Feng Xiaogang sees red

08:25, June 18, 2010      

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Actress Gong Li attends a premiere press conference in Beijing, capital of China, June 10, 2010. The film "Shanghai" played by Gong Li, Chow Yun-fat and John Cusack will be premiered firstly in China on June 17. (Xinhua/Ji Guoqiang)
At a forum in Shanghai the maverick director slams American producer Harvey Weinstein and cautions domestic filmmakers about harboring Hollywood dreams.

Director Feng Xiaogang has been calling people names again. "Many Chinese directors say, oh, that cheat, when talking about Harvey," Feng said at a forum on "New Front for Industry Collaboration between China and Hollywood" at the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival.

Harvey Weinstein is best known as co-founder of Miramax Films and has just co-produced the spy thriller Shanghai with China's Huayi Brothers, starring Gong Li and John Cusack.

The company has also bought advance rights for the North American and South African release of John Woo's latest action thriller, Reign of Assassins.

Weinstein sat beside Feng at the forum but left early to catch a plane.

Feng, after he left, accused him of promising Chinese filmmakers a good price to fob off other buyers, and then lowering the price by threatening to withdraw the money.

Feng also called on local filmmakers to stop dreaming about selling films to Hollywood. The best way forward, he said, was to learn its technology and use it.

"Because of censorship in China, local productions rarely have appeal abroad," he said. "Meanwhile, American audiences just do not like watching films with subtitles."

He also told domestic directors that when American audiences stand up and applaud a film, they might be doing so out of politeness. And if they say your film is "interesting", they probably do not know what you are talking about. They will say "kick ass" if they really love it, Feng said.

So far there has been no response from Weinstein about Feng's criticism, but while at the forum he did talk about his experience of collaborating with Chinese filmmakers.

"I think if you do something innovative and new, you can do anything," Weinstein said. "I co-produced with Bill Kong a movie called Hero we worked together on the production, cast and even the subtitles and little titles at the beginning and end. We really found a way to internationalize the film for people around the world to understand it."

He also referred to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wohu Canglong), saying that with a strong presence at press and Academy Awards, the film was successful worldwide.

Feng, however, disagreed.

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