“It’s Like A Restart For Me” – Berlin

A little less than five years after a tax-evasion scandal saw Chinese star Fan Bingbing disappear from public view for several months, the actress today addressed the Berlin Film Festival press corps in support of her latest movie, Green Night.

Fan was quickly asked about her experience in 2018, and the press conference moderator was just as quick in an attempt to shut down any discussion of topics unrelated to Green Night.

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Fan, however, spoke up. “It’s fine, it’s fine,” she said through a translator. “I was at home, and I’d like to thank all my fans worldwide for being concerned about me… I was dealing with some things, but you know, everybody’s life has highs and lows, and when you reach a low, you steadily, gradually climb back up again. It’s a tough process, but you learn a lot of new things at the same time and a lot about the world and a lot about people… For me, it was a very good experience in retrospect… Everything’s fine with me now.”

Fan first traveled to Berlin with 2007’s Lost in Beijing and called that one of her “most priceless memories” at the time. Now, she said, “I’m back a dozen or so years later and it’s like a restart for me… Acting is something I’ll probably be doing for my whole life… I’m going to stick at it. Wherever I am, whoever I’m playing, this will be things that I want to do and I’d like to thank all friends around the world for your support and I hope to be able to play lots more different types of parts and I hope to bring that to you in the future.”

Green Night, which premieres this evening in Berlin’s Panorama section and is billed as a Hong Kong/China production in the festival’s press notes, is director Han Shuai’s second feature and brings together two disparate lone female fighters who have learned to rely on no one but themselves. It follows Chinese immigrant Jin Xia who works at the security checkpoint of the Seoul airport, dresses practically and does her duty; and a younger, more extroverted woman who involves Xia in her crooked dealings as it becomes clear that the two have more in common than meets the eye.

Fan, who was not solely working in her native language, said the biggest challenge was “basically that I haven’t acted for five years… In those five years I’ve done a lot, but I had still always wanted to find the right screenplay for my next step forward that allowed me to bring my mental state and my emotions to it. It’s quite cruel on you if you don’t act for five years, because I love performing… So from that point of view, its been a very precious chance for me, and if you talk about it as a challenge I just felt that I had to use 120% of my ability to do it right and to repay the director for her trust in me.”

Fan appeared in 2022’s female action thriller The 355, but as was documented in Erich Schwartzel’s book Red Carpet: Hollywood, China and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy, it was via greenscreen and with a body double.

Fan added today, “We have Chinese language films taking their place on the world stage and that’s something that’s very exciting for anyone in cinema or the arts more generally. This process of starting again is a process imbued with a lot of hope.”

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