Director Feng Xiaogang releases new film based on a tragic love story

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 16, 2019
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A poster of "Only Cloud Knows," a new film by Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, about a man who mourns his wife's passing. [Photo courtesy of Alibaba Pictures]

"Only Cloud Knows," a touching romance based on a true love story, by renowned Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, will be released at the end of the year.

A massive 1,000 advanced screenings of the film were arranged over the weekend, generating good word-of-mouth from audiences. The film's ticket presales have already surpassed the 4-million-yuan mark before its actual wide release on Dec. 20, according to Beacon, Alibaba Group's box office tracking and film marketing platform.

The film, starring Huang Xuan, Yang Caiyu, Lydia Peckham and Feng's wife and actress Xu Fan, is a beautiful but sad story about a Chinese couple's marriage and their idyllic life in New Zealand. After the wife passes due to illness, her husband mourns her death and goes on to fulfill her last wishes. In its review of the film, said the movie was "a peaceful, restrained but tear-jerking and healing portrayal of their love with many touching details."

The film is based on the true story of Zhang Shu and Luo Yang, the director's old friends. Zhang is Feng's longtime collaborator and has since been working with Feng in the Chinese film industry after his wife died in Canada in 2017.

Talking about his original intention in making the film, 61-year-old Feng said: "I want to use this movie to commemorate the profound love between my good friend Zhang Shu and his wife. I want to share some warmth with audiences this season, remind them of their shining highlights and moments of happiness in the past year. Hopefully they will in turn pass this warmth on to their loved ones."

Produced by Alibaba Pictures and Emperor Motion Pictures, "Only Cloud Knows" is quite unlike other films released by Feng at the end of the year. It doesn't look like a commercial blockbuster, but is instead more like an emotional expression of the director's private memories.

In 1997, Feng's comedy "The Dream Factory" helped launch a profitable film season called the "New Year Greeting Season." This usually refers to the window between the end of the year and the early weeks of the next year, just before China's traditional Spring Festival. Feng's comedies constantly became smash hits during this period and other films began to join the box office race to get maximum revenues.

In recent years, the most profitable film season in China has become the 7-day Spring Festival holiday, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year. Conversely, the "New Year Greeting Season" has seen fewer ticket sales, and Feng has also opted to explore other film genres aside from comedy.

But this year's year-end season could be massive. Besides Feng's new film, other blockbusters such as "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," "Ip Man 4," "Almost A Comedy," "S.W.A.T." and "Adoring" are also ready to join the competitive finale of 2019.

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