Sad song for a 'nightingale'

By Liu Zhihua ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-11-13 07:43:55

In a previous interview with China Daily, Muyl said he spent two years interviewing different Chinese families to prepare for the movie, adding that he believed family-themed comedies always travel well across borders.

The film was finished in 2012, and was released in France in May this year.

By late October, it had earned more than $1.15 million, which isn't a bad number for a foreign language art-house production, and it was well-received by critics, according to Paul Delbecq, the film's French producer.

But the movie's release date in China was postponed several times for unknown reasons, until it had an exclusive screening for a week in late September in Nanning, the capital city of Guangxi, before it opened for general release on Oct 31. The September showing was apparently designed to meet the Oscar criteria that an entry must have been shown in the home country for seven consecutive days before Oct 1, the deadline for submission.

While some critics have praised the movie's universal values of love and family, and its reflection on the hidden problems in modern Chinese families-busy working parents and lonely youngsters and seniors-industry insiders say the movie was unlikely to achieve the same kind of success in the mainland market.

"Studies have found that a majority of Chinese prefer to watch movies with hilarious elements," says Niu Song, the Beijing Ethnic Film Festival's founder.

"Art-house films, such as The Nightingale, will find it hard to draw audiences."

Industry observers also comment that although the distributors played it safe to release the movie shortly after the announcement it will be presented as a candidate for Oscar nomination, hoping to cash in on the fact, it has to compete for audiences against big commercial movies such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Lucy. This may be the reason why it is failing to make money, according to a report by Beijing Business Today.

Some movie fans also question the artistic quality of the movie.

On Douban, one of China's most-popular movie websites, The Nightingale scores a rating of 6.2 out of 10. Many netizens express disappointment with what they thought was a poor storyline and unsatisfactory emotional development, when they compared the movie with Le Papillon.

Xu Fan contributed to this story.

Sad song for a 'nightingale'

Sad song for a 'nightingale'

China-France co-production 'The Nightingale' to debut 

China selects 'Nightingale' for Oscar race 

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