After an underwhelming performance with his last directed film, Dragon <武俠>, in 2011, Hong Kong film director and producer, Peter Chan (陳可辛) decides to take new strides for his next big project. The 50-year-old is currently busy preparing for the post-production of his latest film, American Dreams in China <中国合伙人>, which is set to premiere in mainland Chinese theaters on April 16. American Dreams in China is Peter’s first contemporary film to exclusively target the mainland Chinese audience. The film is also Peter’s first contemporary directed film since Perhaps Love <如果·愛> in 2005.
American Dreams in China is a story on the struggles of three Chinese men, who grow from being moneyless college students to multi-billionaire owners of a popular English cram school chain. Loosely based on a true story, the film will cover thirty years of the men’s lives – from China’s economic recovery in the 1980s to the booming 21st century.
The film was partially filmed in New York City, featuring Columbia University and other notable local landmarks.
Peter announced the film’s release date at the film’s press conference in Beijing on Tuesday. Also attending the press conference was leading stars Tong Dawei (佟大为), Deng Chao (邓超), and leading actress Du Juan(杜鹃). The film’s third male lead, Huang Xiaoming (黄晓明), is still recuperating from his leg injury, and was absent at the press conference.
The film’s theatrical trailer and poster were also unveiled at the press conference. Tong Dawei, Deng Chao, and Du Juan also appeared at the press conference wearing their costumes from the film. The three leads spoke about their quirky and interesting experiences during the shooting of the film, which was shot in Beijing, Tianjin, and New York.
The three leads also shared their representative film prop to the press audience. Deng Chao shared his large, old-school leather suitcase, hinting that his character in the film is someone who is goal-oriented and persistent; the suitcase is evidence of his youth. Tong Dawei brought out a bicycle, joking that the vehicle reminds him of his “romantic” scene with Huang Xiaoming, where he rode around the city with Xiaoming sitting on his rear seat. Du Juan took out an English translation of the novel Dream of the Red Chamber <紅樓夢>, and read out a few lines to the audience.
At the press conference, Peter was asked about the film’s competition with Vicki Zhao’s (赵薇) upcoming directorial debut So Young <致我们终将逝去的青春>, which will be released ten days after American Dreams in China. Like American Dreams in China, So Young, a live-action adaptation from a novel of the same name, also features a coming-of-age story and the changing relationships between close friends.
Peter stated, “Both films have a bit of an old-school feel, but Americans Dreams in China is more contemporary. The subject matter is also different.”
Critics praised Peter’s realistic capture of mainland Chinese society in the film. Many old-school pop songs will also be played throughout the film. The music license fees reportedly cost over several million dollars. “Definitely not any cheaper that CGI, but I think these songs are necessary for the film,” said Peter.
Cui Jian’s (崔健) “Rock ‘N’ Roll on the New Long March” <新長征路上的搖滾> and Beyond’s “Under a Vast Sky” <海闊天空> are some of the more popular songs to be featured in the film.
American Dreams in China is also co-produced by Peter’s long-time collaborator, Jojo Hui. China Films and Peter’s own We Distribution invests in the film.
“American Dreams in China” First Trailer
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This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.