Chinese 'Sun' adapted from Ye Mi's novel
The full-page ads announcing “The Sun Also Rises” are meant to trumpet the return of Chinese helmer Jiang Wen.The film, which is competing in Venice and part of the official selection in Toronto, marks the thesp-director’s return to the film scene after his unauthorized submission of “Devils on the Doorstep” to Cannes got him blacklisted in 2000. But for many readers, the trade ads — with their glowing orange tones and silhouetted figures — might easily be mistaken for an announcement that China’s film biz has suddenly embraced American literature in a big way. The title, of course, is famous to Westerners as the title of Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 roman a clef, which follows a group of American expats on a pilgrimage to the bullfights in Spain after WWI. A bigscreen version starring Tyrone Power was released in 1957. But Jiang’s “Sun” is no reheated Hemingway. It’s actually adapted from Ye Mi‘s novel “Velvet,” and follows four interconnected stories across multiple time periods. Jiang has described the film as “a poetic rhapsody of memory, madness, serendipity and an ode to pleasure and fantasy.” Emperor Motion Pictures is handling international sales on Jiang’s “Sun,” but buyer beware: The film is more akin to “Babel” than Papa Hemingway. Both works do share a common root, though. Their titles are derived from a Bible passage, in Ecclesiastes, in which all earthly attainments are dismissed as vanity: “The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.”
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