Though director Jia Zhangke's next movie Ci Qing Shi Dai (Tattoo Age) is still at the very earliest stage, it is already a hot subject as rumors say it will be completely different from Jia's previous ones.
"Yes, my next movie is about gang," the award-winning director admitted when attending the 30th Hong Kong International Film Festival.
Jia is known for a trilogy of films from 1997-2002 (Xiao Wu, Platform, Unknown Pleasures) exploring the impact of China's rapid economic transformation on its people. His fourth film The World, also on a realistic theme and of a documentary style, revolves around workers and dancers at a theme park in Beijing featuring the world's sites in miniature.
"But Ci Qing Shi Dai is much of a drama," Jia said, adding "it's a combination of gang movie and action movie, and above all, it is a historical story."
Unlike his previous movies which were all based on his own script, this time it is adapted from a popular novel written by Su Tong, he said.
"I want to make a breakthrough in this film and experiment a new style which I have never tried," he said, adding "to a film director, the greatest pleasure is to keep experimenting and changing. I even dream of shooting a cartoon movie."
This movie, which is called Jia's first "big production", has pooled money from the United States, and will cooperate with Hong Kong's first-class stunt company and action director. The producer even plans to invite Jay Chow, Taiwanese super pop singer, to star the movie. Does it mean that Jia, who always persists in independent spirit, will bow to the market?
"Absolutely not. Our team is not a commercial outcome. We just want to make the film perfect," Jia said, adding that since he himself has no experience for gang movie, he has to seek help from Hong Kong action director. So is the case for photographer, who must be an expert in shooting action.
As to Chow, "I think his rebelling spirit tallies with the story which took place in 1975, one year before the end of the Great Culture Revolution," Jia said.
Whether Chow will appear in the movie remains a mystery, but the leading actress has already been decided -- Zhao Tao, who has never lost her position in Jia's films.
The film is scheduled to shoot at the end of November and will be pictured around China's south city Su Zhou.
(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2006)