"The true story of Marco Polo is so much more compelling and exciting than the mythology" explains John Fusco ('Young Guns'), series creator and Executive Producer of 'Marco Polo'. Lorenzo Richelmy who plays the title character explains his motivation, saying: "His father was a great merchant, so his dream is to become a great merchant as well." Executive Producer Daniel Minahan ('Game of Thrones') adds some insight into the story of the series, explaining how Marco travels to China with his father, but negotiations break down quickly and Marco is left as an offering to serve the court of Kublai Khan (Benedict Wong).
Continue: Marco Polo - Featurette
As Factory 420 prepares to close, people recount their experiences. Born in the 1930s, He Xikun is the eldest former employee. Guan is a former security boss remembering the factory's role in the Korean War. Hou recounts her emotional experience in Chengdu. Dali (Lu) walks through the site to start a new job. Gu (Joan Chen) remembers her colleagues' efforts to find her a boyfriend. Zhao (Chen Jianbin) grew up in the factory and is now a TV presenter. And Su (Zhao Tao) is a young woman moving forward.
Continue reading: 24 City Review
Still Life, the director's last stateside-distributed film object about the displaced wanderers surviving on the outskirts of the Three Gorges Dam project, demonstrated how very strange life in rural China has become. In Jia's new film 24 City, which takes place in Chengdu City, the most memorable images are more subdued and compacted: An assembly of workers singing "The International," a factory being demolished, Joan Chen playing a one-time factory employee whose co-workers remark that she resembles Joan Chen.
Continue reading: 24 City Review
An affecting condemnation of the Communists' 1970s CulturalRevolution policies as seen through the eyes of a teenage girl, "XiuXiu: The Sent Down Girl" has since beenbanned -- along with Chen herself -- from the country in which it takesplace.
"I was ready to be kicked out any moment (during production),"she said with a look of brazen memory crossing her face. "I actuallykept a producer in the United States, so (if) I got kicked out...I wasfully prepared...to get everything ready for me (here).
"Of course, if I got kicked out it would not be themovie you see today."
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Stories centers on Rose (Joan Chen), a Chinese nightclub singer struggling to raise two children in '70s Australia. A needy woman who demands constant attention, she goes through men like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. Rejection is completely unacceptable: Dump Rose and she'll attempt suicide, only to be discovered unconscious by her daughter and son.
Continue reading: The Home Song Stories Review
Despite its bold opening of Puyi's attempted suicide as a prisoner in a reeducation camp in his late 50s, The Last Emperor is your standard biopic, complete with the framework of the aged character telling the story of his life. Of course, Puyi's peculiar childhood is the most interesting half of the two-and-a-half-hour film, and it's there where Bertolucci's grip on the material is the strongest. From the seven-year-old Puyi's desperation to connect with the mother he was separated from six years prior to the teenage Puyi's pet mouse. Bertolucci's poetics seem to transcend the film's immaculate design and execution. It helps that the material is inherently interesting -- we are all bound by duty in some regard and are constantly looking for an escape. Still, Bertolucci takes chances, even shocking us with a seven-year-old Puyi nestling in his mother's bare bosom or the pet mouse meeting its demise against the Forbidden City's gate at the hands of a frustrated Puyi. These are not mere exploits, however, but sad moments where it's clear that Puyi's childhood and foreshadowed adulthood needs and desires are controlled by others.
Continue reading: The Last Emperor Review
I'll admit now that I wore an "I killed Laura Palmer" t-shirt thoughout my freshman year of college. Am I embarrassed by that now? Yes, but not as much as you'd think. Twin Peaks was a bona-fide phenomenon, the most subversively popular thing of its day and still a brainy-slash-guilty pleasure with few equals.
Continue reading: Twin Peaks: The Complete Series Review
But before we ever get to see these thrashing entanglements, we are plummeted into the early rumblings of the Chinese resistance to the Japanese occupation. Little does Yee know that the woman he is tossing around the bedroom would love nothing more than to feel his blood splatter all over her in the middle of one of their sessions. See, Wang was once a schoolgirl with aspirations in acting, sparked by collegiate cutie Kuang (Wang Leehom), a director who wrote (terrible) plays about the damages of the war and subsequent occupation on the normal Chinese family. While discussing politics in a theater balcony, Kuang and his actors turned from thespians into resistance fighters, planning the assassination of the traitorous Yee.
Continue reading: Lust, Caution Review
A talented ensemble cast brings an extremely authentic family dynamic to "What's Cooking?," a satisfying four-course cross-section of ethnic American clans gathering for their Thanksgiving dinners.
Conceived by director Gurinder Chadha as a celebration of diversity, the film opens with an ironic shot of an advertisement on the side of a Los Angeles bus featuring an airbrushed white-bread family carving a turkey. Chadha then moves inside the bus to show the rainbow of races living together in the area, then on into a grocery store, where she picks up her first story in which a young Mexican-American man (Douglas Spain) bumps into his exiled father (Victor Rivers) and invites him home for Thanksgiving dinner.
This doesn't sit too well with his mother (Mercedes Ruehl), who had kicked Rivers out after discovering he'd had an affair. But she's prepared to make the best of it as her huge family gathers for their traditional daylong holiday preparations, mixing turkey with a cornucopia of Latino delicacies.
Continue reading: What's Cooking? Review