Perfect Life (film)

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Perfect Life
Directed byEmily Tang
Produced byChow Keung
Jia Zhangke
Li Xiudong
StarringYao Qianyu
Chen Taisheng
Jenny Tse
CinematographyLai Yiu-fai
Editing byChow Keung
StudioXstream Pictures
Distributed byCelluloid Dreams
Release dates
  • August 27, 2008 (2008-08-27) (Venice)
Running time101 minutes
CountryChina
LanguageMandarin
 
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Perfect Life
Directed byEmily Tang
Produced byChow Keung
Jia Zhangke
Li Xiudong
StarringYao Qianyu
Chen Taisheng
Jenny Tse
CinematographyLai Yiu-fai
Editing byChow Keung
StudioXstream Pictures
Distributed byCelluloid Dreams
Release dates
  • August 27, 2008 (2008-08-27) (Venice)
Running time101 minutes
CountryChina
LanguageMandarin

Perfect Life is a 2008 Chinese-Hong Kong film by Emily Tang and produced by director Jia Zhangke (who received a co-producer credit) and his company, Xstream Pictures. The film mixes elements of dramatic fiction and documentary film.

Release and screenings[edit]

With the backing of the established director, Jia Zhangke, Perfect Life had relatively high profile screenings at a variety of major international film festivals. Its international premiere, for example, was during the 65th Venice Film Festival, as part of the side program, "Horizons."[1] Perfect Life also competed in the Asia-focused Dragons and Tigers program in the 2009 Vancouver International Film Festival, a program which it won due to "the way it captures the harshness of Chinese reality through its fictional protagonist, and for the subtlety of its wonderfully free storytelling," according to the award jury.[2] The film also captured the "Golden Digital Prize" at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.[3]

Melbourne controversy[edit]

Perfect Life was subject of some controversy in 2009 when it was pulled by Jia from the Melbourne International Film Festival, along with Jia's own Cry Me a River.[4] The decision by Jia was due to the Melbourne Film Festival's decision to air a documentary film, The 10 Conditions of Love, about the Uigher advocate, Rebiya Kadeer, who is a highly controversial figure in China.[4] In a letter to the festival's organizers, Jia stated that pulled both to protest against Kadeer's attendance of the event. A third film, the Chinese documentary Petition, was also withdrawn due to the controversy.[4]

Reception[edit]

Despite its win at Vancouver, the film received mixed reviews from western critics. Derek Elley of the industry magazine, Variety, called it "rote, anomie-heavy" and ultimately a "step back after Tang's promising 2001 debut, Conjugation.[1] While an Asian-cinema focused academic magazine found the film's mix of drama and documentary elements to be an unsuccessful stylistic choice.[5] A similar review came from The Hollywood Reporter, which also questioned the mix of the documentary film story starring the real Jenny Tse, and the fictional story starring Yao Qianyu, noting that the film fails is that the audience "never quite understand the connection between the two."[6]

The film did have its champions, however. Some found the film's style far more palatable and one reviewer listed it as one of the top independent and foreign films from 2008.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Elley, Derek (2008-09-01). "Perfect Life Review". Variety. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  2. ^ "FILMS-Dragons & Tigers: The Cinema of East Asia". Vancouver International Film Festival. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  3. ^ Shackleton, Liz (2009-04-01). "Perfect Life takes Golden Digital award". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  4. ^ a b c Boland, Michaela (2009-06-26). "Hackers hit Melbourne Fest Site". Variety. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  5. ^ Hu, Brian (2009-04-17). "HKIFF 2009: Capsule Reviews". Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  6. ^ Gautaman Bhaskaran (2008-09-02). "Film Review: Perfect Life". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-01-26. [dead link]
  7. ^ Timmermann, Josh (2009-01-15). "Outside the Lines - The Top 20 International/Indie Films of 2008". PopMatters. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 

External links[edit]