light gazing, ışığa bakmak

Monday, August 3, 2015

coming home ou regresso a casa

contar uma história: a imagem e as palavras, o som, as cores e o movimento.

afinal esta é uma versão diferente de Amour de Haneke. não gostei daquela, gostei desta.

o que se passa com a chuva? e o que se passa com a neve em estações de comboio?

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"Why did you choose to produce “Coming Home” now? I didn’t choose to do it. It happened simply because I got the novel [on which it’s based]. China is so hungry for a good screenplay and it’s very hard to get a good one. Though getting the novel wasn’t planned, making “Coming Home” happened the way it did because I believe in “walking with two legs”: on the one hand, I make low-budget art-house films like “Coming Home”; on the other, I will continue to make commercial films like “Hero”."

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“Coming Home,” a new film by Zhang Yimou about the ravages wrought on a family by decades of political violence in China and how they (kind of) overcome them, stars Gong Li, his legendary muse. It made Steven Spielberg cry, the Chinese news media reported. Ang Lee, the Academy Award-winning director of “Life of Pi,” was “very moved” by it too, he said on Chinese television.

well it made me cry from minute 5 to the very end. o spielberg e eu, devemos estar velhos.

At a private screening in Beijing, many viewers sat for a long time after the end, dabbing their reddened eyes, especially elderly ones, and it’s one of the film’s extraordinary strengths that it deals with the process of aging so sensitively — a major challenge for China, where the population is graying fast.


all from here:

The movie is adapted from a novel by an American based female writer called Yan Geling and she wrote Coming Home based on her grandfather’s experience,” remarks Zhang Yimou who spent two and a half years developing the screenplay composed by Zou Jingzhi (Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles). “Her grandfather was put into jail and Yan Geling found a lot of the letters and diaries of her grandfather; she spent years working on this novel. I was moved by this novel so I decided to put into a film. However, a large part of the novel couldn’t be into a film because they were too sensitive and political so I used the ending part of the novel as the beginning part of the film and created a lot of new stories.”

During the opening scenes of Coming Home a professor (Chen Daoming) escapes a Chinese prison labour camp to be reunited with his family only to be betrayed by his resentful teenage daughter (Zhang Huiwen) who is denied the starring role in a ballet because of him; as he is recaptured at a train station his beloved wife (Gong Li) is knocked unconscious resulting in her suffering from amnesia. “We put a lot of effort on the first 10 minutes because this is such a sensitive topic so on one hand to be able to make it into a film and on the other hand be able to convey the meaning. There is a memorable scene with the door. The door separates the wife and the husband, the daughter and the father. It is done in a subtle and implicit way. I hope that audiences can understand our thoughts and efforts behind it. There are only a few lines of dialogue when the daughter meets the father and they talk on the stairway. A lot of people after watching that scene told me that the door tells of the separation of a lot of people during that particular historical period.”

“I see a lot of myself in the role of Dan Dan [Zhang Huiwen] because I grew from 16 to 26 years old during the Cultural Revolution,” remarks Zhang Yimou. “I have a lot of interest in that historical period. There are so many interesting stories from that time; however, because this is a sensitive topic it is hard to make a lot of films about that era. In the future if I still have the opportunity I would like to make another movie about the same historical period. Another reason is in today’s world I hope that the young people can learn more about history. Actually, Coming Home did help them learn about that historical period because after watching the movie with their parents, they started talking about their own experiences.”

“Gong Li told me herself that this was probably the most difficult role for her to play in her career,” states Zhang Yimou who previously worked with his leading actress on Red Sorghum (1987) and Curse of the Golden Flower (2006). “Before we began shooting we talked a lot about her role and she also gave me a lot of advice, for example, the board, Gong Li came up with the idea and we used it in the movie. She is a mature and sophisticated actress; she not only listens to my coaching but also has her own understanding of how to play the role.”

A year was spent looking for an actress to play the part of Dan Dan. “We needed somebody to be innocent but also stubborn and headstrong for the character,” explains Zhang Yimou. “Zhang Huiwen is a dancing student and has never appeared in any film before; she dances in a different style so needed to learn ballet as well. Zhang Huiwen spent one and a half years preparing for this movie so when we first found her she was less than 18 years old but when we started shooting she was already 19. We hired some original ballet dancers from that show. The teachers coached and told her how to use her eyes to capture the essence of the role.” Zhang Yimou adds, “One thing that differentiates me from other Chinese directors is that I always search for new talent. I use new people in my movies, from Gong Li to Zhang Ziyi [The Road Home] to this young actress.”

Upon being released from prison Lu Yanshi (Chen Daoming) spends years trying to reconnect with his amnesic wife Feng Wanyu (Gong Li). “In the novel she could never recognize her husband again and when she died he carried her ashes with him to a different place. The novel is also much longer. The story traces back to the time when they were teenagers, 17 to 18 years old, until their death. However, we only used a part of the novel. We put a lot of emphasis on her waiting for her husband at the train station. It carries a lot of meanings. At first it is sad but on the other hand it shows the perseverance and tenacity of this woman.”

“Coming Home is not as bright and colourful as my previous movies,” notes Zhang Yimou. “I did this on purpose because I didn’t want the colours to standout, to overpower the story. In terms of the piano song we created this part of the story; it’s not in the original novel. Initially, we thought we would like to use foreign music from 1930s to 1950s because educated Chinese scholars must have known the song. However, we changed our mind and decided to use Chinese music from the 1930s. It’s called Fisherman’s Song because that song was in a movie which was well known by all of the Chinese.”

“We consulted with medical doctors and they told us that music might be the most powerful way to awaken someone with amnesia,” states Zhang Yimou. “There are some success stories in the past. That’s why we came up with this idea. The piano is always there from the beginning to repairing of the piano to playing of the piano. We decided not to have any dialogue for that scene but instead use the music to convey the emotions. We talked with our actors for several months and discussed about it. My favourite part is when her hand slowly reaches for his shoulder. For a few seconds our viewers might say, ‘She’s going to recognize him.’ But it is not the case for when he turns around she still can’t recognize him. One thing that is imprinted in my memory when we were shooting that scene was when Gong Li finished performing I said, ‘Stop. Cut. It’s over.’ I turned around to find everybody moved and in tears.” 

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