A Simple Noodle Story debuted in Beijing yesterday. It is the first film Zhang Yimou has released in three years, the all star cast and the large series of promotional activities on TV and websites have tantalized moviegoers for a long time.
As the film is finally unveiled, Yang Lei tells us more about it.
On a scale from 1 to 100, what score do you give to A Simple Noodle Story?
Audience members give high marks to the film, but their reasons were various.
"I was laughing all the time. It is so interesting and full of surprises."
"The scenery in the film was really beautiful. The plot is also clearly structured."
The comedic thriller A Simple Noodle Story is Zhang Yimou's first film since his Oscar-nominated film Curse of the Golden Flower in 2006. The plot is adapted from Joel and Ethan Coen's 1985 crime film Blood Simple. However Zhang Yimou says his version is very different from the original.
"Blood Simple is a tough style thriller. I added lots of comedic elements in A Simple Noodle Story for I thought this might be interesting. I also set the story in ancient China, which provided me space to develop my own ideas."
A Simple Noodle Story revolves around a noodle restaurant owner who hires a killer to murder his cheating wife and her lover, which leads to an unexpected ending. In addition to the hype surrounding Zhang Yimou, the film is also appealing for its all-star cast.
Like Xiao Shenyang and Yan Ni, most of the actors in the film are known as comedians. So the responsibility of creating a thrilling atmosphere fell to Sun Honglei, the killer in the film. With his role not demanding too much dialogue, he called his performance 0℃ acting.
"0℃ acting means the actor has to hide all of the character's mental activities in heart. He can not act out his feelings, such as happiness or sadness. Only in this way can he truly interpret the role. I like this way of acting. The killer is kind of my dream part."
As many audience members give a 90 to the film, it means they are not fully satisfied with it. So where would the other 10 points come from?
"Every part deserves a clear ending. But the film doesn't tell us what happens to the supporting actress."
"I think it is just like another commercial film. When you are watching it in the cinema, you feel so excited. But when it is finished, there is not much for you to ponder. I like Zhang Yimou's early films more. They are more humane."
This question of being over commercial is also echoed by some critics and moviegoers. Zhang Yimou makes a defense.
"Films have different functions. In the 1980s, to shoot films about human care was a trend in Chinese film industry. I was no doubt influenced by it. Now as time goes by, I want to try something new. I am not saying one cannot shoot a serious film for the New Year film season, but maybe a comedy is more suitable for the festive atmosphere. I just want to make the audience happy."
This year, more than 60 films will be shown during the New Year film season. Facing such furious competition, the producer of A Simple Noodle Story, Zhang Weiping displayed confidence and says the film is expecting a box office earning of 400 million yuan.
For CD, I'm Yang Lei.