Dreams May Come
Director: Xu Jinglei (2006)
One hundred minutes, one scene, two characters and endless dialogue-that's actress-director Xu Jinglei's latest film, Dreams May Come.
The film opens in cinemas across China on Friday. The press screening in Shenzhen on Tuesday got laughs at humorous moments in the dialogue but also got criticism.
Dreams May Come is Xu's third directorial feature after the acclaimed My Father and I and Letter From an Unknown Woman.
The 6-million-yuan (US$750,000) film is the first in China to have just one set and two leads, with the entire plot resting on the two characters' dialogue. It is based on the story by renowned novelist Wang Shuo, who also wrote the film script.
Shot in a messy little room from start to finish, this film has two main characters, a leading actress (Xu Jinglei) and her director (Han Tongsheng). They discuss their feelings and the problems they encounter while shooting a film.
Dreams paints an insider view of cinema. In one scene the actress says she feels nauseated when she's shaped into a pure and soft figure.
"The director in the film says pretending to be pure is my role in films. Of course I disagree with that. The film does relate to some of my experiences with movies," said Xu at the press conference in Beijing on Monday.
Endless dialogue and a single setting are a big test for the two leads. Han outshone Xu in performance.
Even though the dialogue is meant to be humorous, most at the press screening felt the pace was too slow. "I almost went to sleep," said a journalist from Shenzhen Economic Daily.
But Xu isn't worried about audience reaction, saying she never intended her movie to appeal to the masses and doesn't expect it to receive widespread acceptance. Mass appeal or not, Shenzhen cinemas are confident that Xu Jinglei and scriptwriter Wang Shuo will bring moviegoers to Dreams May Come.
(Shenzhen Daily June 29, 2006)