With the applause still ringing in his ears from the screening of his first feature, Blind Shaft, Chinese director Li Yang (pictured) has already put together most of the pieces for his follow-up, set during the Cultural Revolution.
As yet untitled, the new film will, said Li, be "much closer to my own heart and to the events of my adolescence". A large part of the movie is set in the jail into which the central character is thrown. "It will be an expose of prison conditions," said Li, "but it also aims to deal with the absurdities of human nature."
The package is being put together by Li and Blind Shaft's sales agent, the Hong Kong-born, Australian-educated, LA-based Alexandra Sun of The Film Library, who plans to relocate to Hong Kong later this year.
French distributor Ocean Films, which earlier this week bought Blind Shaft, has committed to the new film, said Sun, as has Karl Baumgartner of Cologne-based Pandora/Pegasos.
Sun expects the movie to be a German/French/Italian/Hong Kong co-production. Shooting will take place in China under what promise to be difficult circumstances: the Cultural Revolution is still a largely taboo subject. But the setting should certainly be less physically dangerous than the mines in Northern China where Blind Shaft was filmed. "Two people were killed in a collapse there the day after the film finished shooting," said Sun.