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New twist to old cross-Strait love tale

SHOOTING is underway on Wang Quan'an's latest film "Reunion" - a love story about an old KMT soldier from Taiwan who tracks down his ex-wife (remarried) in Shanghai, writes Pan Zheng.

Most movies today are about young love with very little on the screen about old folks in love ?? or old folks in general.

Acclaimed director Wang Quan'an, however, turns his lens on love in later years in his newest film "Reunion," being filmed in Shanghai through the end of this month. It is scheduled to be released this summer.

It takes place in modern Shanghai and is a different take on the cross-Strait love story staple.

Wang, an independent film maker, is probably best known for "Tuya's Marriage," which won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2007, 20 years after Zhang Yimou's "Red Sorghum" took home China's first Golden Bear. His credits also include "The Story of Ermei."

Veteran German cinematographer Lutz Reitemeier is shooting "Reunion," teaming up again with Wang after working on "Tuya" and "Ermei."

"Reunion," written and produced by Wang, is the story of an old Kuomintang soldier Liu Yansheng in Taiwan who goes in search of his ex-wife Qiao Yu'e in Shanghai. His appearance causes a convulsion in the family.

It stars Ling Feng, 63, a Taiwanese TV host, and veteran actress Lu Yan, 80, a frequent US Academy Awards judge and three-time Golden Horse (Taiwan's version of Oscars) winner.

She still makes films and lives in the United States and quickly answered Wang's call.

Ling, who has been away from films for a long time, plays the old KMT soldier Liu, while Lu plays ex-wife Qiao.

"I'm very pleased to play in Chinese movies, even just supporting roles," Lu says. "But too few movies need us old folks."

Director Wang says he began to think about making this film "a long time ago." He once watched a documentary about an old man searching for his lost wife, and determined to make a film about that.

"I usually concentrate on the individual lives of common people," he says, "and older people usually have more stories than young people since they have experienced and suffered more."

Born in Yan'an, Shaanxi Province, Wang graduated from the Acting Department of the Beijing Film Academy in 1991. After graduation, he spent years writing screenplays at the Xi'an Film Studio. "Lunar Eclipse," Wang's feature debut, won him the Critics' Award for Best Picture at the Moscow International Film Festival in 2000.

Since that success, he began his journey of movie making.

An art-house film maker, Wang has earned many international awards including the Golden Bear in Berlin, 2007. But he hasn't done well at the domestic box office where romantic comedies, epic period pieces and blockbusters are favored.

Wang, however, says he is confident that "Reunion" will be popular.

"I want to encourage people to enter the cinema, sit in the theater and enjoy the movie," he says. "Nowadays, many film makers are only concerned about commercial profits, while the quality of the movie itself is secondary.

"'Reunion' has values that many commercial movies lack and the audience will like it."

Wang doesn't seem concerned about winning awards, either. He says he has no plans to take "Reunion" to film festivals.

"I don't think movies should be made to win awards, though festivals are good platforms to introduce your work. Whatever, I'll try my best to make this movie perfect."

Though Wang doesn't pay much attention to awards, senior actress Lu does.

"Maybe 'Reunion' will help me win my fourth Golden Horse!" she enthuses.

Veteran cinematographer Reitemeier too is enthusiastic.

"It's great to work with Wang again," he says. "'Reunion' is a very good topic and actually we're having a reunion here."

Reitemeier is delighted to be filming in visually exciting Shanghai, and the first scenes were filmed on the Bund.

"When I saw the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower and other fabulous buildings in Pudong, I was excited," he says. "I realized that I would find a brand new Shanghai and enjoy a brand-new journey."


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