Jiang Wen's new epic lauded by filmmakers and critics
Jiang Wen’s new film “Hidden Man” was unveiled to great applause by fellow filmmakers and film critics at an outdoor venue in a remote location in Beijing on Tuesday.
“This is a celebration, because Jiang Wen’s films are always a festival for all Chinese filmmakers,” actor Huang Bo said.
The violent, tense, exotic, romantic and sexy “Hidden Man,” based on the major characters and plotline of Zhang Beihai’s novel, tells a story about a special agent’s revenge amid romance and various conspiracies set in 1937 Beijing, when Japanese invaders were going to take over China.
The film differs vastly from the original novel and is called “a unique wild imaginative adaptation” with Jiang’s own “perspective and characteristics.” The novelist Zhang previously said he didn’t mind how Jiang would adapt his novel.
Jiang’s premiere was also different. Rather than taking place in a normal movie cinema in the business district, it was held at an outdoor theater under the starry night in scenic Gubei Water Town in Miyun, Beijing, often billed as “China’s Venice.” The special location was actually where the screenplay writing team worked and the film wrapped up its shooting in the town a year ago.
With previous “Let the Bullets Fly”(2010) and “Gone with the Bullets” (2014), this is the last installment of a series of films loosely called “Jiang Wen’s Republic of China Trilogy.” Jiang adapted three different novels by different writers and put them in this so-called trilogy box to portray various people in the turbulent era before the New China was founded in 1949.
Jiang also delicately recreated the old city of Peking (Beijing) from history in the film by using digital technology and set designs since many have forgotten how the old Chinese capital city looked like before 1949.
After “Gone with the Bullets” flopped at the box office in 2014, Jiang was absent for four years from the Chinese film industry to focus on this film – hoping to strike back. During the four years, Jiang only spared time to play a critically acclaimed role in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in 2016 and learned vital experience from Hollywood production.
During the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival held in June, where Jiang served as chairman of the jury, “Hidden Man” was voted as “the most anticipated film” while Jiang was voted as “the most anticipated director” on the predominant social network Weibo.com at the event of the Weibo Film Gala. Later, even pop diva Faye Wong contributed a theme song to the film.
“Hidden Man” stars actor Eddie Peng, Jiang Wen himself, his wife and actress Zhou Yun alongside actor Liao Fan and actress Xu Qing. It has so far received an 8.2/10 rating on Douban.com, an online movie review aggregation website. The film opened on July 13 in theaters across China.
Jiang’s new debut will intensify the Chinese summer film season even more as the new film phenomenon “Dying to Survive” has already surpassed 2-billion-yuan (US$300 million) mark on Friday after its debut just a week ago.