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'The Promise' Mixed With Asian Cultures

2006/01/20 | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Renowned Chinese director Chen Kaige emphasizes that his new epic fantasy The Promise is an "Asian" film showing the power of Asian culture to the world.

"The real meaning of being an Asian director is we can put the power of culture from all Asian countries together and show everything people can possibly imagine", Chen said Thursday during a news conference at Shilla Hotel in Seoul.

The director, well known for his 1993 film "Farewell My Concubine", also explained that the film is not just a commercial film but contains deep and profound Asian values on life.

"It shows our attitude, from the Asian point of view, toward life _ magnificent but short. And what I also wanted to talk about is the freedom of heart", Chen said.

The film revolves around three men falling in love with a beautiful girl destined to lose her lovers in exchange for wealth and fame. The characters fight for their love and against their pre-determined fates.

Although the story takes place in fantasy settings, the film has endearred so many Chinese as they can easily sympathize with characters in the film, who are locked off by their desire, ambition and hatred, the director added.

The epic film is the China's most expensive movie with the production budget of $35 million and stars from three different Asian countries, but the director said he had to face budget restrictions especially with graphics.

"To be honest, our budget was too limited to have state of the art Western computer graphics. As I am a still student in computer graphics, I think I could do a better job in my next films if it is needed", Chen said.

The conference was also attended by the film's main actors Jang Dong-gun of Korea, Hiroyuki Sanada of Japan and Cecilia Cheung of Hong Kong, and they said they found the acting a unique and valuable experience as they have more and more opportunities to star in co-production films with directors and actors from different Asian countries.

Jang, who plays Kunlun, a slave with a magical power of agility, in the film worked with a Japanese actor in his 2003 action film "2009 Lost Memories" and Cheung appeared in the local film "Failan" in 2001.

"Of course, it was tough and challenging to use the Chinese language at first", Jang said, "I was nervous before shooting, but I got used to it and forgot that I was using Chinese after I realized that acting is something done by your heart".

The Promise, which will be released here Jan. 26, is a newly edited version, different from the 121-minute original shown in China. The original was edited because the filmmaker decided to make the film simpler for international audiences and to counter the piracy movie files already circulating the Internet.

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