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Chinese comedy films face challenge

Kungfu Hustle, Cell Phone, A World without Thief ... Comedy films have found a bigger stage in Chinese cinema in recent years. However, insiders say it's very difficult to produce good comedy, and that Chinese films face great challenges.

The box office miracle that Kungfu Hustle created, as well as the popularity of New Year films, which boast funny dialogues and happy endings, all point to the great potential of comedy films in China. Not only have actors like Stephen Chow and Ge You become comedy superstars, but funny dialogue between characters has become classic lines.

However, insiders say comedy is facing hard times. The death of comedic actors Fu Biao and Gao Xiumin in 2005 was bad news enough for the industry. But even director Feng Xiaogang, known for the immense humor in his films, is taking a turn away from comedy to shoot an ancient costume movie called The Banquet.

Comedic actor Liang Tian says many filmmakers are shunning the genre because of the great difficulty in shooting these types of films.

"Good comedy needs the effort of a whole team. To come up with the story really needs extra wisdom, and it's difficult for one person to work out all the funny parts. That's why few people dare to touch upon comedy topics," he said.

Another problem, according to Liang, is the lack of professional comedy production teams. Because of the difficulty in shooting comedy, companies always hesitate to invest. The result is, filmmakers who are really keen on making a comedy had better be director, scriptwriter and even actor all in one.

Also, the performance style of many comedy actors have been criticized as outdated. Jia Leilei from the China Art Research Academy has this to say.

"Many actors try to create humor by exaggeration in body language, or by the excessive use of dialects. But that's only vulgar. It's not funny at all," he said.

But that's not to say comedy films are without hope. At the beginning of last year, Hong Kong director Stephen Chow's Kungfu Hustle created 160 million yuan at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing Chinese comedy film ever.

The use of computer stunts created dazzling visual effects in the film, but the main traits of traditional character of Kungfu comedy are still kept intact.

Director Han Zhijun says mainland filmmakers have a lot to learn from Hong Kong comedy films.

"Their way of shooting and performing is new to mainland audience. They created new ways of traditional comedy," he said.


 Source :   Editor: WuLin
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