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Box office battle

(Global Times)

10:56, April 17, 2012

April is a season to flock to movie theaters, with the launch of 3D versions of Titanic, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and other highly anticipated imported movies coming to domestic cinemas. With the current emphasis on Western flicks and established directors, upcoming domestic stars are hoping that their newest creations won't be buried by glitzy Hollywood arrivals. Here's a look at featured talents, expected to make an impression on audiences with their new films this spring.

Rising talents

Ning Hao, known for his black humor, will debut his latest film, Guns N' Roses in cinemas on April 24. Guns N' Roses is about a bank heist in the 1930s. The bank robbed belongs to the "Manchukuo," a puppet state in Manchuria formed by Japanese invaders. Afterwards, the young robbers soon become national heroes. The film's title pays tribute to the American rock band of the same name.

Ning's widely praised, 2006 low-budget film Crazy Stone, also tells the story of thieves, this time competing with each other for a jade stone found in a toilet in Chongqing. His 2009 movie, Crazy Racer, took in over 100 million yuan ($15.9 million) at the box office.

Guan Hu, a sixth generation Chinese film director, will release his latest thriller-comedy film, Shasheng, or Design of Death, on April 28. Set in a remote hidden village in Southwest China, villagers begin dying suddenly, supposedly due to a strain of diseases. However, something or someone more ominous is in the air.

Guan gained recognition with his 1994 debut work, Dirt, about Beijing's rock music scene. His 2009 feature film, Cow, was also well received.

Zhang Yang's newest film, Full Circle, will screen on May 8. The film tracks a group of elderly people living in a retirement home, whose lives are changed after deciding to compete in a television variety show. The film addresses contemporary issues, like the disconnect between the old and young, and the placement of aging parents in centers.

A Beijing local, Zhang studied film directing at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. His 1999 film Shower, was screened at the Toronto Film Festival. Zhang balances artistic angles with commercial appeal.

Yang Shupeng's Pifu, or An Inaccurate Memoir, is set to debut on April 28. The film centers around a gang of bandits, who claim to be a gang of ordinary people.

Yang's 2009 film The Robbers, won him best new director at the Macau International Film Festival. In 2002, Yang relocated to Beijing to direct TV program Tell It Like It Is.

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