospective devoted to Cat People director Jacques Tourneur and a competition including new films by Wang Bing, F.J. Ossang, Ben Russell,
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Interview with Yuhang Ho: We wanted the fights to be realistic and nothing too flashy

Yuhang Ho was trained as an engineer but went into film-making due to his love for vintage films. He began his career by shooting commercials in the mid 1990’s. In 2000, he co-directed a Malaysian documentary “Semangat Insan: Masters of Tradition” highlighting the need to preserve Malaysia’s traditional art forms. He then made his feature film directorial debut in the 2003 film “Min”.He went to receive international recognition for his film “Rain Dogs”, won the New Talent Award at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival 2006 and also named best director at the Festival of the Three Continents in 2006.

His 2009 revenge drama “At The End of Daybreak” revived the career of the veteran actress Kara Hui, who was an action star of the Shaw Brothers era. “Daybreak” earned her seven best actress awards. She has since gone on to star in “Wu Xia,” “Rigor Mortis,” and “The Midnight After.”

On the
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China Box Office: ‘Despicable Me 3’ Opening Is Franchise High

China Box Office: ‘Despicable Me 3’ Opening Is Franchise High
The delayed release of “Despicable Me 3” comfortably dominated the box office in China over the weekend, running off with $63.5 million according to Ent Group, a Chinese box office tracker, and $66 million according to Universal.

Those numbers were a record opening for an animated film in China and the fifth-biggest opening weekend of any film in China this year. It was also the biggest animated opening in China for IMAX. The film earned $4 million of its weekend total from 417 IMAX screens in China.

The score was achieved from 97,000 screenings Friday and 115,000 on each of Saturday and Sunday.

The weekend total is also bigger than the lifetime score achieved by “Despicable Me 2,” which was the first film in the franchise to be released in China.

Second place belonged to the strongest of a large bunch of Chinese-made new releases. Horror franchise movie “The House That Never Dies II” scored $20.8 million in four days, having
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The Academy Continues to Diversify with 774 New Members

Leslie Jones, seen here in “Ghostbusters,” has been invited to join the Academy: Hopper Stone/Columbia Pictures

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, best known as the body behind the Academy Awards, has invited 774 new members to join its ranks — topping last year’s record-setting 683 invitations. This new high reflects the Academy’s commitment to diversifying its organization as well as the films it honors every year at the Oscars.

The new roster continued last year’s large inclusion of international members. The new members represent 57 different countries, comparable to 2016’s 59 nations. As the La Times observes, the new class shows that the Academy “is figuring out what it means to have standards in the first place: namely, by fostering a membership that can genuinely be described as world class.”

While the Academy’s attempt to think globally is admirable, this year’s raw numbers are something of a let down after the 2016 class. Women represent 39 percent of the new class, as compared to last year’s 46 percent. Thirty percent of the new members this year are people of color, while 2016’s class was 41 percent non-white.

In addition, there hasn’t been a significant change in the macro sense. The number of all female Academy members has shifted from 25 percent in 2015 — before the greater push for gender equality and diversity — to 28 percent this year. Similarly, non-white members have only slightly increased from 2015’s eight percent to 2017’s 11 percent. It’s progress, but there’s obviously still a long way to go.

In the directing branch, 18 of the 64 new members are women — about 28 percent. That’s makes for total of 109 female filmmakers in the Academy’s directing branch, so women represent approximately 19 percent of its directors overall. Among the new class are Sharon Maguire (“Bridget Jones’s Diary”), Jocelyn Moorhouse (“The Dressmaker”), Emmanuelle Bercot (“Standing Tall”), Patricia Cardoso (“Real Women Have Curves”), Jessica Hausner (“Amour Fou”), Joanna Hogg (“Archipelago”), Ann Hui (“A Simple Life”), and Cate Shortland (“Berlin Syndrome”).

Kristen Stewart (“Personal Shopper”), Elle Fanning (“The Beguiled”), Leslie Jones (“Ghostbusters”), Janelle Monaé (“Hidden Figures”), Betty White (“The Proposal”), Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), and Sanaa Lathan (“Love & Basketball”) are among the new U.S. members of the Academy’s acting branch. International performers like Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”), Fan Bingbing (“I Am Not Madame Bovary”), Golshifteh Farahani (“Paterson”), Charlotte Gainsbourg (“Melancholia”), Rinko Kikuchi (“Babel”), and Paz Vega (“Sex and Lucía”) are also on the 2017 roster.

While it looks like the Academy is sincere in its attempt to increase the number of non old, white men, it still has a lot of work to do.

Go to The Hollywood Reporter to check out the full list of new Academy members.

The Academy Continues to Diversify with 774 New Members was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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China Abuzz Over Local Talent Invited to Join Academy

China Abuzz Over Local Talent Invited to Join Academy
Chinese media were abuzz Thursday over the record number of Chinese filmmakers and actors who have been invited to become new members of the Academy, with some commentators saying that it could boost the country’s chances of winning an Oscar.

But others said that the Academy’s decision to include more Chinese and Asian faces was an effort to boost diversity rather than a bow by Hollywood to China, and that the new Chinese additions would have a negligible impact on Chinese films’ Oscar prospects.

Fourteen industry heavyweights from mainland China and Hong Kong are among the 774 new invited members. The news made headlines throughout Greater China.

“China raves over record number of Chinese filmmakers to join the Academy,” one headline declared.

The 10 invitees from Hong Kong are actresses Maggie Cheung (“In the Mood for Love”) and Carina Lau (“Days of Being Wild”); actors Tony Leung (“In the Mood for Love”) and Donnie Yen (“Ip Man
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'Our Time Will Come' ('Ming Yuet Gei Si Yau'): Film Review | Shanghai 2017

'Our Time Will Come' ('Ming Yuet Gei Si Yau'): Film Review | Shanghai 2017
Ever since locking the July 1 mainland Chinese release date for Our Time Will Come, producer-distributor Bona Film Group has been actively branding the film as a "celebratory gift" for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule. Inspired by the real-life attempts of guerillas to evacuate Chinese intellectuals out of Japanese-occupied Hong Kong during World War II, veteran filmmaker Ann Hui's latest does sound like a perfect fit for an occasion where the dominant theme is the consolidation of the former colony's bonds with its "ancestral country."

But Hui has always kept simplistic political narratives...
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Film Review: ‘Our Day Will Come’

Film Review: ‘Our Day Will Come’
Uncovering a little known chapter in Hong Kong history, “Our Time Will Come” dramatizes the resistance efforts of indigenous Leftist guerillas during the Japanese occupation from 1941-’44. Although cut from the same cloth as umpteen patriotic film and TV dramas spoon-fed to mainland audiences since 1949, in Hong Kong director Ann Hui’s hands, the tone feels curiously subdued and laid-back, with little bombast or even excitement. Produced by China’s major studio Bona, the film was abruptly pulled from the opening slot of the Shanghai Film Festival, but allowed to premiere later during the event.

Although it’s competently narrated and boasts fine acting from the leads (who nonetheless look nothing like locals), it’s hard to see how this serious period drama could connect with the popular tastes of either Hong Kong or mainland audiences. This is Hui’s third film set during the Sino-Japanese War, the others being “Love in a Fallen City” (1984) and “The Golden Era” (2014). All three movies portray independent-minded heroines fighting to assert themselves in such a tumultuous enivornment, but whereas the two earlier films were dominated by romantic storylines, here, the female protagonist operates within a community of kindred spirits, making personal fulfillment a secondary concern.

In 1941, after the Japanese Imperial Army occupied Hong Kong, the Ccp draws up a plan to ferry nearly a hundred Leftist intellectuals, artists and film veterans to safety, the most famous of whom is writer Mao Tun (Guo Tao), who is lodging at the Wanchai home of Mrs. Fong (Deanie Ip) and her teacher daughter Lan (Zhou Xun). When something goes wrong on the day of Mao’s departure, Lan, who’s a big fan of his writing, impulsively assists local guerillas on the rescue mission. Impressed by Lan’s composure, their captain Blackie (Eddie Peng) recruits her to join the urban unit to liaise with members hiding in outlying fishing communities and “walled villages” inhabited by indigenous Hakka.

Whether a directorial decision or one born out of budget constraints, instead of gearing up as a full-blown war epic or taut spy thriller, the narrative strikes a more relaxed pace that de-glamorizes the underground resistance. Lan and her comrades’ role is basically that of a courier delivery service. Blackie, who is based on a legendary real-life sharpshooter, dispatches Japanese soldiers and Chinese traitors with no-nonsense efficiency that’s the antithesis of Hong Kong-style bullet ballet. Even Lan’s fiancé Gam-wing (Wallace Huo), a double agent working in the Japanese army’s headquarters, is mostly seen leisurely discussing Song dynasty poetry with Japanese colonel Yamaguchi (Masatoshi Nagase).

The most absorbing drama stems from the affectionate relationship Lan has with her mother, who doesn’t take long to figure out what her daughter’s up to. Though she’s fully aware of the danger involved, Mrs Fong doesn’t oppose her, but instead tries to ease her load in ways that have dire consequences.

In a checkered career spanning over four decades, Hui’s strongest suit has been neorealist works, such as “A Simple Life” and “The Way We Are,” that depict Hong Kong’s grassroots with compassion and respect. There’s thematic continuity and perhaps even a contemporary subtext here in her depiction of ordinary citizens’ fortitude under gravely deteriorating living conditions and internal strife, as seen in a risibly thrifty wedding scene. By highlighting the value of artists and intellectuals, and the importance of protecting them, she imbues the authentic historical episode with timely universal relevance.

Zhou has played similar roles in WWII spy-thrillers “The Message” and “The Silent War,” but this is her most natural performance. She holds attention in every shot, conveying her conviction without resorting to demonstrative emotional outbursts or flag-waving dialogue. A pivotal moment in which she weighs filial love against the greater good is so measured and controlled its wrenching impact doesn’t fully register several scenes later.

Ip is simply terrific as the down-to-earth single-mother with a heart of gold, a role that recalls but doesn’t rehash her scintillating turn as an altruistic nanny in “A Simple Life,” which won her best actress honors at the Venice Film Festival. With her colloquial dialogue and unique mannerisms, she brings much-needed humor to serious scenarios, imbuing small talk with layers of nuance.

The bulk of the story, which spans the entire occupation, is interspersed with present-day interviews conducted by Hui herself of Ben (Tony Leung Ka-fai), an elderly man who served as a messenger for the guerillas. Shot in black-and-white for documentary effect, the alternating timelines remind one that life goes on. As Ben said, he became a taxi driver after the war, because “you gotta eat.”

The film ends with a relatively downbeat feeling, eschewing the jubilation of victory while letting the protagonists fade out, their fates unknown. This in turn lends a sense of ambivalence to the passage Lan reads aloud from Mao Tun’s inspirational essay “Evening,” written in 1927 after the Ccp experienced a setback at the start of the civil war.

Related storiesShanghai Festival Completes Competition Lineup, Replaces Opening FilmFilm Review: 'Haze'Film Review: 'Soul on a String'
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With Industry and Political Clouds Hovering, Shanghai Film Festival Opens on Quieter Note

At the shiny Lyric Theater in the heart of China’s biggest city, the Shanghai International Film Festival celebrated its 20th edition Saturday in relatively low-key fashion.

There were the usual speeches, parades of past award winners, and hordes of local media. But the star wattage on the red carpet (which was strewn with gold cups and an oversized Cadillac) was a couple of notches lower than in previous years. And on the industry side, there is similarly little expectation of a deals-announcement frenzy.

Last year the corridors and conference rooms of the festival-owned Crowne Plaza throbbed with slate announcements of jaw-dropping proportions. Numerous new connections were being made between Chinese companies and overseas filmmakers, many from Hollywood.

But the intervening year has been an instructive one. In hindsight, the 2016 Shanghai festival looks like the last hurrah of an old era when everything and anything seemed possible.

Soon after the festival,
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'The Chinese Widow' to replace 'Our Time Will Come' as Siff opener

  • ScreenDaily
'The Chinese Widow' to replace 'Our Time Will Come' as Siff opener
No reason has been given for the change in opening film.

Danish director Bille August’s The Chinese Widow will open this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival (Siff, June 17-26), replacing Ann Hui’s Our Time Will Come, which was previously announced as the opening film.

However, Our Time Will Come will still play in the Golden Goblet competition at Siff. No reason was given for the change by either the festival or the film’s producer Bona Film Group.

Both films are set in China during the Second World War. Starring Emile Hirsch and Yu Nan, The Chinese Widow tells the story of an American pilot who is shot down and saved by Chinese villagers. It remains unclear if the film has been made under the recently signed Danish-Chinese co-production treaty. August recently served as jury president at the Beijing International Film Festival.

Our Time Will Come, which stars Zhou Xun and Eddie Peng, revolves
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Shanghai Festival Completes Competition Lineup, Replaces Opening Film

Shanghai Festival Completes Competition Lineup, Replaces Opening Film
Bille August’s Chinese-made “The Chinese Widow” has been set at the opening night movie of the Shanghai International Film Festival. It replaces the previously announced “Our Time Will Come,” by Hong Kong auteur Ann Hui.

No explanation for the change was offered by the festival, or Bona Film Group, producer of “Our Time,” or its international sales agent, Hong Kong-based Distribution Workshop. The film is a wartime drama focusing on the a woman school teacher and other youths who led the resistance movement during Japan’s WWII occupation of Hong Kong. It stars Taiwan’s Eddie Peng and Wallace Huo and China’s Zhou Xun as the female lead.

Hui has been reported as conceiving the film as a tribute to the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British colonial rule to China. It will open in China on the anniversary, July 1 and in Hong Kong a few days later.
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Rushes. Gilliam Wraps "Quixote", Soderbergh Returns to Moviemaking, Scorsese Stands Up for Cinema

Get in touch to send in cinephile news and discoveries. For daily updates follow us @NotebookMUBI.NEWSFrom Terry Gilliam's Facebook page comes some of the unlikeliest news in the history of cinema: "After 17 years, we have completed the shoot of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Muchas gracias to all the team and believers." We'll believe it when we see it, but boy do we want to see it!In other long-in-making news but from the other side of the film industry, American avant-garde filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky has revealed that he has edited old footage shot on the now-discontinued Kodachrome 16mm film stock into five new films (!), including "a document from the weeks that Stan Brakhage was dying..." Hopefully we will get to see these in the festivals and venues for alternative cinema where Dorsky's fans usually savor his work.The New York Asian Film Festival, the United States's
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'Our Time Will Come' to open Shanghai film festival

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'Our Time Will Come' to open Shanghai film festival
Historical drama is one of eight titles announced for Siff’s Golden Goblets competition.

Ann Hui’s Our Time Will Come will open this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival (Siff, June 17-26), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017.

The historical drama, starring Eddie Peng and Zhou Xun, will also compete in the festival’s main competition section, the Golden Goblet Awards.

At a Cannes reception yesterday (May 18), Siff also announced seven other competition titles: Yasuo Furuhat’s Reminiscence (Japan), Dave McCary’s Brigsby Bear (Us), Cătălin Saizescu’s Fault Condition (Romania), Maciej Pieprzyca’s I’m A Killer (Poland), Ivan Bolotnikov’s Kharms (Russia), Robert Mullan’s Mad To Be Normal (UK) and Markus Goller’s My Brother Simple (Germany).

As previously announced, Romanian director Christian Mungiu will head the Golden Goblet Awards jury, which also includes Chinese director Cao Baoping, Chinese screenwriter Li Qiang, Us/Macedonian filmmaker Milcho Manchevski, Japanese director
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Media Asia marches to Chinese army project from 'Infernal Affairs' director

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Media Asia marches to Chinese army project from 'Infernal Affairs' director
Exclusive: The Founding Of An Army is the third in a trilogy of historical propaganda films.

Hong Kong-based Media Asia Films has picked up international rights to The Founding Of An Army, directed by Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs) and starring Liu Ye and Zhu Yawen.

Produced by China Film Group (Cfg), Bona Film Group and other Chinese companies, the historical propaganda film is the third installment in a trilogy that also includes The Founding Of A Republic (2009) and The Founding Of A Party (2011). Scheduled for Chinese release on July 29, it tells the story of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (Pla).

Like other recent propaganda-driven Chinese films, such as The Taking Of Tiger Mountain and Operation Mekong, the film has been made in a commercial style with a star-studded cast so that it has genuine appeal for audiences. “The film boasts some of the most spectacular war scenes that the director has ever done on
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