Feng Xiaogang, the prolific Chinese director whose "Back to 1942" is China's submission for the foreign language Oscar this season, left his handprints at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Friday. He's the first Chinese film director to have his prints immortalized in cement at the historic venue.
Feng's works encompass a wide range including feel-good family dramas, romantic comedies and historical epics; his "Aftershock," about the devastating 1976 Tangshan earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands, was China's submission for the 2011 foreign language Academy Award. He's known for his strong record of box-office successes in China, although "1942," with its tough story of famine during wartime, proved less popular with Chinese filmgoers.
A number of Feng's films will have free screenings this weekend at the theater complex during the Beijing Film Panorama in America event. Among the titles showing (with English subtitles) are "Aftershock," "If You Are the One," "Assembly," "A World Without Thieves," "The Banquet," and "Cell Phone."
Once cured, Feng's prints will be on display in the forecourt, although their exact location hasn't been determined yet, said Alwyn Hight Kushner, president and chief operating officer of the theater.
Despite having two films submitted by his country for Oscar consideration and leaving his mark at the Chinese theater, Feng joked in an interview Thursday that "nobody here really knows who I am." However, the crush of dignitaries (Chinese and American) and fans attending Friday's ceremony indicated otherwise.
Feng said he would like to spend some more time stateside. His daughter is currently studying at New York University's Tisch School and aims to become a film editor.
"Maybe I can come here and do some writing," he said Thursday during a poolside interview in the back yard of an associate's home in Beverly Hills. "Look at this place, it's so calm, so peaceful. And the air -- so clean!"
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