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Zhou’s ‘Baby’ rocks Pfahl Film’s world

Studio to produce controversial tale

CANNES — Germany’s Berengar Pfahl Film is to produce “Shanghai Baby,” a tale of sexual liberation in modern China, based on bestselling novel by banned novelist (Zhou) Wei Hui.

Story features a Chinese woman who is torn between her oriental traditions and her lust for a western lifestyle. She also must choose between two men — one in Shanghai, the other in Berlin. Book sold six million copies and has been translated into 34 languages.

Movie will star Chinese thesp Bai Ling, in Cannes for Richard Kelly’s “Southland Tales,” and Germany’s Katja Riemann. The U.K.’s Hubbard Casting is looking for the male leads.

English-language screenplay, from which Berengar Pfahl will direct, is penned by Margaret Hennig and Martin Hennig, Pfahl and Wei Hui

Production is skedded to begin in September in Shanghai followed by a week in Berlin in October.

The $10 million budget is fully financed by Pino Curzio’s Italo-German private equity operation A.M.I.

“We had many offers from international companies, but Berengar was interested straight away in the art of the film. What’s more he is already making TV shows in Shanghai,” said Zhou.

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