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Tales of two countries

Updated: 2018-08-07 14:57:35

( China Daily )

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Dai now lives part of his time in Chengdu, Sichuan province. "A few years ago, I could still find some common ground with the film industry in China," he said. "But now it is gripped by commercialism. I shouldn't succumb to that, should I?"

Dai's new project is a romance movie that straddles two cultures and two cities. Night Peacock, set in Chengdu and Paris, is about a French woman who falls in love with two Chinese men. "As someone comfortable with two cultures, I hope to convey with this film the interaction of human emotions from both worlds, and especially the beauty of these two cities," he said during an April press conference in the Chinese city.

The movie, which will be Dai's first feature since The Chinese Botanist's Daughters in 2006, is set to go into production later this year. In the leading roles are Yu Shaoqun, French actress Maiwenn Le Besco and Liu Ye, a veteran from Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress and whose wife happens to be French.

An even more ambitious project is on the horizon. Dai is adapting Yu Hua's Brothers into a feature film, which he will also direct. "Yu is a good friend of mine and he trusts me completely. But we have many difficulties to overcome before the project can go through."

I suggested to him that maybe it would be more feasible to do Brothers as a stage play first. "Yu Hua's To Live has been playing to sold-out runs," I said. "You can preserve more of the essence with a play than with a movie adaptation."

"Well, Brothers was turned into a play back in 2006, one year after the book came out. It starred Xu Zheng, who is now a superstar crossing over to film directing. He said he would still be interested in acting in the film if it can get approval," said Dai.

That would surely add a lot of depth to Xu's credentials as a comedian. And with the book's reputation in the West and Dai's knack for making Chinese stories resonate with Western audiences, it has a good chance of breaking out of the slump most Chinese screen hits have found in the Western market.


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