ALL ABOUT WOMEN PREMIERES

TSUI HARK IS MORE WOMANLY THAN WOMEN; MISSING EXTENDED 4HRS SEVEN SWORDS DVD EXPLAINED

 On December 9, gala premiere of the romantic comedy All About Women was held in Beijing, attended by the director Tsui Hark and cast members Zhou Xun, Gui Lun Mei, Zhang Yu Qi, Stephen Fung, Eddie Peng etc.

In the film, Zhou Xun is an antiquated doctor who petrifies upon contact with any man. Kwai Lun Mei plays a rock band singer who has violent inclinations, and often hallucinates about having a perfect boyfriend. Zhang Yu Qi is a self-centred entrepreneur who doesn’t believe in having a boyfriend.

Much money was spent on creating topsy-turvy appearances of the three women that challenge their past roles.

As a doctor, Zhou Xun‘s looks are especially far-fetched, with exaggerated mushroom head, thick-rimmed glasses, such that she’s hardly recognisable. However, Zhou Xun says that this is not the most outlandish, when filming, she once had a record of changing 12 different costumes, 12 different make-ups in one single day, “Even if it took half an hour for each make-up, it would still mean 6 hrs of being ‘manipulated’ by others, I felt like a puppet, very exhausting.”

The innocent looking Kway Lun Mei is turned into a boxer, a barbaric rock-and-roll singer. Actually, she’s merely putting on a loutish facade to hide her weaknesses. She has a perfect boyfriend, but only in her fantasy. Her pursuers think of means to get her back to the reality, but she only wishes to remain in her imaginary world.

Gui Lun Mei comments on the costumes, “It’s the first time I realised a costume designer can be so miraculous. Putting on the clothes by Zhang Shu Ping, I felt as it I’m transformed into another person. Yet, this is a far cry from my usual self.”

Zhang Yu Qi plays a career woman who is 10 years older than her actual age, a beauty who sweeps everyone off their feet, and a chic, highbrow demoness in the business world. She has no faith in love, yet would not mind using marriage as her stepping stone to advance her career. Zhang Yu Qi’s character’s the most money-burning, wearing expensive designer’s labels, and travelling in different limousines each time.

However, all these expensive items are actually giving Zhang Yuqi some pressure, “I feared dirtying the clothes, scratching the car, it’s a big burden. So my bodyguards were not protecting me, rather they’re taking care of the clothes, the cars, etc.”

Are you green enough?With the earth in critical situation as a result of climate change, Tsui Hark never forgets to put across some green message in his film. This time around it’s through Alex Fong Chung Sun‘s character, a green professor who sports a moustache, one working at a green farm, often getting grimy and dusty, doing all kinds of weird researches, “The professor I’m playing is an environmentalist who does green researches, so, he must not be dressed too elaborately, he dresses only in simple clothing.”

Stephen Fung plays another a rock-and-roll singer, one who’s besotted. He joined the production mainly due to his passion for muzak, in the film he gets to hold a big rock concert.

Eddie Peng also gets fixed by Tsui Hark as well, playing a nerdy, bespectacled guy, one in unilateral love. According to Kwak Jae Young, he will suffer a fate worse than Cha Tae Hyeon in My Sassy Girl, as the girl he meets is way more barbaric than Jun Ji Hyun.

Henry Fong as Zhou Xun's superiorApart from the main casts, the film has cameos from four major directors Cheung Chi Leung, Kwak Jae Young, Tsui Hark himself and Henry Fong, playing an unlucky patient, a noodle restaurant patron, a taxi driver, Zhou Xun’s boss respectively. However, Tsui Hark and Henry Fong’s scenes may not make it to the theatrical cut and might only be seen on DVD/Blu-ray.

Zhou Xun finds Tsui Hark to be a colourful and amusing person, while shooting this film, she got to sample many different lives everyday, as if she was on a playground. All three unanimously agree that Tsui Hark is a very versatile actor and can be more feminine than women, often doing demonstrations himself on how he wants them to act, such as showing Zhang Yuqi how to cast a coquettish look.

Zhou Xun reveals that even the crew on the set were so impressed with Tsui Hark that they would often bring their hands together spontaneously. Tsui Hark was even nominated Best Supporting Actor for his role as a triad chief in Final Victory, “but didn’t win, so I’m back to the director’s chair.”

Having great love for his movies, Tsui Hark would do the editing according to his whims, and in the end, the final cut often is much longer than the standard running time of 1 1/2 hrs. One such example is Seven Swords, which was over 4 hrs long on the director’s cut, with the story more complete and enthralling. However, he was forced to cut down the length by half for the theatrical release.

On mention of this, Tsui Hark expresses great regret. He had wanted to produce the extended 4hrs cut on DVD. However, he discovered that the additional material was not dubbed, and lacked music, sound effects, etc. If he were to release the extended cut, it would require much resources, gathering everyone back to work on post-production. In the end, it was shelved.

So, this time around, for All About Women, having learnt his lesson, Tsui Hark would finish post-production first. After which he would make the director’s cut, lasting 3 hrs, and then the shorter theatrical cut. Should there be demands, they would release All About Women director’s cut on DVD/BD.  

All About Women opens in China on December 11.  Sina, Sohu, MTime

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