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I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

Fan Bing Bing (Actor) | Feng Xiao Gang (Director) | Gao Ming (Actor) | Zhao Yi (Actor)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Golden Horse-winning director Feng Xiaogang lampoons Chinese society and bureaucracy in the charmingly astute satirical comedy-drama I Am Not Madame Bovary, which won Best Film, Best Actress and Best Cinematography at the 11th Asian Film Awards. Glamour icon Fan Bingbing plays against type as a humble rural woman who, after being tricked into divorce, embarks on a stubborn decade-long quest for legal redress. Unconventionally presented in circular image format for most of the film, the ingenuous contemporary fable complements its clever humor and sharp script with top-notch performances and brilliantly distinct cinematography. I Am Not Madame Bovary is based on a novel by Liu Zhenyun, whose works also inspired Feng's previous films Cell Phone and Back to 1942.

Village woman Li Xuelian (Fan Bingbing) and her husband (Li Zonghan) decide to divorce in name in order to be allotted better housing. After the "fake divorce" goes through, her husband gets hitched to another woman. Affronted by his deception and accusations, Xuelian takes her husband to court to demand that the fake divorce be annulled – so that she can divorce him for real on her own volition. When her case gets dismissed, Xuelian decides to take her grievances to a higher authority, eventually going all the way to Beijing to seek justice. However, at every step of the bureaucratic ladder, officials dismiss her petitions and go out of their way to avoid her. Undeterred, Xuelian persists with her efforts, year after year.

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Technical Information

Product Title: I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) 我不是潘金蓮 (2016) (DVD) (香港版) 我不是潘金莲 (2016) (DVD) (香港版) 我不是潘金蓮 (2016) (DVD) (香港版) I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Fan Bing Bing (Actor) | Feng Xiao Gang | Gao Ming (Actor) | Zhao Yi (Actor) | Zhang Yi (Actor) | Guo Tao (Actor) | Zhao Li Xin (Actor) | Fan Wei (Actor) | Li Zong Han (Actor) | Feng En He (Actor) | Zhang Jia Yi (Actor) | Jiang Yong Bo (Actor) | Yu He Wei (Actor) | Huang Jian Xin (Actor) | Da Peng (Actor) | Li Chen (Actor) | Liu Hua (Actor) | Hu Ming (Actor) 范冰冰 (Actor) | 馮小剛 | 高明 (Actor) | 趙毅 (Actor) | 張譯 (Actor) | 郭濤 (Actor) | 趙立新 (Actor) | 范 偉 (Actor) | 李宗翰 (Actor) | 馮恩鶴 (Actor) | 張嘉譯 (Actor) | 姜永波 (Actor) | 于和偉 (Actor) | 黃建新 (Actor) | 大鵬 (Actor) | 李晨 (Actor) | 劉樺 (Actor) | 胡明 (Actor) 范冰冰 (Actor) | 冯小刚 | 高明 (Actor) | 赵毅 (Actor) | 张译 (Actor) | 郭 涛 (Actor) | 赵立新 (Actor) | 范伟 (Actor) | 李宗翰 (Actor) | 冯恩鹤 (Actor) | 张嘉译 (Actor) | 姜永波 (Actor) | 于和伟 (Actor) | 黄建新 (Actor) | 大鹏 (Actor) | 李晨 (Actor) | 刘桦 (Actor) | 胡明 (Actor) 范冰冰 (ファン・ビンビン) (Actor) | 馮小剛(フォン・シャオガン) | 高明(カオ・ミン) (Actor) | Zhao Yi (Actor) | Zhang Yi (Actor) | 郭濤(グオ・タオ) (Actor) | Zhao Li Xin (Actor) | Fan Wei (Actor) | 李宗翰 (リー・ゾンハン) (Actor) | Feng En He (Actor) | Zhang Jia Yi (Actor) | Jiang Yong Bo (Actor) | Yu He Wei (Actor) | Huang Jian Xin (Actor) | 大鵬(ダーポン) (Actor) | 李晨 (リー・チェン) (Actor) | 劉樺(リウ・ホア) (Actor) | Hu Ming (Actor) Fan Bing Bing (Actor) | Feng Xiao Gang | Gao Ming (Actor) | Zhao Yi (Actor) | Zhang Yi (Actor) | Guo Tao (Actor) | Zhao Li Xin (Actor) | Fan Wei (Actor) | Li Zong Han (Actor) | Feng En He (Actor) | Zhang Jia Yi (Actor) | Jiang Yong Bo (Actor) | Yu He Wei (Actor) | Huang Jian Xin (Actor) | Da Peng (Actor) | Li Chen (Actor) | Liu Hua (Actor) | Hu Ming (Actor)
Director: Feng Xiao Gang 馮小剛 冯小刚 馮小剛(フォン・シャオガン) Feng Xiao Gang
Producer: Wang Zhong Lei 王 中磊 王 中磊 Wang Zhong Lei Wang Zhong Lei
Writer: Liu Zhen Yun 劉震雲 刘震云 Liu Zhen Yun Liu Zhen Yun
Release Date: 2017-04-06
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: China
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Sound Information: DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital EX(TM) / THX Surround EX(TM)
Disc Format(s): DVD, DVD-9
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Rating: IIA
Duration: 135 (mins)
Publisher: Edko Films Ltd. (HK)
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1058450723

Product Information

* Special Features:
- Trailer
- Photo Gallery

Li Xuelian (Fan Bingbing) and her husband Qin Yuhe stage a fake divorce to secure a second apartment in the city reserved by the government for single people. Qin remarries six months later -- as agreed -- but to a different woman. Furious, Li files a lawsuit with the county court but loses the case. Refusing to accept the court's findings, Li appeals to the chief justice, the county chief, and even the mayor, but fails at every turn. After Qin publicly accuses Li of being a 'promiscuous woman' because she was not a virgin on their wedding night, Li is driven back to the courts to redeem her reputation. Li makes her way from county to city, enduring one trial after another, until she decides to make her appeal in far-off Beijing. Ten years go by, and the cases of Li's divorce and her ruined reputation have not been resolved. Li has continued to travel to Beijing every year but must face those who wish to quash her efforts every step of the way
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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This film has won 1 award(s) and received 4 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

April 11, 2017

Director Feng Xiaogang is at it again, trolling audiences and institutions with his movies and still coming up smelling like roses. Feng returns with I Am Not Madame Bovary, a (What else?) scathing satire about one woman and her decade-long battle against China's patriarchal society. The insanely beautiful Fan Bingbing successfully frumps it up as Li Xuelian, a common woman looking to sue her husband. She wants to undo their fake divorce, which they arranged to secure a property, so she can remain legally married to him and then divorce him again – all because he shacked up with another woman during the fake divorce. The situation sounds as ridiculous to characters inside the film as it does to the audience, but the officials she approaches are so circumspect that they'll only hint that she should take a hike. Feng uses this situation to skewer how different classes interact, with characters avoiding what they want to say while plainly indicating exactly what they mean. This is a bone-dry comedy of manners and right in Feng Xiaogang's expansive wheelhouse.

The "Madame Bovary" namedrop in the film's English title is actually "Pan Jinlian" in the Chinese title, referencing the infamous temptress of the 17th century novel Jin Pin Mei, which was adapted fairly recently into film as, uh, Sex and Chopsticks. In retaliation for Xuelian's actions, her husband accuses her of having an affair or being a Pan Jinlian – hence the titular protest, "I am not Pan Jinlian." The insult prompts Xuelian to trek to Beijing to complain to someone higher ranked than the local officials. Through Zhao Datou (Guo Tao), an old classmate who harbors some lingering feelings for her, Xuelian gets an audience with a high-ranking politician, leading to people getting fired because if a common person travels all the way from the sticks to the capital to complain, something must be going wrong. Right? This series of events is basically an illustration of how molehills become mountains, with a message delivered up the social ladder via the Telephone Game, leading to unintended and dryly hilarious consequences.

I Am Not Madame Bovary then cuts ahead to ten years into the future. Xuelian has since made an annual habit of going to the capital to complain, and now the bureaucrats want her to stop. They sound like they want to please her but they really don't – they just want to placate her with enough nice-sounding words that she won't sue them or their bosses. So Xuelian considers suing anyway because they're telling her not to sue – and, hey, nobody puts Li Xuelian in a corner! The idea that a person would do the opposite of what someone else wants simply because that someone else is pushing the person to behave in a certain way…well, that sounds vaguely like this past cycle of global politics, doesn't it? Similarities to deplorable voting patterns aside, Madame Bovary offers something of a parable on the ridiculousness of bureaucratic institutions and communication in China, while still speaking to universal concepts of human interaction and self-interest. The film also has an undeniable feminist slant, as it features a woman fighting back against a system that seems designed – intentionally or not – to keep her down.

Though obvious in which direction it leans, the film maintains a consistent distance from its subject matter, largely through technique. I Am Not Madame Bovary is famously presented in a circle frame with predominantly flat compositions, and characters are usually framed in medium or full shots. When Li Xuelian travels to Beijing, the frame opens up to a larger rectangle that, while still smaller than your typical cinema aspect ratio, is fitting for the capital's larger, less provincial expanse. This style works in a number of ways; the narrative is given structure when the frame expands or contracts, greater attention is drawn towards dialogue instead of image, and the lack of close-ups makes the camera's gaze less objectifying. As such, the film's dialogue and staging become key to audience experience, much like with a stageplay, though how one parses the work depends on the individual. Also, the fact that the camera is usually not situated near Fan Bingbing's face makes it easier for her to portray a peasant. Conversely, when she finally does get a close-up, the effect of her beauty is that much greater.

I Am Not Madame Bovary might be an easier sell to Western audiences than some of Feng's populist blockbusters (e.g., If You Are the One) because it clearly comments on a bureaucratic, controlling regime a.k.a. China. The best evidence of this is a scene near the end where one character seriously intones that "the Rule of Law" will take care of everything. It's a line that could slip by less attentive audiences – or worse, audiences who think that it's being said unironically. However, given everything that we know – about Feng Xiaogang and his penchant for punching up, down or whichever which way – it becomes delicious satire. It's actually surprising how much pointed commentary that Feng can sneak in. But that's pretty much been his deal for a while: to use filmmaking to poke, prod or burn some person or institution while pretending not to. I Am Not Madame Bovary is yet another trolltastic win for Feng Xiaogang and further proof of the incredible control that he has as a master of filmmaking craft, and as an artist working within a limiting system. There's probably not a smarter director working in China today.

by Kozo -

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