December 27, 2007

East Asian Film And TV News & Trends In 2007

It's almost the end of the year and time once again for reflections on what happened in this past year ;-P Wow time flies, it seems that it was only yesterday that I was celebrating the 2007 New Year. I think that this has been a pretty decent year for East Asian films and TV dramas on a whole. Here is a general recap of the news and trends that have caught my attention this year.

1. Chinese Movie Of The Year: Lust, Caution

This film was the most talked about Chinese movie in 2007. With Ang Lee's signature low-key approach, attention to detail, the engrossing storyline and great acting by Tony Leung and Tang Wei in some of the most daring erotic scenes ever seen in an Asian movie, it comes as no surprise that this film enjoyed fantastic box-office takings throughout Asia and won the Golden Lion and seven awards at this year's Golden Horse Awards.

2. Ancient Is Golden

Period movies and drama serials continue to be popular in Korean and Chinese dramas and films in 2007. Big-budget period movies with star-studded casts and state-of-the-art CGI like The Warlords performed very well at the box-office. The period drama boom was also seen in Korean drama serials with period dramas like Jumong and Taewangsasingi snaring the top positions in television ratings. This period boom looks set to continue in 2008 with the release of the most expensive Chinese film ever made - Red Cliff during the Beijing Olympics.

3. More Pan-Asian Co-productions

Co-productions between different Asian countries seem to have become the norm in 2007. From arthouse productions like director Kim Ki-duk's Breath starring Taiwanese actor Chang Chen to Japanese hits like Hero with Korean actor Lee Byung-hun in a cameo role to big-budget Chinese flicks like The Warlords and Red Cliff that are financed by investors throughout East Asia, filmmakers are cooperating in more ways than ever to expand a film's appeal to a wider pan-Asian audience.

4. Quest For New Themes

To counter the whimsical and fast-changing tastes of viewers, movie and drama makers must come up with new themes at an ever-increasing speed. This is especially apparent in the Korean TV drama market where it seems that viewers have become increasingly tired of the same romantic drama plot used countless times in the past. To maintain viewer interest, TV stations and production houses have had to come up with new themes for their dramas. This has resulted in the type and range of drama serials expanding considerably this year. From dramas about money lenders to police action thrillers to romantic comedies with "cross-dressing"themes, this aggressive search for new themes have already yielded gems like War Of Money, Time Between Dog And Wolf and First Shop Of Coffee Prince. It remains to be seen if this exploratory approach will continue into 2008...

5. International Recognition

East Asian films continue to perform well in international film awards in 2007. Lust, Caution took home the Golden Lion and Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon won the prestigious Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine, only the second time an Asian actress has won this award in the history of the Cannes Film Festival.

All-in-all, 2007 has been a good year for Asian films and dramas. Let's hope for an even better 2008 :-)

Have A Happy New Year!

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