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Making a Movie and Surviving China’s Censors

来源:纽约时报    2019-08-30 09:14

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        Lou Ye, the Chinese director, has had his share of run-ins with his country’s film censors over his successful and esteemed career.        在他成功而卓越的职业生涯中,中国导演娄烨在中国电影审查机构那里也遇到过不少麻烦。
        There was the two-year ban on making films after showing “Suzhou River” at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the five-year ban after making “Summer Palace” and, most recently, a protracted approval process for “The Shadow Play,” which was shown in February at the Berlin Film Festival. It is almost news when Mr. Lou does not receive increased official attention.        他在鹿特丹国际电影节上放映《苏州河》后被禁拍电影两年,在《颐和园》后被禁五年,前不久在2月的柏林电影节上放映的《风中有朵雨做的云》也经历了漫长的审批过程。官方对娄烨的关注没有继续增加,这本身几乎就是一条新闻。
        An exception to this track record is “Saturday Fiction,” Mr. Lou’s new film set in wartime Shanghai in December 1941 and centered on a Shanghai actress embroiled in intrigue. Next week, it will have its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival.        娄烨的新片《兰心大剧院》是个例外,它以1941年12月的战时上海为背景,讲述一位卷入阴谋的上海女演员的故事。下周,它将在威尼斯国际电影节上全球首映。
        “I’ve been through the censorship process many times, and as a filmmaker it’s never entirely clear to me why censors react the way they do. I don’t quite know,” Mr. Lou said in a phone interview from China.        “我经历过很多审查,作为电影人,我从来都不清楚审查机构为什么会有那样的反应,”娄烨从中国接受电话采访时说。
        “Saturday Fiction” is one of 66 new features in the Official Selection for the Venice festival’s 76th edition, which runs from Wednesday to Sept. 7. Mr. Lou’s movie will screen alongside works by Hirokazu Kore-eda (“The Truth,” the festival’s opening-night selection), Olivier Assayas (“Wasp Network”), James Gray (“Ad Astra”), Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”), Roman Polanski (“J’Accuse”), Roy Andersson (“About Endlessness”), Pablo Larrain (“Ema”) and Steven Soderbergh (“The Laundromat”).        《兰心大剧院》是第76届威尼斯电影节正式竞赛单元的66部新长片之一,本届电影节将于本周三至9月7日举行。娄烨的电影将与是枝裕和(Hirokazu Kore-eda)的《真相》(The Truth,本届电影节的开幕电影)、奥利维尔·阿萨亚斯(Olivier Assayas)的《黄蜂网络》(Wasp Network)、詹姆斯·格雷(James Gray)的《星际探索》(Ad Astra)、诺亚·鲍姆巴什(Noah Baumbach)的《婚姻故事》(Marriage Story)、罗曼·波兰斯基(Roman Polanski)的《我控诉》(J’Accuse)、罗伊·安德森(Roy Andersson)的《关于无尽》(About Endlessness)、帕布罗·拉雷恩(Pablo Larrain)的《厄玛》(Ema)和史蒂文·索德伯格(Steven Soderbergh)的《洗钱事务所》(The Laundromat)一起上映。
        The festival is widely regarded as a prestige showcase that raises the curtain on the fall season and the vying for ink and little gold men. The lineup this year includes the hotly anticipated “Joker” from Todd Phillips, the election drama “The Perfect Candidate” from the Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour and the Imelda Marcos documentary “The Kingmaker” from Lauren Greenfield.        威尼斯电影节被普遍认为是一个有威望的舞台,标志着秋季的开始,为争夺媒体曝光和小金人的大战拉开序幕。今年的入围影片包括备受期待的托德·菲利普斯(Todd Phillips)的《小丑》(Joker)、沙特阿拉伯电影导演海法亚·曼苏尔(Haifaa al-Mansour)关于选举的《完美候选人》(The Perfect Candidate)以及劳伦·格林菲尔德(Lauren Greenfield)关于伊梅尔达·马科斯(Imelda Marcos)的纪录片《国王缔造者》(The Kingmaker)。
        “Saturday Fiction” is not a fall release, but it features Gong Li as a famous actress involved in a theatrical production and espionage. Mr. Lou has been called “contemporary Chinese cinema’s greatest director of actors” by the critic Shelley Kraicer, and the new film’s setting on the eve of Pearl Harbor promises to match the high drama of Mr. Lou’s other historical films.        《兰心大剧院》并非秋季档影片,但巩俐在片中出演了一名参与一场戏剧制作和间谍活动的著名演员。娄烨被影评人谢莉·克拉克(Shelley Kraicer)称为“当代中国电影最伟大的导演”,新片的背景设定在珍珠港事件前夕,将与娄烨其他历史题材影片的高度戏剧性相媲美。
        “Summer Palace” was set in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and “Purple Butterfly” in Manchuria and Shanghai during the Japanese occupation.        《颐和园》以1989年的天安门广场为背景,《紫蝴蝶》以日本占领时期的满洲和上海为背景。
        Global events aside, Mr. Lou found a special appeal in the new film’s familiar theatrical milieu. His parents worked backstage in theater, and he fondly remembers the Lyceum Theater in Shanghai that features in the film.        撇开全球事件不谈,娄烨对这部新片中熟悉的剧场环境情有独钟。他的父母都曾在剧院的后台工作,他很怀念电影中出现的上海兰心大剧院。
        “I am a product of the theatrical world,” he said. “So it was a very special experience being able to go back to Shanghai” — from Beijing, where he lives — “after a long time and shoot this movie in that neighborhood.” (The film’s title in China is “Lyceum Theater.”)        “我是戏剧世界的产物,”他说。“所以过了很久之后还能”——从他目前居住的北京——“回到上海,在那一带拍摄这部电影,是一种非常特殊的经历。”
        The complex plot takes place over six intense days and is a mix of period drama, romantic melodrama and spy story. Like Mr. Lou’s previous work, the film follows the passions of its characters. The story was adapted from the novel “Death in Shanghai” by Hong Ying into a screenplay by Mr. Lou’s collaborator Ma Yingli, who is also a producer and director of documentaries, including a behind-the-scenes look at “The Shadow Play.”        影片复杂的故事情节发生在六天的紧凑时间里,集历史剧、浪漫情节剧和间谍故事于一体。和娄烨之前的作品一样,这部电影也跟随着角色的激情前行。故事改编自虹影的小说《上海之死》,由娄烨的合作伙伴马英力担任编剧。马英力也是纪录片制片人和导演,作品包括关于《风中有朵雨做的云》幕后故事的纪录片。
        Ms. Ma, who studied filmmaking in Berlin before the wall fell, saw wartime Shanghai as a prime space to explore storytelling and structure. She said she believed the depiction of double lives like that of the lead character could resonate for many viewers.        在柏林墙倒塌之前,马英力曾在柏林学习电影制作,她认为战时上海是探索叙事和结构的极佳场所。她说,她相信像主角那样的双重生活描写会引起很多观众的共鸣。
        “I want to tell a story about how little things can really affect history in general and how we all have a role in life to play when it comes to things around us,” Ms. Ma said in a phone interview. “It is a good analogy for people who have lives on and offstage, with different identities and choices.”        “我想讲一个故事,讲一件小事会如何真正影响历史,讲一讲在涉及身边的事情时,我们在生活中都扮演了某种角色,”马英力在接受电话采访时说。“对于生活在舞台内外、有着不同身份和选择的人来说,这是一个很好的比喻。”
        In treacherous plot, Gong Li’s character juggles an ex-husband, an adoptive father and the temptation of escaping the war with her lover. (The international cast includes Pascal Greggory, Joe Odagiri and Mark Chao.) For Mr. Ma, the fraught moment in history unexpectedly recalled her time as a student in Germany, though the connection did not come to mind while writing.        在包含着背叛的剧情中,巩俐饰演的角色在前夫、养父和与情人逃离战争的诱惑之间挣扎。(国际演员阵容包括帕斯卡·格雷戈里[Pascal Greggory]、乔·奥达基里[Joe Odagiri]和赵又廷。)对马英力来说,那个令人忧虑的历史时刻意外地让她想起自己在德国读书的时光,不过在创作剧本的时候,她并没有想到这种联系。
        “When I was in East Berlin during the 1980s, the wall was still there,” she said. “I was surrounded. There wasn’t any freedom around me.”        “1980年代我在西柏林时,柏林墙还在,”她说。“我被包围着,周围没有任何自由。”
        Despite the story’s setting, the movie had a smooth process of approval by the Chinese censors. Mr. Lou and Ms. Ma attributed this to the historical nature of the film, which was shot in black and white.        尽管故事有着这样的背景,电影还是顺利通过了中国审查机构的审查。娄烨和马英力认为,这是因为该片的历史性,它是一部黑白片。
        “In terms of the subject matter, the themes and the ideas I’m trying to deal with in this new film, I feel there are similarities with ‘The Shadow Play ’” Mr. Lou said. “They’re both movies that deal with reality versus illusion, what’s real versus what’s fake. Perhaps the distance in terms of time and space makes this movie more palatable.”        “在题材、主题和我在这部新片中处理的想法方面,我觉得它和《风中有朵雨做的云》有相似的地方,”娄烨说。“它们都是关于现实与幻觉 、真实与虚假的电影。也许时间和空间上的距离让这部电影更容易接受。”
        The approval process for Chinese releases can be unpredictable. The time frame can vary, Ms. Ma said. It begins with a screenplay review, which typically takes 20 days or less. But once the film is shot and a final cut is ready to present, it might take significantly more time. For “Saturday Fiction,” approval did not take long, to Mr. Lou’s pleasant surprise.        中国影片的审批过程可能无法预测。马英力说,不同影片的审批时间可能大不相同。这个过程从剧本审查开始,通常需要20天或更少的时间。但是等到电影拍摄完成,并呈交了最终版本之后,审查可能需要多得多的时间。令娄烨惊喜的是,《兰心大剧院》没过多久就获得了批准。
        But the possibility of unforeseen delays or cancellation can make a festival programmer a little nervous. That is an understandable concern after the high-profile withdrawal of Zhang Yimou’s latest film “One Second” at the same Berlin festival where Mr. Lou’s “The Shadow Play” appeared.        但是,影片上映可能出现无法预料的延迟或取消,这种情况会让电影节的组织者感到有点紧张。就在娄烨的《风中有朵雨做的云》上映的柏林电影节上,张艺谋的新片《一秒钟》退出引起热议,发生这种事之后,组织者的担忧是可以理解的。
        “Knowing that the situation in China is so complicated, we were a little bit worried,” Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice festival, said by phone. Mr. Barbera had seen the film in an early form in April, and by June was assured that it would be free to screen abroad.        “我们知道中国的情况很复杂,所以有点担心,”威尼斯电影节总监阿尔贝托·巴贝拉(Alberto Barbera)在接受电话采访时说。今年4月,巴贝拉已经初步看过这部影片,到6月,他得到保证,该片可以在海外上映。
        The approval means that the drama of “Saturday Fiction” should be limited to what is on the screen. But if Mr. Lou’s previous experiences with the approval process have affected his filmmaking, he is not showing it.        中国的批准意味着《兰心大剧院》的上映不会节外生枝。但是,就算娄烨之前遭受审批的经历影响了他的电影创作,至少他并没有表现出来。
        “When I am in the creative process, when I am focusing on creating the film, I am only focusing on that, I don’t think about the censors at all,” he said.        “当我在创作过程中,当我专注于创作电影时,我只专注于这件事,我根本不考虑审查,”他说。
        With two films in the spotlight in one year, Mr. Lou and Ms. Ma appear to have found a way to continue working at a high level. The proof lies in the premiere of “Saturday Fiction,” next week on the Lido.        娄烨和马英力在一年内拍摄了两部电影,他们似乎找到了保持高水平工作的方法。证据就在《兰心大剧院》下周在丽都岛的首映式上。

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