The Message

The Message: Early Scene Stills

Latest stills exposing the “touching”(*) moments of Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing

*a pun - it could also mean Li Bingbing and Zhou Xun touching one another

Ever since the movie Feng Sheng (The Message), which is due to be screened on October 1st, started shooting, the secret “X” factor strategy is used when publicising fragments of information about the movie or about the movie character roles. With extremely little exposure of the minute details of the movie plot, the audience can only guess from vague bits and pieces [literal translation: “inside clouds and fog”] the identity of “Old Ghost.” A few days ago, Huayi Brothers, for the first time, publicized a set of relatively complete stills of a scene from Feng Sheng, which is the “first important portion of the movie” after the opening scene. All the leading stars appear, and from these stills, the audience can almost understand the direction of the plot, no longer just “a foggy mist.”

These Feng Sheng stills reveal the appearance of the leading stars in one scene: Wu Zhiguo acted by Zhang Hanyu, Gu Xiaomeng acted by Zhou Xun, Li Ningyu acted by Li Bingbing, Wu Tian acted by Huang Xiaoming, Wang Tianxiang acted by Wang Zhiwen, Bai Xiaonian acted by Alec Su, Jin Shenghuo acted by Ying Da. According to the story of Feng Sheng, this portion occurs soon after the opening scene. The Wang Wei government by chance receives an intelligence report from an outside source, and believes that the suspect is among the group—Wu Zhiguo, Gu Xiaomeng, Li Ningyu, Jin Shenghuo—but the officials do not want to alert the spy. Hence, the leader of the army, Commander Zhang, under the pretext of wanting to interpret a secret intelligence message, tricks these people into the mansion. The characters unsuspectingly enter the building, thinking long and hard over the fake intelligence information. Subsequently, when the real message is revealed, everybody is shocked and fearful.

The mood of this movie, Feng Sheng, is filled with an atmosphere of suspense and doubts from this point onwards. Everything that has appeared to be tranquil and calm takes a sudden turn and the subsequent events develop rapidly: the trapped characters in the mansion instantly become suspects, and regarded as people who are most untrustworthy. The atmosphere of the scene becomes absolutely oppressive and stifling.

In the mansion, there is a conference room, where the confused group does not know the hidden motive behind the intelligence message. The table is filled with a pile of waste paper strips, and everybody apparently is unsure where and how to begin. This picture shows that the composure of both Zhang Hanyu and Li Bingbing is comparatively calm, whereas Ying Da appears to be rather nervous and tense, and Wang Zhiwen is making very close observation of everybody’s reactions and expressions. “Who is Old Ghost?” is not important, because all of these suspects, from this moment on, will be undergoing a course of unbearable torture. In this picture, the feelings portrayed by these leading characters in this violent movie is extremely intense.

Zhang Hanyu being “dragged into deep water” by Li Bingbing while Alec Su, staying aloof, looks on coldly.

This photo shows three people, Li Bingbing, Zhang Hanyu and Zhou Xun, in genuine contemplation. Zhang Hanyu appears to have some inspiration, giving advice to Li Bingbing, while Zhou Xun seems to have no bright ideas, biting her pencil, temporarily looking dazed, staring blankly in space. Not far away is Alec Su, with an expressionless face, appearing as though this matter has nothing to do with him. During the process of breaking the code, to the inexperienced, this is like reading illegible scribbles, but to these leading characters, who have worked in this line (dealing with intelligence information) for many years, the first “secret” in this movie will quickly be uncovered. In the original novel, Zhang Hanyu's character role, Wu Zhiguo, was actually not under suspicion, but was set up by Li Ningyu (acted by Li Bingbing) who reported to their superior. Wu Zhiguo has also seen the message that has been leaked out, which has “dragged him into deep water.” The development of the story plot will reveal an eventual intense conflict/violent clash between Zhang Hanyu and Li Bingbing.

The relationship of Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing: warm and genial, or cherishing each other yet using each other

In this set of Feng Sheng stills, Zhou Xun's Gu Xiaomeng and Li Bingbing's Li Ningyu appear together very often, showing that these two have a very close intimate relationship—they are inseparable. In the novel, Zhou Xun is Li Bingbing’s subordinate and both of them are as close as sisters, but the movie shows that both have their own personal secrets that cannot be revealed to the other. These pictures also portray this close intimate relationship. When they are breaking the code, Li Bingbing helps Zhou Xun with suggestions. When they are alone together, they cherish and care for each other, or maintain a hesitant expression. Li Bingbing, leaning on Zhou Xun’s chest, even tearfully complains about the mansion being “Hell on earth.” The destiny of these two women makes the audience pay even more attention to them because the movie modifies a bit of the original story. Zhou Xun, Li Bingbing—who is “Old Ghost”? At this moment, there is no way to know.

Editor: Xu Panya


English translation by moonstruck for Alec Su International Fans Forum

Message Scene Still 1

Huang Xiao Ming’s Gloomy Facial Expression

Scene Stills 2

The gathering of the leading characers “tricked” into deciphering a secret telegram

Scene Stills 3
Zhang Hanyu giving advice to Li Bingbing
Scene Stills 4
Zhou Xun and Li Bingbing act opposite each other in a great segment of the movie

Alec Su International Fans Web Site