Feng Xiaogang: He’s the Chinese Spielberg — only funnier

Comedy Impact Report 2011: International

The name Feng Xiaogang itself is enough to get people to go to the movies in China. While he has done epics like the ultra-serious “Aftershock,” it’s comedies such as “If You Are the One 2” ($76 million) that have made him the most bankable helmer in China. Often called the country’s Steven Spielberg, Feng endeared himself to Chinese auds via zippy domestic laffer “Cellphone,” “Big Shot’s Funeral” and the first in the “If You Are the One” franchise, which took $48 million in 2008.

“His style of comedy is Chinese, it’s based on his friends and where he grew up, all of this contribute to his brand of humor,” says his long-time producer Hu Xiaofeng. Unfortunately, local censorship means that Feng can’t always make the movies he’d like to, despite his skill for working within the parameters. Still, he’s not averse to taking a potshot at Hollywood. He made barbed comments about Harvey Weinstein at the 2010 Shanghai Film Festival, accusing him of being “a cheater in the eyes of many Chinese moviemakers” for buying local pics but not following through, after the Weinstein Co. topper made a fleeting visit.

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