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China's star writers battle it out on the big screen


07-29-2014 18:48 BJT

The rivalry between China's best-selling writers Han Han and Guo Jingming has heated up over the past two weeks, as Han made his directorial debut and Guo returned with his third installment of his Tiny Times trilogy. The timing has added fuel to their already well-known rivalry, drawing inevitable comparisons between the two.

Both won awards in their teens at the New Concept Writing Contest held by "Mengya" magazine. And both have a huge young following in China. Hoping to take their talents further, both have turned to filmmaking.

Last week, Han, who is also a professional race car driver and an influential blogger, released his directorial debut "The Continent".

Han Han and Guo Jingming

Han Han and Guo Jingming

The nostalgic road trip movie is about youth and separation. It tells the story of three young men from an island in East China who take a road trip to find new meanings and goals in life.

Just a week earlier, "Tiny Times 3," the third installment of Guo Jingming's film franchise hit theaters. Based on Guo's novel of the same name, the romance tells the stories of four young females in their twenties chasing love, success and a luxurious life.

So, what are movie-goers saying about the two films, which have quite different styles?

"Han Han's film makes me think about my own life and my friends at school."

Han Han

Han Han

"I''m a big fan of Guo Jingming. I read all his books, and so I come to see the film"

"I've seen both films, but I like Han's film more than Guo's because 'Tiny Times 3' focuses too much on material things."

"I expected a lot from 'The Continent' because it's Han Han's first film production. And I like the way he tells the story. But the storyline is a little loose."

In defence of his film, Han said: "There's no perfect film. Even Hollywood blockbuster 'Avatar' has something unreasonable in it. But when you create a good atmosphere for it, the audience won't think about the unreasonable in the film right after they watch it."

"I tried my best in directing this film. I believe there must be some part in the film that can make the audience say ‘awesome,’"

Guo said about his film.

Guo Jingming

Guo Jingming

Neither film has been particular popular with critics, but both have performed well at the box office.

Han's directorial debut has raked in 284 million yuan in its first four days, reaching the top of China's box office charts last week. Meanwhile, "Tiny Times 3" has taken 310 million yuan in the same time period. And the trilogy has generated a total revenue of 1.2 billion yuan to date.

With such great commercial success, both directors have dreams of going further. Guo says that there will be a fourth installment of "Tiny Times," and Han says that he is interested in making a sci-fi movie.

With both writers keen to make more movies, it seems likely that their rivalry will continue for years to come.

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