Friday, April 30, 2010

Maggie Cheung for Qeelin

Qeelin is a Hong Kong based jewelery company set up by designer Dennis Chan and French financier Guillaume Brochard in order to create jewelry "with China’s cultural aesthetics but with French craftsmanship" which is an interesting bit of economic/cultural turnabout--the inspiration and ingenuity for creating designs comes from China with the French entrusted only with the manufacturing and production. There is a nice puff piece on Chan in butterboom.

Maggie Cheung has been the face of Qeelin since its inception; both sides seem pleased with the relationship.

Here are some Qeelin billboards in Hong Kong featuring her last year from Qeelin's facebook pages:


An ad from the same source. Unfortunately they subscribe to the "photoshop to unrecognizability" school of celebrity ads which is becoming ubiquitous:


From the 2009 Golden Horse Awards Red Carpet, the first picture showing that Maggie knows what is important--the Qeelin watch:


Not sure if that belt--megabelts as part of an outfit were kind of on the way out by Fall of 2009--goes that well with the dress but since it is Maggie, it looks great.

And one with the boss, Guillaume Brochard:


And one more from 2009 at a Qeelin event:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gong Li cuts a ribbon.

Gong Li was in Shanghai the other day to open the Louis Vuitton flagship store on Huai Hai Road according to Sina.com, pointed to, as always, by Dennis Lee's indispensible blog. A few pictures from the event:

Here she is flanked by Yves Carcelle the CEO of LV and an unidentified guy who also gets a pair of scissors. Note to the young models behind them: When you are hired to act as the backdrop for an international movie star and a powerful and wealthy luxury goods executive who are doing something essentially silly but still deemed important enough to spend lots of time and money, don't blow it by looking hostile or grumpy. Accepted looks include: bored, slightly pained or stoned. Unacceptable looks include all of the ones shown in this picture.


The same scene a bit earlier before the scissors have come out. Yves Carcelle, even as CEO, is a merchant to his core. Here he could be pitching a time share in Hawaii to Gong Li. The models in back look, if anything, even more outrageously inappropriate. Save the contemptuous looks for the photographers while on the runway--looking like that at someone who could bury your career with a word is not the road to success.


Finally made it inside where Gong Li's forced smile shows that she might not be enjoying every moment of talking with this grinning idiot, a fat guy who thinks that a two button suit makes him look svelte. She is probably a few minutes away from having the dangerous looking security type in all black break the guy's nose.


Our chubby friend may be important since Carcelle's face is brick red as he tries to figure out just who said what to who and if anyone is about to be embarrassed or offended. The polyglot nature of gatherings like these must be a challenge--with a bit of English spoken as well as Mandarin and French and perhaps a few other languages.

One assumes that Gong Li is accessorized in LV and the black, high necked, sleeveless, keyhole cut outfit is lovely . There is one thing the seems really odd though--instead of a strapless bra (or none at all) for this outfit she seems to wearing some type of undergarment with jeweled straps that are shown clearly here. Not a bad look just an unusual (and possibly uncomfortable) one.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Zhou Xun is a Champion of the Earth.

That isn't a new Marvel Comics superhero but an award given by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). She got the "Inspiration and Action" award and immedeately donated the cash prize to earthquake relief in western China. You can read about it here or just take a look at the pictures, all of which are from UNEP.



The presentation of the the fierce looking award by Yaun Xikun, the artist who created it. The black lightbulb floating above the lion is on the backdrop and not part of the award although it might have worked--"Lights out for lions" or something like that.


A UNEP official gives her a scroll fittingly enough made from recycled glass. This may have been toward the end of the show--six awards were presented--since it seems as if her hair is getting a little unruly. Actually a nice look for Zhou Xun.


An informal moment with some of her fellow awardees. "So a polar bear, a black rhino and an ivory-billed woodpecker walk into a bar..."


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Postmodern or just cheap?

In a recent review of Mimi, Private Eye YTSL wrote "But as Hong Kong movies have shown time and time again, a lower budget work is not necessarily a lower quality nor less enjoyable effort." In his book Planet Hong Kong David Bordwell quotes Ringo Lam's philosophy of filmmaking: "No money, no time, just do it."

Time is a luxury in the movie business that can only be purchased--if a director doesn't have a big budget he must be able to set up, shoot and move on to the next shot quickly. He needs to get things right the first (or second) time. Everyone involved in the production must have the same sense of urgency; professionalism must be the rule. The gag reels of actors blowing their lines that run under the closing credits of many Jackie Chan films are funny (at least at first) but clearly that isn't the norm on most Hong Kong sets.

Among the advantages that Hong Kong didn't seem to have that its counterparts in Hollywood, Paris and London enjoyed was a co-operative municipal administration which would close streets and deploy police officers for crowd control when shooting on location. This led to an occasional unintentional postmodernist look in backgrounds of chases and shoot-outs in many crime and police dramas. Since they weren't able to control a location many directors simply dropped their scene into the middle of it although one assumes they had some clearance or premission to do so. As in many postmodernist narrative works the audience could see the artifice of the invention, the nuts and bolts of the process.

A great example of this (I will post some screen shots when I dig out the DVD) is from Fulltime Killer by Johhny To and Wa Ka-Fai. In one scene Andy Lau is running down a busy street, chasing his target and firing a handgun. In the background one doesn't see extras but citizens who happened to be on that street at that particular time, looking surprised that a movie has broken out in the middle of their lunchtime stroll. Fun stuff.

Contrast this with the opening scene of "La nuit américaine" (Day for Night), my favorite movie about movies, in which Francois Truffaut, playing a French film director, directs every movement of the actors, extras, animals and vehicles that will appear in the shot. I don't know if Truffaut actually worked this way when shooting but one thinks it is not that unusual a way of doing things.

Back for a moment to "Webs of Significance", YTSL responded to the clamor of her fans and will begin doing movie reviews again. Since she see a lot of movies this is good news indeed.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tang Wei--Red Carpet pictures over the past 3 years

Tang Wei looks either great or greater at film festivals, award presentations and movie premieres. Or premiere singular because "Lust, Caution" has been the only movie with the buzz and budget to fly her around the world for various openings. Most recently she was at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards dressed in Christian Dior and looking wonderful:


And another, just delightful:


Some commentators didn't like the combination of open-toed boots and tights and while it was not an expected mix I thought it hit the right tone of just slightly casual glamour, as if she decided while on the way out the door to change shoes:

(photos from Zimbio and Red Carpet Fashion)

At last year's Hong Kong Film Awards she wore Valentino, red with red strappy sandals. Beautifully cut, perfect color, almost no accessories. This was an outstanding look, a real "movie star" presence:

(photo from Zimbio)

At the Independent Spirit Awards, 2008. These awards are held inside a beachfront tent on the beach in Santa Monica and Tang Wei's colorfully splashy cocktail dress with her hair in a pony tail flipped over her shoulder fit the mood, as did the ultra-relaxed heavy lidded look. The top one is an extremely sexy photo.


(Photos from Zimbio)


Also in 2008 in Christian Dior at the Dior Spring/Summer collection. Another great look--and she looks quite pleased to be there:

(photo Red Carpet Fashion)

From the BAFTA Awards, London, 2008 in Jason Wu. A gorgeous dress, well cut, beautifully draped with ultra-perfect fabric. Superlative pattern:

(photo from Zimbio)

At the London Film Festival in 2008, lovely outfit and another very confident "I'm a movie star" look:


Same event, a few seconds before or after the one above. Tang Wei absolutely kills in London:

(photos from Zimbio)

At the Venice International Film Festival in 2007 the definition of simple and elegant in a column dress by Cavalli. Lots of pleats!


At the New York City premiere of "Lust, Caution" in another off the shoulder dress a bit like the one from the Hong Kong Film Awards from 2009. This one, showing her versatility, is off the other shoulder ;-)

(photo from Wire Image)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Zhang Jingchu--NGF?

Duriandave, the proprietor of the excellent Soft Film, which if you haven't visited is here, pointed out that in the previous post I had missed the outrageous shoes worn by Zhang Jingchu that, unfortunately, are as much a disaster as her dress. The sharp eyed photogs and editors as Sina.com don't miss anything, though, nor does Dennis Lee whose blog covering the Hong Kong entertainment industry led me to a bunch of shots at Sina.com.

These are the insane stripper stilettos she decided to wear on the red carpet in a major Hong Kong cultural event that received world wide coverage:

In North America, particularly among opera fans who spend as much time after a recital by a favorite singer discussing her outfits as her performance a really disastrous look will be met by the comment "No Gay Friends" (NGF). This means there was no one around her to tell her not to wear something tacky to a huge event and that she wasn't able to figure it out herself. NGF would be a bit worse than "What was she thinking" but not as bad as "She tries so hard" when confronted with a fashion catastrophe like this one.

It may be that these were from Fendi or Jimmy Choo who each sent trunkfuls of shoes to Zhang Jingchu in hope she would chose a pair but they look more like something from the markdown pages of Pleaser.com.

I realize that this post could hardly be more trivial and shallow but I may have worse (or better, depending on how you look at it) soon.

Arrivals at 29th Hong Kong Film Awards

The 29th Hong Kong Film Awards Presentation Ceremony was held at Hong Kong Cultural Center. The package of photos just arrived via Pony Express (even though they have been all over the place already) and here are a few:

Gao Yuan-Yuan in an outstanding cheongsam inspired black dress paired with killer heels, lovely upswept hair and almost no accessories. She seems to be enjoying the moment here, knowing she looks great.


Looking distinguished in another shot:


More black dress goodness--Denise Ho.


Michelle Ye in one of the best cut and draped gowns I have seen anywhere, paired with just the right jewelry. Elegant, sexy, delightful. The fabric covered buttons on the seam on her top are a very nice touch.


Shu Qi in a jeweled "chiffony" number. While she has been a controversial figure in the past one thing about Shu Qi can't be denied--she knows how to make a dress look great. This is a strapless Elie Saab number with lots of embellishments on the skirt. If I marketed upscale gowns I would send her piles of money to wear my stuff.


Another view with a very smirky Chang Chen happy that she is on his arm.


Rain Lee is thinking either "Look, I'm wearing a tent" or "Watch as I fly around the Cultural Center".


Gigi Leung looking ruefully sexy in a well cut, form fitting sheath which isn't helped by the asymetrical neckline. Other than that a lovely dress in which she looks lovely.


Big bows on evening gowns or red carpet dresses aren't usually a good idea and this one worn by Zhang Jingchu is a really big bow. She looks so good in this monstrosity that you just know she would have killed in anything decently designed. Love her hair, a nice departure from the short cuts or upswept looks that are de rigueur at most red carpet events. The tiny jeweled tiara/band sets it off perfectly.


All photos from Zimbio.com

More to come.