2014 has been an exciting year for entertainment news in China. There's been scandal, box office explosions, and censorship up the wazoo. Here's a list of our more notable entertainment related blogs from throughout the year:
RELATED: The Beijinger's 2014 Year in Review
Five Reasons You Should Mourn the Passing of Sir Run Run Shaw
Sir Run Run Shaw may be the most legendary cinematic figure the average laowai has never heard of. The movie mogul who seemed he would live for ever died in Hong Kong at age 106 or 107, depending on whom you believe. He has an asteroid named after him, and Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1977 for his philanthropic work. He did so much for so long that separating fact from fantasy is already difficult, with the fantasy side of things building now that he has passed. But let's look at why now would be a good time to see a Shaw Bros. film, even if you never have before.
Zhang Yimou Fined 1.2 Million for Having Three Kids
Renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, best known for cinematic creations like Red Sorghum and Hero, was fined RMB 7.48 million (about USD 1.23 million) for violating China's strict one child policy. The family planning bureau of Jiangsu Province demanded their "social maintenance fee" after Zhang and his wife Chen Ting acknowledged that the two of them had parented a total of two sons and a daughter. This goes to show that it doesn't matter how distinguished you may be, there's no hiding from the F.P.B.
Beijing Girl Claims to be Descendent of the Monkey King
In this particular game of thrones, a young lady from Beijing lays claim to the trickster's crown by publicly insisting she is part of the Monkey King’s bloodline. If you've never seen a Chinese re-run, this royal primate is a character from Wu Cheng’en's epic Journey to the West and has been made famous through countless movies, video games, and cartoons worldwide. The only evidence she has to prove her claims is an 'ancestral stone' and a piece of 'monkey wool.' On January 6th she presumably rode a "cloud“ and visited Fudan University's anthropology research labs in Shanghai to expose her furry identity through DNA testing.
Colbert Confronts His Chinese Copycat
Stephen Colbert, great American satirical news anchorman or greatest American satirical news anchorman, was flexing his sarcastic muscles after he discovered the opening to his hit show had a strong resemblance to a news show on Ningxia Satellite TV called The Banquet. Both shows are near note-for-note renditions of each other right up to the dramatic part when they both drop through the air, landing in a three-point stance like Iron Man/Trinity from the Matrix/anything appearing in a Zack Snyder film. Colbert briefly remarks that this was a complete violation of intellectual property laws, but was more excited about entering the largest entertainment market in the world.
Black Coal, Thin Ice Wins Golden Bear at Berlin International Film Festival
The film Black Coal, Thin Ice, from director Diao Yinan, received the Golden Bear for best picture. Diao, a graduate from China's Central Academy of Drama and director of films like Uniform and Night Train, spent close to a decade developing Black Coal, Thin Ice and getting it into production. Part thriller, part love story, the film follows police captain Zhang Zili (Liao Fan) as he investigates a series of scattered body parts found in coal plants. He eventually loses his job in pursuit of the killer after a failed police operation claimed the life of two of his colleagues. The story continues years later after he becomes a security guard; when the killer reemerges, Zhang decides to re-open his investigation. A Silver Bear award also went to Liao Fan for his portrayal of the time-hardened detective consumed by his misgivings and the complexity of the case. This is the first Chinese film to take the award since Wang Quan'an's Tuya'a Wedding in 2007.
Fan Bingbing Leads Forbes' List of China's 10 Most Powerful Celebrities
Topping the list for the second year in a row is the movie star from Qingdao, who moved away from her usual femme fatale roles to star in One Night Surprise, a comedy by director Jin Yimeng. Pulling in an estimated RMB 122 million in 2013, mostly from endorsements of cosmetics and other beauty products, Fan will be tough to topple for the 2015 list.
Get Mad Paid as a Professional Pornography Watchdog
After a government initiative to wage war on erotic content in the mainland, through the "Cleaning the Web 2014" campaign, tech companies are hiring thousands of young people to sniff out content of a sexual nature. So far, over 110 websites and 3,300 Chinese social networking accounts have been deleted. Uploading pornography to the web can lead up to three years in prison, and if you have made over USD 40,000 from sexual material, it's possible that you could be sent to jail for life.
Fan Bingbing Becomes China's First Barbie Doll
This must be a strange moment for actress Fan Bingbing. First she saw herself in wax when Madame Tussauds opened in Qianmen in late May, and now she has been immortalized in plastic as China's first Barbie Doll. The doll, which looks nothing like Fan, retails for USD 39.95. Purchased at the official Barbie store in Shanghai, and including Fan's autograph, the doll goes for, of course, RMB 888.
Jason Statham to Star in Movie "Only for Chinese Audiences"
The star revealed that he would be very interested in working on a project here in China. These comments were also confirmed with interest from Zhang Zhao, CEO of Le Vision Pictures and a producer for both Expendables 2 and 3. He stated that Le Vision will indeed be working with Jason Statham on an action movie for Chinese audiences. No other details were provided. We’re guessing it's all in the early stages, but nonetheless we'd like to spitball an idea with Le Vision. Jason Statham as a kindergarten English teacher (a la Kindergarten Cop) who's undercover at the school trying to nail an international smuggler on the run from Interpol. One minute he'll be teaching a roomful of snobby boys and girls and then next he’s cracking skulls and deflecting butterfly knives with his fists. His catch phrase will be "speak English!"
Beijing Police Formally Arrest Jaycee Chan in Drug Case
Jaycee Chan, son of action star Jackie Chan, was officially arrested on suspicion of harboring and allowing the use of drugs in his Beijing home. The Dongcheng District prosecutor's office made the announcement on Sina Weibo. Jaycee Chan was last detained on August 14 along with Taiwan actor Ko Kai who was sentenced to 14 days of administrative detention after confessing to his use of the drug at the time. Jaycee has been in police custody since August and was indicted earlier this week. He's looking at a maximum of three years in prison for "sheltering others to take drugs."
A Claustrophobic Time Lapse Video of Beijing's Subway System
The Guardian released an informative article mostly stating some facts that anyone living here for some time would already know and was accompanied by a stunning short time lapse video of rush hour on some of Beijing's busiest subway lines. It was shot and edited by local video artist Elisa Cuccineli and is worth a quick look. Check it out here.
Kung Fu Movie Queue: Must-see Kick Ass Kung Fu Movies
A lot of you might hear the word "wushu" and immediately say "god bless you" or "gesundheit." the word wushu, translates literally into martial art, and is probably one of the main subject matters of Chinese cinema. These films are China's most well known cultural exports to the west, to the point where many a foreigner might assume there's a pair of nunchucks or a butterfly knife in every pocket in East Asia. Though most of the time if I see a fight here, it usually ends up with one drunk smashing a chair/bottle into another drunk's back. Maybe it could be considered drunken boxing, but definitely not white crane or praying mantis. We compiled the best of kung fu so that you could avoid having your own hand-to-hand combat in Sanlitun in the early hours.
Say Goodbye to Foreign Films and Television
New rules and regulations render almost all media, TV and film, pornographic and unfit for public viewing. This new ruling from the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) bans scenes containing a range of activities including one-night stands, extramarital affairs, excessive physical contact, sexual abuse, partner-swapping, flirtation, rape, incest, necrophilia, prostitution, sexual perversion and masturbation. A pretty thorough list to say the least.
SAPPRFT to Make Chinese Filmmakers and TV Producers Farm for Inspiration
In the latest move, China's media watchdogs would like to send filmmakers and TV producers to the countryside. They want creatives to experience this other more agrarian side of Chinese life and maybe get their paws off social media and direct pay for a month or two. This could make for some pretty groundbreaking reality programming like Farming With the Stars, Real Housewives of Yuanyang County, or China's Top Farmer. The State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (a mouthful of an organization) will organize 30 day trips to give artists and producers a correct view of the kind of work the government would consider worthy of a term like masterpiece and help rid the industry of the stench of money.
HBO Finds New Home in China With Tencent Video (Sans the Sex and Violence)
Holy mother of dragons, HBO and Chinese Internet mega company Tencent made public a content deal that will make Tencent Video the exclusive provider of all HBO series, including Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, and more. Details have yet to be released about when this content would become available, as it will first have to make its way past government regulators, who will most likely censor all of that delicious immoral content.
More stories by this author here.
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