Kimea­ger to lever­age China mar­ket with movie

China Daily (Canada) - - TORONTO - By XU­FAN

With many South Korean film­mak­ers mov­ing to neigh­bor­ingChina for a wider and more lu­cra­tive mar­ket, Kim Ki-duk has be­come the latest big name to join the flock.

Kim, 55, re­cently an­nounced in Bei­jing that his first Man­darin movie, Who IsGod, is fi­nanced by a Chi­nese film stu­dio and will re­cruit an all-Chi­nese cast. With a bud­get of 150 mil­lion yuan ($23.6 mil­lion), the re­li­gion-themed film plans to shoot all the sce­nar­ios in China.

A new player in the fast-mov­ing in­dus­try, Hangzhou-based Film Car­ni­val has signed a con­tract with Kim, whow­ill also act as chief cre­ative of­fi­cer of the com­pany.

The script, which took the pres­ti­gious art-house au­teur 10 years of re­search in SouthKorea, China and Ja­pan, re­volves around a fic­tional king­dom’s wars with five for­eign tribes set in a Bud­dhist back­drop.

Kim, wear­ing his land­mark bun­topped hair­style, re­veals the film aims to ex­am­ine hu­man­ity and ques­tion the na­ture of re­li­gion, and says, it will be about “how pol­i­tics ma­nip­u­lates re­li­gion”.

“This movie is not just tar­get­ing the Chi­nese mar­ket. The sub­ject will in­ter­est the US and Europe as well,” Kim told re­porters on Satur­day at the Bu­san In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ciate Press.

Ex­plain­ing the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the mod­ern world’s re­li­gious wars, the vet­eran di­rec­tor also ex­plores the re­la­tion be­tween space and time.

“China is on its rapidly de­vel­op­ing way to be­come the cen­ter of world’s movie in­dus­try. Chi­nese moviemak­ers will go fur­ther and ex­plore the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket deeper,” says Kim at a media event in Bei­jing. He be­lieves the di­verse de­vel­op­ment of the world’s sec­ond­movie mar­ket will match his in­ter­ests.

When Kim saw the Chi­nese film set, with each di­rec­tor sit­ting be­fore a mod­ern 60-inch mon­i­tor, he thought: “This could per­haps let me make the most of my abil­ity,” he says.

Early this year dur­ing the 2015 Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Kim ex­pressed re­gret that his ti­tles are un­able to ob­tain li­cences for gen­eral re­leases on the main­land, though he was among the seven-mem­ber jury of the Tiantan Award. Though they have long been fa­vorites at in­ter­na­tional fes­ti­vals, Kim’s works are known for their con­tro­ver­sial themes with re­li­gious, sex­ual and of­ten graphic, bloody sce­nar­ios.

His styl­ized clas­sics in­clude Sa­mar­i­tan Girl, the 2004 Ber­lin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val’s best di­rec­tor win­ner, and Pi­eta, the Golden Lion win­ner at the 2012 Venice Film Fes­ti­val. The high­ly­ac­claimed Pi­eta is the first South Korean ti­tle to win a best-pic­ture honor at one of the top three in­ter­na­tional film fes­ti­vals — Venice, Ber­lin and Cannes.

Aware of the con­tro­ver­sies over his films, Kim says he will try to re­vise some of the sen­si­tive parts to make Who Is God meet Chi­nese cen­sors’ re­quests.

His Chi­nese fi­nanciers show­case a more cau­tious at­ti­tude with a backup plan.

LouXiaodong, pres­i­dent of Film Car­ni­val, re­veals that they are pre­par­ing a pos­si­ble switch to over­seas mar­kets, es­pe­cially in Europe, in case the script fails to pass cen­sors here.

Some trade an­a­lysts say that re­li­gion-themed films are in a sen­si­tive zone, usu­ally fac­ing strict checks from the coun­try’s top reg­u­la­tor for the movie sec­tor.

Along­side Kim’s God, two big­bud­get fan­tasy projects, Ne Zha and Ori­en­tal Fairy Tales— re­spec­tively di­rected byHong Kong com­mer­cial di­rec­tors Jeffrey Lau and Ching Si­u­tung — will get in­vest­ment from FilmCar­ni­valth­isyear. Thet­wocel­e­brat­ed­box-of­f­i­ce­nameswould­seem to cut­down­the com­pany’s fi­nan­cial risk from its artis­tic ad­ven­ture.

“A gen­eral phe­nom­e­non for art­house movies is that most of them strug­gle to sur­vive. We strive to pro­vide for more space for them to de­velop,” says Lou.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.