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Chinese Director Ning Hao
    2009-03-17 16:58:43     CRIENGLISH.com

Comical plots, funny dialogue, elaborate editing and striking music, all make Ning Hao's movies the top banana in Chinese film. Most impressive is his ability to make a low budget and a cast of anti-heroes in a massive hit.

Xiaohong tells us more.


Ning Hao gained fame when his black comedy film Crazy Stone screened three years ago. One of China's most successful homegrown releases, it raked in some three million US dollars, with a budget of only a seventh of its revenue.

The second piece among his Crazy series, Crazy Racer, is following closely behind as another box office hit. Audiences say watching Ning Hao's movies can be like a hilarious roller coaster ride.

Ning Hao tells the secrets of his low-budget success, and explains famous stars and a famous director aren't necessarily prerequisites.

"Those are not the key factors, but external causes. The key factor is an appealing storyline, plus the way it is told, which are the internal causes."

The anti-heroes playing leading characters in Ning Hao's movie Crazy Stone [Photo: sohu.com]

Among the numerous expectations on Ning Hao's films, big belly laughs within the natural flow of storyline are top of the list. Full of intense comic moments, raw but not vulgar, his works promises entertainment. It definitely takes a talented and patient mind to design his carefully crafted jokes.

Many of his fans wonder if shooting the film is as much fun for Ning Hao as watching it is for audience members. To this Ning Hao says he is not the funniest person. Under his guidance, the film set can be rather solemn.

"We rarely burst into laughter. Everyone takes their job very seriously and works very hard. We often sit up all night, discussing the plots, how to make them flow fluently and fascinate."

32-year-old Ning Hao has a baby face. Instead of having a highly emotional personality, he looks very calm, speaking rather slowly, with a low voice. But his eyes are bright and piercing. And the exchange of ideas is free.

"Everybody provides different ideas and we discuss which the best is, such as to give a character a pet phrase or a habitual gesture."

Ning Hao promoting his new craft Crazy Racer [Photo: sohu.com]

Many say Ning Hao is China's Answer to Guy Ritchie. Ning Hao partially agrees.

"I accept this, because I do learn from him. I have to learn from other directors and have an open mind, to improve what I learn, and to apply them to overcome my shortcomings. But I don't copy anyone. Shakespeare wrote so many stories and left few for later generations to write about. All kinds of plots, all kinds of relations between characters, can be related to a similar one in his works. You can say all writers in the world now are copying him."

Ning has made great strides in storytelling. His skill in creating multi-layer stories in a meaningful way is a rarity in Chinese comedy. Ning has created up to six lines of sub stories with clarity so that audiences have no trouble following the plot.

"I think I am a storyteller. I try my best to make a profound problem or abstract information easy to understand in my own way."

He says different directors make different movies.

"The same storyline comes out as a poem if the director is a poet. It would be a narrative if the director is a storyteller. Similarly, an accountant may produce a documentary. But they all have a reason to exist. No one is superior to others, or inferior to others. They are just different."

Ning Hao says film is part of his life, but it certainly isn't his whole life. He also shoots advertisements and music videos. As Ning says himself, why see money as an enemy?

For Beyond Beijing, I'm Xiaohong.



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