Sunday, September 20, 2009

Zhu Xuan wants World Peace

Zhu Xuan has taken the same path as Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Maggie Cheung Ho Lee, Michelle Reis, Teresa Mak, Anita Yeun and Valerie Chow to start a movie career in Hong Kong--competition in a beauty pageant. A 20 year old student in Paris she won the Miss China International Pageant held in Hong Kong in January, 2008, representing the Chinese residents of Paris where she was a student. The competion seems to be less for the title itself and more to catch the eye of decision makers in the entertainment business. It is clearly a film and TV centered event, sponsored by TVB with Eric Tsang acting as master of ceremonies and Kenny Bee on the judging panel for 2008. One recurring gag during the on camera interviews with the contestants is their difficulty with Cantonese. They are easy foils since few of the final five have been from Hong Kong--Zhu Xuan, for example, was born in Beijing and lived there for most of her life before heading to Paris.

The picture above of Zhu Xuan is from the Venice International Film Festival. Those below are from the final night of the pageant last year.

This is during one of the talent portions of the judging, her severe black bob reminding one of Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly in Chicago.

On stage, looking relaxed and quite lovely wearing a bikini and (one assumes) stilettos while being interviewed by Eric Tsang.

From a rehearsal for the big dance number.

And with her newly won crown set at a rakish angle, Miss Chinese International 2008.

For those who just can't get enough of the festivities an interview backstage in Mandarin with Dutch subtitles.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Terri Kwan, Zhu Xuan on the TIFF Red Carpet for Prince of Tears

The next stop for the Prince of Tears road trip was the Toronto International Festival where the plucky trio of Terri, Xuan and Yonfan hit the red carpet. More coverage of Toronto can be found at Dennis Lee's blog.

Our heroines' outfits seemed completely at odds with each other. The publicists may have wanted that contrast in an attempt to make a bigger press splash in a very important North American venue, they actresses may have not told each other what they were wearing or maybe they just threw on what they had. The last in unlikely since Terri Kwan wore a bright red ball gown with very little make-up and, it seems, no accessories while Zhu Xuan was carefully put together with an artistically ripped white T-shirt, black lipstick and funky accessories. Terri Kwan could have been on her way to box at the bullring in Seville or to audition for the chorus in "Carmen" while Zhu Xuan was looking for directions to the Sex Pistols concert where she planned to dive from the stage.

It was a very odd pairing but we are always happy to see beautiful women wearing almost anything.

The cut of Terri Kwan's dress combined with its lenghth and the endless ruffles make it seem very formal while the color says something else (not sure what) entirely.

She clearly decided not to let anything compete with the dress--no jewelry at all, not even earrings. This is partially due to the ambience of Toronto compared with Venice where the diamonds and platinum come out for every photoshoot lent by the merchants specifically for the world wide publicity their wares will get. Toronto (based solely on the coverage of the TIFF I have seen over the past few years) seems more informal. Venice, like Cannes, is partially a fashion show where Toronto is all about the movies. No matter what the case, Terri looked stunning. Here is a shot showing some detail of the dress and her minimal make-up and accessories look. Her lovely smile is the perfect finishing touch.

Zhu Xuan with her off the shoulder ripped T-shirt, spiky mascara, dark lipstick, dangling earrings and come-hither look presents a very different picture.

A couple of shots showing details and accessories: one transparent opera glove (?), clunky bracelets, five-pocket jeans, wide belt with a big buckle, unbuttoned vest. She makes it work but needs to get at least one more look--her smoldering, challenging look is very striking but loses its punch if seen all time time. She is very new to the business--she was a student in Paris who won the TVB sponsored Miss Chinese International Pageant just last year and has plenty of time to develop.

And the two of them, apparently still getting along.

All photos from Zimbio

Monday, September 14, 2009

Venice International Film Festival

There were plenty of photo-ops at the recent Venice International Film Festival where Accident and Lei Wangzi (Prince of Tears) were shown. Unlike the recent festival in Shanghai, where the women's outfit ranged from sublime to hideous, at Venice none of the Chinese actresses strayed far from the norm for the red carpet.

Anya, whose career survived a featured role in Naked Weapon and Tan Wei-Wei, a singer with no credits other than her current film were there supporting Chengdu, I Love You.

Tan Wei-Wei in a simple pink and revealing gown that looks great-- but clunky shoes don't help the look and she should have gone with the formal ankle tattoo.

Anya, delectably voluptuous enough to carry off a dress with both an asymetrical hem and a one-shoulder neckline

Together, looking quite fetching

Michelle Ye Xuan and Han Yuqin were supporting "Accident".

Han Yuqin in a nice red carpet gown, low cut with an understated animal print. The shoes are anything but understated. They are from the Dior spring/summer 2009 ‘Tribal Chic’ collection that is very popular among young Western actresses, Marion Cotillard the most notable of them. The heels are "inspired" by a statue of an African fertility godess--strange but true.

A close up shot show the cut of of the neckline of Han Yuqin's dress.

Michelle Ye knowing she looks great--which she does in a classically cut gown, perfect make-up, simple up-do, show stopping accessories. Simply outstanding.

A lot of sequins died to make that dress.

Huang Lu stars in Between Two Worlds which was in competition at Venice.

Here she is at a screening:

And quite pleased with the world at a photocall:

Perfect hair and make-up in the picture above. With jet black hair, cheek bones to die for and a lovely face generally she has just the right look for a minimalist approach: with her hair in a simple updo, bright red lipstick with almost no make-up otherwise and shot in bright sunlight. Looks great and knows it.

Huang Lu at the Jaeger-LeCoultre Party in Venice very much in a cat that got the canary mode. That dress is a great color but otherwise looks like a costume fitting for "The Hunchback of Notre Dame in China".

Tina Ren (Richie's wife) Michelle Ye and Huang Lu waiting for a screening to start--and the popcorn to arrive.

Oceane Zhu Xuan, Terri Kwan for Prince of Tears
Here with director Yonfan between them. Nice work if you can get it.

And without him:

Terri Kwan's "barely there" dress from the front:

Which goes perfectly with these Christopher Leboutin peep-toe pumps--and a tasteful ankle tattoo.
One more--just hanging around in the hallway, a symphony in red and black:

Lastly, because she was a guest at the Shanghai International Film Festival this year and because she was the official hostess and because there are never too many pictures of gorgeous Italian actresses, Maria Grazia Cucinotta: