Posted by Joel Martinsen on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 at 10:47 AM
In an earlier Danwei post, we mentioned that Shi Banyu, the Mandarin voice of Stephen Chow, was selling "a phone call from Stephen Chow" in several eBay auctions, with half the proceeds going to a school for the deaf in Beijing.
Though some had feared a spat over image rights, Stephen Chow didn't complain, and the ten separate auctions went for a total of 14,542 yuan (US$1795), with a top single price of 2850 yuan.
BQ has an extensive interview with Shi Banyu in its latest issue; excerpted and translated below are some segments dealing with his dubbing work on Chow's movies.
Intro: In 1989, Stephen Chow and Andy Lau shot All for the Winner, and the production company wanted to find someone with an unusual voice to do the dubbing for Chow to distinguish him from his costar Lau. Starting with that movie, Shi Banyu has worked with Stephen Chow for 17 years, completing 28 movies.
In recent years, apart from dubbing movies, Shi Banyu has gotten enthusiastically involved in English education for children. He has recorded a set of American English instructional tapes using a Stephen Chow-like voice.
I personally believe that when people go into a theater it's for laughs or to have a good time. If you feel happy after you watch a movie, then the movie's basic goal has been achieved. Movies are essentially meant to be entertainment, and if you are able to find something else during the process, then so much the better.
What I want to give to people is happiness.
BQ: Do you think that Stephen Chow's movies have been "overanalyzed", and completely misunderstood? And what contribution do you think your flubbed line "I 服了 You" ["whatever you say"; the English was a mistake that Shi said during recording, but it was preserved and has become popular slang] made to Chow's status as a "postmodern master"?
BQ: Although his movies are funny, it is said that he's rather serious in private. How do you see him?
BQ: Give us an evaluation of your relationship with Stephen Chow.
BQ: Do you think he's a good boss?
BQ: Can you tell us a little about your work process? Many people don't really understand dubbing work.
BQ: Before you dub, how many times do you usually watch the movie?
BQ: If you run into problems or have suggestions during your work, who do you usually talk to?
BQ: Do you talk to Stephen Chow?
BQ: In Cantonese, there are lots of words with special meanings that are absent in Mandarin. How do you address this problem?
BQ: The movie censors in the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan are all different. Do you have to avoid "direct translation" of sensitive or vulgar language? What's the primary type? Could you give us some examples?
BQ: Some of Stephen Chow's movies, like Shaolin Soccer and Kung-fu Hustle, have shown in North America. Your English is pretty good, have you ever thought of doing the dubbing for the English versions?
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.