‘Shock’ to the Chinese system

Blockbuster's helmer sees no point in chasing Oscar glory

Feng Xiaogang’s disaster epic “Aftershock” has rocked the Chinese B.O. to become the most successful Chinese movie ever, and producer Wang Zhongjun of Huayi Brothers is keen for it to be China’s entry for the foreign-language Oscar.

“Aftershock” is the first Chinese pic to make it to an Imax screen, and so far it’s nabbed box office of $103 million and is looking good to be China’s Oscar choice; the decision is due soon.

However, there’s a lone dissenting voice in efforts to put the pic forward for consideration by the Academy — the helmer himself.

” ‘Aftershock’ will not find favor in the eyes of the Academy. Neither will it be an Oscar-winning movie, because it is meant to appeal to Chinese audiences only,” he told the China News Service.

Feng is China’s most bankable helmer; his credits include “The Banquet,” war epic “Assembly,” zippy domestic comedy “Cellphone” and “If You Are the One,” which took $48 million in 2008.

However, his relationship with Hollywood could hardly be described as a warm one, and he is quick to warn younger filmmakers in China about thinking they can make it in the U.S.

He believes that censorship makes it difficult for Chinese helmers to produce films that will work abroad, and that U.S. auds are not interested in pics with subtitles, anyway.

There is humor in his criticisms, though.

If a U.S. audience stands up to applaud, they are being polite, he says. If they think a pic is interesting, they don’t understand it. Only if auds say a movie is “kick ass” do they really like it, according to the helmer.

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