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August 3, 2009

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Shanghai takes sci-fi spotlight

FAMED Hong Kong art-house director Stanley Kwan is returning to film-making after a four-year break with a science-fiction movie about a group of Chinese acrobats from the 1930s who travel to the present.

The movie follows the acrobats' relationships with a group of acting students in 2009 Shanghai, Kwan told The Associated Press on Saturday from Shanghai, where he is shooting the 8 million yuan (US$1.2 million) production.

Australian-born Christopher Doyle, who helped craft the moody visuals of many Wong Kar-wai films, is the cinematographer.

The 52-year-old director said he crafted the project, which he describes as "The Matrix meets song and dance," to help a group of acting and music students he met while working on a musical. The film is called "Dancing With Your Heart" in Chinese but doesn't have an English title yet.

"Very few of the graduates of Chinese performing arts schools have the chance to start a career in performing arts," Kwan said. He said he is halfway through the shoot and expects to finish the movie late this month.

Kwan's last film was the 2005 romance "Everlasting Regret," starring Hong Kong pop star Sammi Cheng. He is best known for his 1987 drama "Rouge" and his 1992 biopic of late Chinese actress Ruan Lingyu, "Center Stage," which earned its star Maggie Cheung best actress honors at the Berlin International Film Festival.

During his break, Kwan developed projects for new Chinese production company J.A. Media and produced the 2008 Hong Kong-Taiwan romance "Miao Miao."

But after his stint on the business side of film-making, "I realized I like directing my own movies more," he said.

Like many fellow Hong Kong directors, Kwan is now shooting on the mainland, a booming movie market. He said working with mainland investors can be a difficult process because many are new to the film industry.

"Many of the investors are entrepreneurs. Their main line of business is real estate or coal mines or finance. They don't know about the work flow of a movie," he said.


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