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Chinese see Zhang pic after 3-year delay

'Jasmine Women' wrapped in early 2003

“Jasmine Women,” a Chinese pic starring Zhang Ziyi, will be released on the Chinese mainland Tuesday after a three-year delay caused by investor disputes.

The helming debut of cinematographer Hou Yong, who adapted the screenplay from a bestselling novel by Su Tong, “Jasmine Women” is a tale of three generations of women starting in 1930s Shanghai.

“The funding of the movie came from a variety of sources. Some of the investors were really greenhands at movies. So there were many quarrels and fights on issues such as copyright and distribution rights,” said Dong Ping, prexy of distributor Asian Union Film & Media.

“Jasmine Women” wrapped in early 2003 and preemed at the Tokyo fest in November 2004, but has since been recut and not been released anywhere in the world.

Asian Union has bought the rights from the other investors. Dong said he probably would not seek money from outside investors for future productions.

Pic was the first title picked up by Australian and U.S.-based sales agent Arclight Films for its new Asian movies division, Easternlight, which is repping rights in all territories, including China.

The decision to release the movie in time for the weeklong May holiday in China has angered local exhibitors. The slot is already congested, with seven movies due to bow.

It is unlikely to be shown in Shanghai initially for this reason, even though the film’s action takes place there and much of the dialogue is in the dialect of that city.

Pic will be released in Japan and Southeast Asia next month and in Europe and U.S. after June.

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