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黑色电影《白日焰火》票房过亿

更新时间:2014-4-18 21:35:09 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

A Film-Noir Hit in China
黑色电影《白日焰火》票房过亿

When Chinese director Diao Yinan began shooting his third feature film, his goal was to make a detective story involving ordinary people.

The result -- 'Black Coal, Thin Ice' -- is a noirish story about a former police officer investigating a grisly murder in northern China and falling in love with a key figure in the case. It grabbed the top prize -- the coveted Golden Bear award -- at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, and Liao Fan was named best actor.

'China today is greatly changing,' Mr. Diao noted prior to Berlin. 'I wanted to make a detective film depicting life in contemporary China' and to 'create a true representation of our new reality.'

Mr. Diao graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing in the late 1980s with a major in literature, and he worked as a screenwriter before turning his attention to directing. His first two films, 'Uniform' (2003) and 'Night Train' (2007), received critical acclaim and scooped up international awards.

With 'Black Coal, Thin Ice,' Mr. Diao has found his greatest success yet. Since its release in China last month, the film has pulled in more than 100 million yuan ($16.1 million) at the domestic box office -- a notable milestone for an art-house film in the country.

It is now hitting major festivals around the world, including the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend, the Far East Film Festival in Italy later this month, and the Sydney Film Festival in June. It will also go into general release in Hong Kong, France and Germany over the next few months, with other markets expected to follow.

Mr. Diao sat down with the Journal in Beijing to talk about reworking his script in order to secure investment, the impact of international awards on Chinese audiences and his love of reading. Edited excerpts:

You have said that Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story 'Wakefield,' about a husband who vanishes from his home for 20 years, inspired 'Black Coal, Thin Ice.'

At first, I wanted to write about a man in an irrational mental state. My original idea was that a man leaves home but secretly spies on his wife and kid for years, but then he eventually returns home. I wanted to show how irrational this man could be. Insanity always includes something complicated.

What changes did you make while writing the screenplay?

The first version was a very artistic story. The second one was based on a news story about a legal case, but it was too serious and had little commercial elements, and so it was hard to find investment.

So you added a love story in the final version. Why?

Love encompasses a lot -- it is not only about saying 'I love you,' dating and getting married. The most attractive part of love is before a couple says, 'I love you' to each other. It is what love really is. The leading female role was only a minor character in the first two versions. It was added as a result of commercial considerations, and also a result of my renewed understanding about love.

Your three films use crime as a theme. Why?

Crime is what people carry out when they struggle in life or are tortured by their feelings when they are lonely. It is a vivid expression of the relationship between humans and society. Everyone has an impulse inside that is waiting to be triggered. I always give a sympathetic look at those dark souls.

Is there anything you won't compromise on when meeting with potential investors?

The pursuit of art. The director must be the one in charge. The tone of the film cannot be altered. On the other hand, I understand that investors need to earn a profit. These two objectives can be coordinated. Luckily, we reached a win-win situation with this film.

What were your box-office expectations?

Right after the film won in Berlin, I did not expect it would earn so much. I thought it would be awesome if it could reach 50 million yuan, because many art-house films only earn about one or two million yuan in China's cinemas. Both the film and the leading actor won in Berlin, which triggered audiences' curiosity, so we got quite a lot of attention -- it became an event film. [Chinese film authorities] supported this film, which helped to expand the number of screenings. All of that contributed to the box office.

What are your thoughts on authorities' support?

It went beyond my expectations. I think it is a good thing. It really can help to change the market structure -- if the leadership takes the lead to support art-house film, audiences will be influenced.

Could it happen again?

Yes, because Chinese directors of art-house films are very capable. They can definitely make films that are entertaining and intriguing.

Does international recognition influence domestic audiences?

Many of the local audiences are watching the film simply because it won big awards. Chinese people are not that confident about our own work -- not until others recognize it. They go to watch it no matter whether they really understand it or not, but maybe some of them will fall in love with this kind of film after watching it.

What do you do in your free time?

Stare in a daze, play poker with friends and reading. In college, my classmates and I competed to see who could read more and whose books were more off the mainstream.

当中国导演刁亦男开始拍摄他的第三部作品——《白日焰火》(Black Coal, Thin Ice)时,他的目标是拍出一部讲述普通人故事的侦探悬疑片。

《白日焰火》是一部黑色电影,故事发生在中国北方,讲述一名警察对一起可怕的谋杀案开展调查,却爱上了案件中的一个关键人物。该片在2月份的柏林国际电影节上获得了最佳影片“金熊奖”,主演廖凡获得最佳男演员“银熊奖”。

在该片摘夺柏林电影奖之前,刁亦男说:“如今中国的变化很大,我当时就想拍一部描绘当代中国生活的侦探悬疑片,创作一部真正代表新现实的影片。”

刁亦男上世纪80年代末毕业于北京中央戏剧学院文学系。毕业后他从事编剧工作,后来开始自己当导演。他导演的第一部电影《制服》(2003年)和第二部电影《夜车》(2007年)深受好评,并在国际电影节上获奖。

凭藉《白日焰火》,刁亦男取得了迄今为止事业上的最大成功。该片上个月在中国公映,国内票房收入超过人民币1亿元(约合1,610万美元),作为一部国产文艺片,成绩卓越。

《白日焰火》接下来还将参赛全球其他重大电影节,其中包括本周末的翠贝卡电影节(Tribeca Film Festival)、本月晚些时候的意大利远东电影节(Far East Film Festival)以及6月份的悉尼电影节(Sydney Film Festival)。未来几个月《白日焰火》将在香港、法国和德国公映,之后预计还将在其他一些市场公映。

刁亦男在北京接受了《华尔街日报》的专访,谈到自己如何为了吸引投资而修改剧本、在国际上拿奖对中国观众的影响以及他对阅读的热爱。以下是这次访谈的节选:

《华尔街日报》:你说拍摄《白日焰火》的灵感来自霍桑(Nathaniel Hawthorne)的一部讲述丈夫离家出走20年的短篇小说《威克菲尔德》(Wakefield)。

刁亦男:起初,我想写一个精神状态不正常的男人。我最初的构思是写这个男人离家出走,秘密窥视自己的妻子和孩子多年,但是最后又回到了家里。我想表现这个男人有多不正常。疯狂的背后总是隐藏着一些复杂的东西。

《华尔街日报》:写剧本的时候你做了哪些修改?

刁亦男:第一个版本很文艺。第二个版本取材于一宗案件的新闻报道,但内容太严肃了,几乎没有商业元素,所以很难找到投资。

《华尔街日报》:所以你在最终版本中加入了一个爱情故事。为什么?

刁亦男:爱情包含许多东西,不仅仅是说“我爱你”,约会,然后结婚。爱情最吸引人的部分是在恋人彼此说“我爱你”之前,那才是爱的真正含义。在前两个版本中,女主人公只是一个没多少分量的配角。加入爱情故事是出于商业考虑,也是因为我对爱情有了新的理解。

《华尔街日报》:你的三部电影都与犯罪有关。为什么?

刁亦男:当人们在现实生活中挣扎或者在孤独时被情感所折磨,他们就会犯罪。这是对人与社会关系的一种宣泄。每个人的内心都会有犯罪的冲动,等待一个契机把它点燃。对于人性中的这些阴暗面我总是抱有同情。

《华尔街日报》:在与潜在投资方见面时,有什么是你不会做出妥协的么?

刁亦男:对艺术的追求。电影拍摄必须是导演说了算。电影的基调不能改变。另一方面,我也理解投资方需要获利。这两个目标可以协调起来。幸运的是,在这部电影里,我们实现了双赢。

《华尔街日报》:您对票房的预期如何?

刁亦男:这部电影刚刚在柏林获奖时,我没有想到票房会这么高。我觉得如果能达到人民币5,000万元就不错了。因为很多艺术片在中国院线的票房收入只有人民币一二百万元。《白日焰火》及其主演均在柏林电影节上获奖,这激起观众的好奇心,所以我们受到很多关注,它已经成为一部事件电影。中国电影管理部门支持这部电影,这有助于提高其排片率。所有这些因素都对票房构成提振。

《华尔街日报》:你怎么看有关部门的支持?

刁亦男:超出我的预期。我觉得这是好事。它的确可以改变市场结构——如果管理部门带头支持艺术片,观众就会受到影响。

《华尔街日报》:这种情况可能重现么?

刁亦男:会的,因为中国艺术片导演的能力很强。他们肯定可以制作出具有娱乐性和趣味性的电影。

《华尔街日报》:国际认可会影响国内观众吗?

刁亦男:很多国内观众看这部电影只是因为它得了大奖。在得到其他人认可之前,中国人对国产电影不是很有信心。不管是否真正看懂,他们会去看这部电影,但可能有些人在看过之后会喜欢上这种类型的电影。

《华尔街日报》:您业余时间会做什么?

刁亦男:发呆、和朋友打牌、读书。上大学的时候,我和同学们比赛,看谁读的书多,谁读的书更加非主流。

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