Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Unmade in China

Ugly Americans and not so pretty Chinese dominate this cheesy doc about a cheesy group of L.A. filmmakers trying to make a cheesy film in China with Chinese backing.

May 2, 2013

-By Doris Toumarkine


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1376568-Unmade_China_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Talk about slaying the dragon. It’s almost a toss-up whether it’s the Americans or the Chinese who come out worse in this sloppy documentary about some Yank filmmakers on the loose in China to make the kind of genre junk that would have been peddled years past in the deepest bunkers of film markets. L.A.-based motor-mouth co-director, co-writer and star Gil Kofman is all over Unmade in China and so must also be credited with part of the film’s unmaking.

The story of the film Kofman and gang are trying to make is beside the point, evidence being that the doc pays no attention to such details except for one quick reference to its “Case Sensitive” title. Rather, Unmade in China is all about the obstacles faced (getting a script the Chinese will approve, promised cash advances, a workable budget, locations, etc.). And, most challenging, getting a cast and crew that won’t bolt from this shoddy project.

Throughout his ordeal (which looks suspiciously contrived for the sake of capturing the footage, if not pre-conceived at pitch stage as an “unmaking” exposé), Kofman is a loud presence, over-generous with commentary about the shoot’s disappointments and problems. The doc’s only love interest is Kofman’s with himself. There’s no respect shown or expressed for the Chinese; apparently, he doesn’t learn a word of Mandarin except to betray one lame “Ni Hao” (“Hello”) in a store. We do get to see him enjoying some of the perks of doing business with the Chinese: banquets, booze, and the occasional strip joint and hooker.

At least the structure of Unmade in China makes sense. Kofman uses the notion of a film being made three times—in the writing, shooting and editing—as a way to tell his story of the un-making of his Chinese production.

Unmade in China is not pornographic but has that whiff about it, as unpleasant as its pervasive stench of phoniness and vulgarity. The film also reaffirms that egomania and denial make good bedfellows. The good news is that there’s nothing here that could translate to a setback to that Holy Grail of Americans and Chinese actually joining forces for a film that honors and pleases both cultures.


Film Review: Unmade in China

Ugly Americans and not so pretty Chinese dominate this cheesy doc about a cheesy group of L.A. filmmakers trying to make a cheesy film in China with Chinese backing.

May 2, 2013

-By Doris Toumarkine


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1376568-Unmade_China_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Talk about slaying the dragon. It’s almost a toss-up whether it’s the Americans or the Chinese who come out worse in this sloppy documentary about some Yank filmmakers on the loose in China to make the kind of genre junk that would have been peddled years past in the deepest bunkers of film markets. L.A.-based motor-mouth co-director, co-writer and star Gil Kofman is all over Unmade in China and so must also be credited with part of the film’s unmaking.

The story of the film Kofman and gang are trying to make is beside the point, evidence being that the doc pays no attention to such details except for one quick reference to its “Case Sensitive” title. Rather, Unmade in China is all about the obstacles faced (getting a script the Chinese will approve, promised cash advances, a workable budget, locations, etc.). And, most challenging, getting a cast and crew that won’t bolt from this shoddy project.

Throughout his ordeal (which looks suspiciously contrived for the sake of capturing the footage, if not pre-conceived at pitch stage as an “unmaking” exposé), Kofman is a loud presence, over-generous with commentary about the shoot’s disappointments and problems. The doc’s only love interest is Kofman’s with himself. There’s no respect shown or expressed for the Chinese; apparently, he doesn’t learn a word of Mandarin except to betray one lame “Ni Hao” (“Hello”) in a store. We do get to see him enjoying some of the perks of doing business with the Chinese: banquets, booze, and the occasional strip joint and hooker.

At least the structure of Unmade in China makes sense. Kofman uses the notion of a film being made three times—in the writing, shooting and editing—as a way to tell his story of the un-making of his Chinese production.

Unmade in China is not pornographic but has that whiff about it, as unpleasant as its pervasive stench of phoniness and vulgarity. The film also reaffirms that egomania and denial make good bedfellows. The good news is that there’s nothing here that could translate to a setback to that Holy Grail of Americans and Chinese actually joining forces for a film that honors and pleases both cultures.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Bicycling with Moliere
Film Review: Bicycling with Moliere

This sly, witty, charming comedic contemporary study of a fraught friendship between two actors hoping to mount a Molière classic is also a ride through France’s beautiful Ile de Ré island. More »

Locke
Film Review: Locke

Taut, disturbing and unique drama about a man racing toward his destiny, providing Tom Hardy, literally, with a vehicle to flaunt his acting chops. More »

Small Time
Film Review: Small Time

You might not buy a used car from the guys in Small Time, but you will enjoy the movie about their exploits, even their exploitations (of others). More »

Fading Gigolo
Film Review: Fading Gigolo

Some top screen talent gets lost in the silliness surrounding the amorous adventures of an unlikely gigolo and his even more unlikely pimp, with writer/director/actor John Turturro the shtupper “ho” co-starring with Woody Allen as the mercenary shtup-enabler. Yarmulkes off to Turturro’s brave but deeply ill-conceived comedic foray into Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community and other alien territory. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Transcendence
Film Review: Transcendence

Johnny Depp is an idealistic researcher whose consciousness is uploaded into an artificial intelligence in this slick techno-thriller with delusions of seriousness from Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer. More »

Draft Day
Film Review: Draft Day

Pro football manager faces crises on the most important day of his career in a well-tooled vehicle for Kevin Costner. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here