Reel China: Targets an elusive film fan — the Chinese American
For years, Chinese films shown in U.S. theaters have fallen into two distinct camps, both driven by largely white patrons: martial-arts movies for young men, such as Jet Li’s “Hero,” or critically acclaimed art-house fare, such as Kaige Chen’s “Farewell My Concubine.”
Only rarely has a movie conquered both blocs, as did Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
“The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman,” a Mandarin-language action comedy that hit U.S. screens this weekend, is a bit of a different animal — it has sword fights but also a music video, hand-drawn animation, slapstick jokes, split screens, black-and-white photography, opera, a video game and even a point-of-view shot from the eyes of a decapitated warrior.
The movie’s distributor, China Lion, hopes the over-the-top mix will lure a new audience to cinemas: mainstream Chinese American film buffs.