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Chen Kaige on his Candidate at the 2013 Oscars

2012-12-04 15:44:34        Chinese Films

Chen Kaige promoted "Caught in the Web" with his wife Chen Hong(left) and lead actress Gao Yuanyuan(right). [Photo: xinhua]

Source:TimeOut Hong Kong

When people think about Chen Kaige, they don't think about modern-day, middle-class dramas set in the chaos of cities – much less in the even more chaotic ether that is China's exploding blogosphere. From the rural classic Yellow Earth (1984) to the Palme d'Or-winning Farewell My Concubine (1993), from the immensely moving Together (2002) to the morally ambiguous and emotionally intense Sacrifice (2011), the influential Chinese director has been turning out modern classics for nearly three decades. None of those, however, comes close to matching the modern sensibility of Chen's latest, Caught in the Web, a wonderfully crafted ensemble drama about the impact of media abuse and internet witch-hunting on an intricately linked group of ordinary citizens in contemporary China. In town for the film's local premiere at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, Chen talks to Time Out about cyber bullying, his film's reception on the Mainland and the current state of Chinese cinema.

What have you been doing recently?

I've recently been preparing for a new story. I'm still at the scriptwriting stage, but I don't have a concrete schedule on when filming will start yet. Maybe some time next year.

Is it going to have a contemporary setting or a period setting?

Ideally I'd like to make one more film on contemporary issues although, at the moment, I still haven't come across a suitable story. While we know that so many things are happening [in society] and so many of them can be developed into stories, personally speaking, I still haven't found one that particularly appeals to me. So it's possible that it'll be a costume drama.

How do you usually determine if a subject is appropriate for one of your films?

Actually, I have a team that looks for suitable subjects [for my films]. As I personally feel that we have an especially close relationship with literary sources, I hope we can find suitable novels and find our way from there. It'd be more difficult to come up with a thoroughly original movie script. That's why we focus our search on novels.

Caught in the Web is based on an internet novel. When did you first come across it?

It was recommended to me by a friend about two years ago, but the story itself was published some time before that and it didn't get as much attention [as it does now]. I seem to have heard that it was nominated for a literary prize. When I read it, I thought the novel provided a very nice structure. We adopted many of the character relationships, although it took a very long time to reinvent the narrative and develop it into a movie.

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