Chen Kaige's blockbuster The Promise has been selected to represent the Chinese mainland in next year's Academy Awards. The film's star, Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung, recently talked about the production.
"I am greatly encouraged since many foreign directors and actors, as well as reporters, praised the film when it was screened at Cannes in May. They thought it was the best Chinese movie they have seen," said Cheung.
Cheung said whether or not she wins a prize is not the most important thing for her. "In the process of shooting The Promise, everyone had a tough time. If there is a prize, I think it belongs to all of us. I hope through the Oscar, Americans and people from other countries learn that movies directed by our Chinese directors are well done, equal to Hollywood."
For Cheung, the most interesting aspect of the film is that the story is not set in ancient times as it appears to be and that it is not a martial arts movie. "During the shooting, I said to the director, 'Are we shooting a future story, not an ancient one?' and Chen nodded with a smile."
Still, many moviegoers do not understand the story or the film's title. "I believe promise stands for love. The Promise means love is boundless, love is shapeless, love is unpredictable and love is promise," said Cheung.
The late Hong Kong actor Leslie Cheung won international acclaim for his performance in Chen's Farewell My Concubine. Through The Promise, Cecilia also learned from Chen. "I can say I'm a clever person but always lost my temper. Through Chen, I successfully changed my view of life and learned more communication skills."
Cheung's former boyfriend Nicholas Tse also has a leading role in The Promise. Cheung said, "The relationship is over. We are still good friends, which doesn't hurt in costarring. Nicholas is wonderful in the production and he has made great progress in acting. I think he looks like Leslie Cheung."
(Shenzhen Daily November 1, 2005)