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Chengdu, I Love You
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08:31, August 06, 2009

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Capturing the city of Chengdu in its past, present and future, the three-part collaboration, Chengdu, I Love You may not be shown in its entirety as its premiere closes the 66th Venice International Film Festival, to be held from September 2-12. Recent rumors in the Chinese media have suggested that only two out of the three episodes will be screened.

The three-part film is a cooperative effort by Hong Kong director Fruit Chan (Made in Hong Kong), Korean director Jin-ho Hur (One Fine Spring Day) and alternative rock star Cui Jian, each producing one 30-minute short film based in different periods of time.

According to local newspaper the Information Times, the “present day” section directed by Hur will be taken out of the complete work and developed into a separate full–length feature film due to its commercial value, while the other two episodes, “past” and “future,” directed by Chan and Cui, will remain as Chengdu, I Love You and close the film festival.

Liu Qun, media manager of the film’s production company Zonbo Media, told the Global Times Tuesday that the news was false and that they had never released any information indicating that the three-part film would be divided.

However, she refused to confirm that Hur’s episode would be screened in Venice as part of the original collaboration, only saying that they would hold a press conference next week to clarify the issue, leaving the mystery unresolved.

A scene from Chengdu, I Love You. (Global Times Photo)

On the film festival’s official website, Chengdu, I Love You’s introduction only includes Chan’s episode set in 1976 and Cui’s episode set in 2029, with no mention of Hur’s love story.

In his episode, Hur tells a romantic love story set in present day Chengdu. A guide who lost her husband in the May 12 earthquake in 2008 meets her college Korean classmate at Du Fu Cottage, a tourism hotspot in the city and begins a somewhat poetic relationship. Compared with the other two episodes, one of which is science fiction, Hur’s modern and romantic story indeed has more commercial appeal to today’s moviegoers.

During a previous interview with the Global Times in June, Hur acknowledged the possibility of developing his 30-minute short into a feature film after Chengdu, I Love You screened globally. “I really like the beautiful story. It is one of my best works,” Hur said at the time.

Meanwhile, Chan stated that he was satisfied with the current length of his 30-minute episode that is set in a teahouse in 1976 when the Tangshan Earthquake hits. The teahouse’s master falls in love with a waitress while teaching her to use a long-spouted teapot and traditional tea rituals. Their love is doomed to fail however as the political situation and earthquake get in the way.

Despite having experience in developing short works into features, as was the case with his episode in the co-directed horror film Three that became the feature Dumpling, Chan said that he had no intention of doing the same this time.

“What is significant about this film is that it reflects the past, present and future of Chengdu. Separating them is meaningless,” Chan commented. He added that the film’s 90-minute length was most suitable for today’s audiences.

In the film’s future episode set in 2029, which is also rock star Cui Jian’s directing début, a samba dancer tries to find the boy who saved her during the 2008 earthquake while tracking down a man who had hurt her cousin. When she discovers that the two people she seeks are actually one and the same, she struggles between love and hate.

Cui said that to him, passion is the most important element of a film. The reason he chose to direct the future episode was that there was more room for him to be creative and release his passion.

After its world premiere screening in Venice, Chengdu, I Love You will hit Chinese cinema screens in early October, until then, fans will have to wait and see if the three-part film will stand divided.

Source: Global Times

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