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Big Shot's Funeral
Big Shot's Funeral
Actors: Donald Sutherland, Rosamund Kwan, Paul Mazursky, You Ge, Da Ying
Director: Xiaogang Feng
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
PG     2003     1hr 40min

World famous film director Don Tyler is surrounded by hundreds of costumed extras in China's fantastic Forbidden City when a creative drought hits and he has no idea where to the camera. Tossed off the picture by his studi...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Donald Sutherland, Rosamund Kwan, Paul Mazursky, You Ge, Da Ying
Director: Xiaogang Feng
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Satire
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/15/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: Mandarin Chinese, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese

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Member Movie Reviews

Ann M. from TULARE, CA
Reviewed on 4/2/2013...
This was an interesting movie. A parody, I think, about the commercialization of movies. When their depressed movie director falls into a coma, the nobody camera man thinks the director's last will was to have a comedy funeral. So to fund it, he finds a friend in the business and they both endeavor to fund it by making it sound like a huge production with limited commercial openings. Somehow, all these companies get sucked into a vortex of competitive fervor to get their commercials in. Before you know it, every last thing about the funeral was commercialized, including what the corpse was going to be wearing and holding. Only, the director didn't die but enjoyed what was going on and asked his lovely assistent not to let anyone know he'd come out of his coma. I enjoyed seeing the obscure cameraman, a China native, rise to the occasion, and transform in character from someone lowly, to someone who can command attention.

Movie Reviews

What's up with the lack of stars on the other reviews?!
J. Quigg | Joppa, Maryland United States | 09/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"To all of you with an interest in good movies and the Mandarin dialect, checking your local Blockbuster to see if they have a copy of the recently released "Big Shot's Funeral" would be well worth your time and dime (but since you're already on this website... why not just buy one). With Donald Sutherland as the American "name" actor and Ge You as the big Chinese name, it's a really well-executed movie that plays out in about 1/4 English and the rest Mandarin.

The very up-to-the-minute story, set in Beijing, is beautifully filmed and puts a premium on satire that takes jabs at the American movie industry and burgeoning Chinese market economies alike. For those working on their language, there is more than enough vocab and a range of accents to make this a semester's worth of lessons ... some of it literally so, as an ABC character has to occasionally check with the locals on some current slang. It's scary how inpenetrable the "Beijingr" accent can be at times. Written and delivered with a humor and timing that should appeal to Western audiences and filmed in a somewhat Altman-esque fashion, it's a really refreshing departure from the historical costume melodramas that leave you wiped out and wondering if the mainland is capable of productions as contemporary and uplifting as they often are well-crafted and dour. This would show the answer to be - most definitely!
Amusing Social Satire Comedy from China (with D. Sutherland)
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 05/05/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Donald Sutherland is Tailor, the "Big Shot" of this film, a world-famous director who came to shoot a remake of "Last Emperor" in China, among other thing. But no longer is he enthusiastic about this job, quite understandably, so he decides to bail out after the heated arguement with the producer Tommy (Paul Mazursky).At the same time, unemployed cameraman Yoyo (Ge You, award-winniing actor in Canne with "To Live") is hired by Tailor's assistant Lucy (Rosamund Kwan). He is required to make a documentary about the film Tailor is making, but as Yoyo becomes a friend to this great director whose health seems deteriorated, this "Big Shot" asks Yoyo to do one thing for him -- after he is dead, to give a funeral for him ... in the "Chinese" way.The film directed by mainland China's hitmaker Feng Xiaogang (who also wrote the script) may seem strange to Western aduiences. But he is clearly making his point, and when Tailor falls seriously ill, and the funeral (but he is not dead!) is planned, sponsored, and promoted by money-grubbing people, the film shows it in most outrageous way, with production placement (all around the coffin, and the body too) and the showy stage plan that might easily equal the rock band concert. These satires reflect today's China, and if you think the film lacks Westen-style sophisticated development of story, never mind. Aceept it as it is, because, as it is reported, the film was the big hit in China, and clearly they saw something immediate in the film. I for one, a Japanese, find it pretty amusing.As a sub-plot, there is a romance between Yoyo and Lucy, one speaks only Chinese, and the other fluent English. It seems Lucy's character is set as American-born, and but probably you should not see this film as culture-clashing comedy/drama. The film doesn't use English so much (maybe about one third or more) and there are much talk than average Hong-Kong actioners. So, don't be mistaken. This is meant for art-house release.Donald Sutherland's screen time is comparatively short even though he is very good (and much, much better than his usual turns in such dreadful messy films like, say, "virus"). If you're his fan, and remember his amusing, likable character in "Space Cowboys," then you may try this film.But to me, Rosamund Kwan is the one to see. Those who know Jet Li's "Once Upon a Time in China" series would fondly remember her lovely face, and she is fantastic as a strong-willed assistant who tries to stop, or at least slow down, the crazy fever over the funeral. There is no action, but Ms. Kwan is better than ever.I was amused fairly, but am afraid that many things have been lost during the translation process from original language. Those who can understand it, I hope, would fill in the gap someday on this site or elsewhere."
Grifters and scammers and auteurs, oh my!
avoraciousreader | Somewhere in the Space Time Continuum | 07/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Donald Sutherland plays Tyler, a world-famous director (or has he only convinced the Chinese that he is?) shooting a film about the Last Emperor in the Imperial Palace in Beijing. As he ponders his auteurish genius, and disappears into deep reflection while hundreds of costumed extras wait in the sun, his American and Japanese backers bite nails as they watch the dollars slip away. His beautiful and devoted assistant, Rosamund Kwan as the ABC (American Born Chinese) Lucy, hires a local cameraman YoYo (Ge You) to shoot a making-of documentary, following Tyler about as a silent fly-on-the-wall. Despite YoYo's lack of English and Tyler's lack of Chinese, they bond and Tyler becomes enthused with YoYo's description of the funeral of an old person, happiness that he has lived a long and full life, what Tyler dubs a "comedy funeral". Afraid that Tyler has lost the ability to complete the project, the backers send studio boss Tony (Paul Mazursky) to fire Tyler, and when Tyler has YoYo set the camera on a tripod to film the two of them together he has (or only seems to have?) a stroke or heart attack, managing to squeeze out to YoYo as he collapses (on camera, of course) "Comedy funeral, you must give me comedy funeral". As Tyler lies near death in the hospital, Lucy fights with the studio to honor his last wishes, and have YoYo produce the funeral. Out of his league .. how could he possibly suitably honor such a Big Shot .. YoYo seeks an old friend, Ying Da as a bleach-blond concert promoter. Their schemes become more and more grandiose, and will take place in the Imperial Palace itself. YoYo hesitantly brings up the subject of money with Lucy, and finds out that Tyler was flat broke. The concert .. excuse me, funeral .. will have to fund itself. This begins the most sidesplitting moments of the film, when the producers sell product placement and sponsorship rights to just about every centimeter of the Palace, the procession and even the corpse. My favorite moment is when an unknown Chinese starlet tries to buy an appearance as Tyler's distraught mistress to jump start her career. I won't spoil the ending(s), but this is a hilarious film full of satire of the capitalist world and China's enthusiastic embrace of it. It is enhanced by the genuine relationship between YoYo and Tyler and YoYo's budding romance with Lucy. Highly recommended for light entertainment with both bite and depth."