Nicola Davison is a British freelance writer and editor based in London.
Time Out Shanghai
On set with Christopher Doyle

On set with Christopher Doyle

Chris Doyle teeters on the edge of a ten-foot scaffold. He wants to perfect the angle of a shot for the film Lost, and is calling instructions to crew in seamless Mandarin. To the 40 or so people watching, the 61-year old – who has had a few beers – looks far from stable. A...
China's master filmmaker Tang Xiaodan

China’s master filmmaker Tang Xiaodan

The director’s widow opens her front door. A single strip light illuminates the living room, reflecting off a bronze bust of the late Tang Xiaodan in the entrance. Portraits of Tang, who died last year aged 102, line every wall. There’s one of him from 1955 bedecked in a beige suit, hair slicked and gaze...
China's female film directors

China’s female film directors

‘There are just not many films about the middle class female experience,’ says Yang Lina, discussing the impetus behind her latest film Longing for the Rain. There are films about the lives of poor people in the countryside and the urban nouveau riche, the 41-year-old director says. But this dichotomy both nullifies the nuance of contemporary...
Wong Jing

Wong Jing

SHANGHAI — A fitting word to sum up Wong Jing’s contribution to Hong Kong cinema is ‘Marmite’. Though Wong is one of the region’s most prolific filmmakers, directing nearly 100 films and producing even more, he’s also one of the most reviled. While he’s credited as an industry linchpin – when even Wong Jing doesn’t...
Interview: Lu Chuan

Interview: Lu Chuan

Last time Time Out met Lu Chuan, he was shooting on location with an IV drip attached to his arm. Nine months later, he again looks peaky. It is July and the news that the release of his new film, The Last Supper, will be delayed has left shadows under the 42-year-old director’s eyes. He is also struggling with...
On the set of The Last Supper

On the set of The Last Supper

With a sagging sun, a wayward horse and an IV drip poking out of his arm to contend with, Lu Chuan has had better days. He’s been trying since lunch to capture two hundred Qin dynasty warriors galloping over the wild grasslands of Xian. But lead actor Daniel Wu’s horse is acting up, and as...
Interview: Li Yu

Interview: Li Yu

Li Yu may be the only woman making money by directing films in China but she’s sick of the ‘China’s female director’ label. When asked about it, she feels numb. ‘No one cares what the label says if the wine is good,’ she says, in characteristically metaphorical fashion. So far, her films have achieved a...
Lou Ye on Mystery

Lou Ye on Mystery

Lou Ye almost courts controversy. The Shanghai-born director has, so far, received two filmmaking bans (though during one he shot Spring Fever, with its graphic homosexual sex scenes, on the sly). Four of his six films have been outlawed domestically, yet he still took one to Cannes to the chagrin of the authorities. He is the...
Wang Xiaoshuai's 11 Flowers

Wang Xiaoshuai’s 11 Flowers

Shanghai-born director Wang Xiaoshuai has been waiting to make his latest film, 11 Flowers, for 20 years. When he graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1989, he had already written the script for his semi-autobiographical account of growing up in tough inland China during one of the country’s toughest historical periods. But it has taken until...
Interview: Christian Bale

Interview: Christian Bale

This is the first time you’ve worked with a Chinese director. How did making this film compare to Hollywood? ‘The workload is immense – any American crew would be stunned. I’ve never been involved in any movie where sound stages have been constructed just for that particular movie. The speed at which things were constructed...
Tibet's emerging film movement

Tibet’s emerging film movement

Among the pomp and ceremony of the Chinese film industry, the quiet voices can be overlooked. But while big-budget productions such as Let The Bullets Fly and Aftershock grab headlines, a new wave of films are garnering critical attention: films from Tibet. It started in 2005 with The Silent Holy Stones directed by Pema Tseden (Wanma Caidan in Mandarin), the first...
Interview: Gu Changwei

Interview: Gu Changwei

Appropriately enough, I’m meeting one of China’s veteran filmmakers, Gu Changwei, in one of Shanghai’s oldest cinemas. The Stellar International Cineplex – once the central propaganda centre of the Kuomintang – has a grand, butter-cream Art Deco facade. Inside the marbled lobby, cinemagoers are waiting for the next screening of Gu’s latest film, Love for Life,...