Monday, November 23, 2009

Mulan News

One of the international ballads discussed in Stories from Songs is MULAN.

Cinematheque: Mulan is finally Chinese again! (and other film news)

This blog entry is adapted from:

Mulan, the traditional Chinese ballad that was made into the 1998 Disney movie, is finally finding its way back home to its original country. Under the direction of Jingle Ma and with Zhao Wei in the leading role, the movie about the female warrior goes up on cinemas starting Friday.

"A-lister Zhao Wei plays the brave Mulan, who joins the army in place of her aging dad. For those who doesn´t yet know the story, it goes like this:

When the country is threatened by invaders, a young girl defends her father by sneaking away from home and dressing up as a man to join an all-male army where she eventually assumes a historically critical role in defending the nation in a time of war.

The making of a feature movie about Mulan has actually been going on for years, with a number of actresses considered for the lead role, including Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi and Liu Yifei. Unconfirmed news have leaked that Zhao was been engaged in horseback and combat training in preparation for the role.

Zhao is best known for her supporting role opposite Stephen Chow in the hilarious martial arts comedy Shaolin Soccer. As an active Mandarin pop singer and actress, Zhao is one of mainland China´s leading female entertainers. She´s had some screen fighting experience in past film and television roles under the action direction of veterans like Corey Yuen and Ching Siu-tung.

Chen Kun (Painted Skin) will portray Mulan´s lover and battalion commander Wen Tai. Child actor Xu Jiao will play the young Mulan and Russian pop singer Vitas will make a cameo.

Director of this romantic drama is Jingle Ma, a prominent Hong Kong cinematographer-turned director with past action credits whose most recent work was Butterfly Lovers, from 2008."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ballad spotting: "Mad, Bad & Dangerous: The Demon Lover

In the latest issue of Realms of Fantasy (December 2009)there is a Folkroots article by SatyrPhil Brucato entitled "Mad, Bad & Dangerous: The Demon Lover." At a first quick glance the article focuses on the archetype of the Demon Lover with references to popular culture such as the Twilight series, numerous fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood. The article briefly alludes to numerous Child ballads such as "The Demon Lover," "Tam Lin," "Lady Isabel and the Elfin Knight" and "The Gypsy Lover" all discussed in my book Stories from Songs but alas, my book receives no mention.

Ah well, it is a worthwhile read nonetheless!