You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Low-key vibe to Shanghai festival

Event kicks off 10th anniversary

SHANGHAI — Despite Sharon Stone’s presence, the opening frames of the Shanghai Film Festival were unashamedly local and curiously low key given the event’s 10th anni.

Day one of the fest kicked off with a handful of international names meeting the local press. Stone received a framed picture portraying classical Chinese opera “Farewell My Concubine” from the city’s party secretary and secretary general of the festival, Ren Zhonglun.

Thesps Reggie Lee and Michelle Rodriguez put in appearances and were treated to questions about the difference between sexiness in the West and in China.

Outside the city’s Grand Theater, scene of the opening ceremony, police closed off roads for several blocks and marshaled the excitable human traffic. Crowds were treated to a succession of local celebrities — though not the biggest names in the biz.

Stars turned out, from China mostly, plus a good number of Hong Kongers. Giving the crowd what they came for were Zhou Xun, Feng Xiaogang, Jia Jiangke, Tian Zhuangzhuang, Simon Yam, Maggie Cheung, Johnnie To, Eric Tsang, Daniel Wu, Shu Qi, Chapman To, Korean star Lee Jun-gi and Japanese veteran Yoji Yamada. Execs in attendance included Tsui Siuming and Tsuguhiko Kadokawa.

But the A-listers from the mainland and Hong Kong were absent. Even Jay Chou, the Taiwanese singing sensation turned actor-director, who had attended a junket earlier in the day, was not there. The crowds were entertained by a Mongolian band (corny), some lounge-style formation dancing (almost sexy) and a solo tenor singing Puccini (powerful, but incongruous). In between were a couple of lifetime achievement awards, Chen Kaige’s presentation of the jury, a run-through of clips and, astonishingly, no speeches from politicos or industry apparatchiks. For that omission auds thanked the discipline of live TV.

Rather than go with a mainland movie, opening-night film was Hong Kong-made crimer “Eye in the Sky,” which preemed in Berlin and previously opened the Hong Kong fest in March.

Day two of the festival began with the opening of the new Film Mart. Clearly intended to boost Shanghai’s international film business acumen, the small collection of mostly local stalls were bustling but distinctly lacking in foreign buyers.

Around 30 Chinese companies, mostly studios and production facilities, peddled their wares (a mix of films and TV series) over two floors of the fest-affiliated Crowne Plaza Hotel. Hidden away on a higher floor, a handful of overseas exhibitors were doing very little business but hoping things would pick up before the mart ends Tuesday.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Bull

    Annie Silverstein's 'Bull' Takes Top Awards, Robert Pattinson Starrer 'The Lighthouse' Wins Jury Prize at Deauville

    Annie Silverstein’s feature debut “Bull” swept three awards at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for best first film and the Critics’ Prize. “Bull,” a portrait of a rebellious teenage girl from South Texas, world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard and marks Silverstein’s follow up to her [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Dances Toward $32 Million Opening Weekend

    “Hustlers” is eyeing the biggest opening weekend ever for STXFilms, following a Friday domestic ticket haul of $13.1 million from 3,250 theaters. If estimates hold, the stripper saga could take home around $32 million come Sunday, marking the best live-action opening of Jennifer Lopez’s career. “Hustlers” follows a group of former strip club dancers, led [...]

  • Hustlers intimacy coordinator

    Meet the Stripper Consultant Who Gave 'Hustlers' Authenticity, Dignity and Sexual Freedom

    At last week’s Toronto Film Festival premiere of “Hustlers,” an audience of Hollywood heavyweights and Canadian locals applauded as a statuesque woman strutted on stage, rocking six-inch platform heels and a pastel tie-dye bodysuit. This adoration was not for stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu or Keke Palmer, nor was it for the film’s acclaimed writer-director [...]

  • Kristen Stewart

    French Director Olivier Assayas Pays Tribute to Kristen Stewart at Deauville

    French director Olivier Assayas paid tribute to Kristen Stewart, whom he directed in “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper,” at the Deauville American Film Festival on Friday evening. Stewart received a honorary award in Deauville before the French premiere of Benedict Andrews’s “Seberg” in which the actress stars as Jean Seberg, a French New [...]

  • Liam Gallagher: As It Was

    Film Review: 'Liam Gallagher: As It Was'

    Liam Gallagher is nearly as fascinating a rock ‘n’ roll figure as he thinks he is … which is saying a lot. After the breakup of Oasis, one of the most self-avowedly arrogant stars in pop culture found himself severely humbled, fighting to become relevant again without the help of Noel, his ex-bandmate and, for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content