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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 11:22, December 08, 2006
Golden Lion winner does not expect success with Chinese audiences
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Chinese Director Jia Zhangke said he wasn't expecting to scoop box office success with his Venice Golden Lion Best Film "Still Life".

"Still Life" will be released nationwide on Dec. 14, but a number of homemade commercial movies, including director Zhang Yimou's new release "Curse of the Golden Flower", will be hitting Chinese screens at roughly the same time.

"'Still Life' may not stay in cinemas for long. It's impossible to compete at the box office with the likes of "Curse of the Golden Flower'," Jia said at a press conference in Shanghai Wednesday.

The movie tells the story of two separated couples in the Yangtze River town of Fengjie and how they deal with the relocation of the town to make way for the Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric project.

"Too many Chinese movies focus on commercial gain and entertainment. I want to portray the struggles of China's working class, and to express my concern for ordinary people," Jia said.

Jia's previous movies were not well received by Chinese audiences because of his documentary style and weak story lines.

The 12-million-yuan "The World" recovered just over one million yuan (125,000 U.S. dollars) in domestic box office sales last year, though it won 4 international awards including Best Feature Film and Best Cinematography at the Sixth Las Palmas International Film Festival.

Jia's "Pickpocket" (1997) and "Platform" (2000) were not permitted to screen in China.

By contrast, Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's latest commercial epic "The Banquet" had raked in 100 million yuan (12.5 million U.S dollars) in China by the end of September, two weeks after its nationwide debut.

"Movies are an art form and should not be evaluated only in monetary terms," said Jia Zhangke, "I don't hold high box office expectations for my work."

Low-and-medium-budget homegrown movies often have difficulty achieving satisfactory box office sales in China and tend to be yanked quickly from cinema screens.

Chinese filmgoers are unsophisticated and impatient with anything that does not achieve quick commercial success.

A record 260 films were made in China last year but only 90 actually made it to the screen. Of those, many were withdrawn a few days after release due to a lack of interest.

Source: Xinhua

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