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Since Zhang Yimou’s 2006 martial arts, royal palace epic “The Curse of the Golden Flower,” the internationally renowned Chinese director returns with the highly anticipated comedy, crime thriller “Amazing Tales: Three Guns,” remake of Coen Brothers’ 1984 “Blood Simple.” Zhang has not made a motion picture in the past three years mostly due to his directorial role in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.
In his new film, Zhang is said to have gone against his usual style and exaggerated every element of the film. In addition to the original film’s suspenseful plot, the comedic parts are especially over-the-top, not necessarily in a bad way. The murderous/revenge story takes place at a rural noodle shop. The film is also known as “A Simple Noodle Story” in mainland China. The scale of the film set is relatively small in comparison with Zhang’s past films, but the budget is not necessarily smaller.
In his new creative work, Zhang casts professional actors such as Sun Honglei and a school of folk performance artists including Xiao Shenyang and Mao Mao. These artists, taught and managed by the nation’s top rated comedian Zhao Benshan, are originally Errenzhuan (one form of Chinese folk singing and dancing) performers and have been featured in the official Chinese New Year Gala, on various stages across the nation, and in TV shows and motion pictures in the past few years. Their rising popularity has also been a bonus to the film’s promotional events.
“Amazing Tales: Three Guns” is a visually stunning film, which is now expected of any Zhang Yimou motion picture. How Zhang’s adventurous attempt at this folk comedy is received by the audience, we will soon see. For now, the film’s box office has reached 100 million RMB in the opening weekend.