×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Unusual Atmospherics Abound at Beijing Festival Opening

The opening ceremony of the seventh edition of the Beijing International Film Festival took place Sunday night amid a tight security cordon at Huairou, and the wind blowing white lint from the poplar trees that surround the city.

As well as a spectacular permanent theater, the far-flung Beijing suburb is home to China Film Group’s studio complex, and the opening events briefly crimped the filming schedule of Zhang Yimou’s upcoming “Shadow.”

Films will play across the Chinese capital for the next week (April 16-23). They will compete for eyeballs with “The Fate of the Furious,” which broke records this weekend in commercial theaters. Festival organizers denied that the absence of any Korean films was a political decision linked to the current diplomatic and economic standoff between China and South Korea sparked by Seoul’s decision to deploy a controversial missile-defense system.

The festival’s opening ceremony in Huairou mixed up daring acrobatics with speeches and introductions but no film screening. The opening title of the BJIFF’s film panorama, Derek Hui’s “This Is Not What I Expected,” played elsewhere.

It was, however, an occasion for promoting upcoming Chinese films, including “Monkey King 3,” with supermodel-turned-actress Lin Chiling and acting-singing superstar Aaron Kwok in attendance.

Jury members including Jean Reno, Rob Minkoff, Mabel Cheung, Emir Kusturica and Bille August trod the red carpet. So. too, did Indian superstar Aamir Khan, who is set to take part Monday in a festival-arranged seminar on international co-production.

Instead of airborne lint, the following morning Beijing was hit by further unusual atmospherics: a rare combination of smog and a sprinkling of sand blown in from the Gobi Desert.

More Film

  • Brightburn review

    Film Review: 'Brightburn'

    “Superman” meets “The Omen” in “Brightburn,” a watchable but super-silly mix of superheroics and evil-child horror that mashes together singularly uninspired ideas from both. Offering R-rated fantasy competition to “Aladdin” this Memorial Day weekend, it should do OK with undiscriminating audiences seeking familiar, forgettable genre thrills. But the franchise prayers that an open-ended fadeout dangles [...]

  • Aladdin

    Film Review: Will Smith in 'Aladdin'

    Of all the characters in Walt Disney Studios’ canon, is there any more animated than the Genie from “Aladdin”? In 1992, old-school cartooning seemed the only way to keep up with comedian Robin Williams’ rapid-fire sense of humor and free-associative gift for improvisation. Much of the appeal of the original “Aladdin” came thanks to the [...]

  • Cannes: European Auteurs Launch Appeal to

    Cannes: European Auteurs Launch Appeal to Get E.U. Elections Vote Out

    A group of 500 prominent European auteurs – including heavyweights attending Cannes such as Céline Sciamma, Pawel Pawlikowski, and Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne – have launched an impassioned appeal to citizens of the 28 European Union nations to get out the vote at the upcoming May 23-26 E.U. parliamentary elections. “It is true, Europe is hardly [...]

  • Photograph by Svetlana Cvetko

    Blitz Films' Eryl Cochran Talks About Indie Film in Challenging Market

    Eryl Cochran heads production & development at production and financing shingle Blitz Films, where she works alongside company founders, filmmakers Nikolay and Sergey Sarkisov. Blitz, launched in 2018, is carving out a niche in the indie world with an eye for emerging talent. Blitz’s slate includes “Show Me What You Got,” directed by cinematographer Svetlana [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content