Chen Kaige’s “Legend of the Demon Cat” Previewed in Tokyo

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1:00 AM HKT, Wed November 1, 2017 1 mins read

This week’s photo theme: CREATURE FEATURES. Ghosts, demons, monsters, aliens, and indefinably uncanny entities, all from the annals of Chinese literature, film and art.

Hat tip to Xueting Christine Ni, who writes of the cat spirit Mao Gui in her super long list of Chinese ghosts:

Cat ghosts are believed to be ghosts of deceased old cats, raised to take their targets’ lives and fortunes via the Gu Du rituals (similar to voodoo magic in its application). These rituals were popular during by 6/7th centuries CE. Once targeted, the victim was said to feel as if pierced by needles before Mao Gui consumed their organs. Many cats were apparently sacrificed during the Sui (581-618 CE) era, so their actions could be revenge.

As Christine notes, this demon cat will receive its latest big-screen interpretation in the upcoming film by veteran auteur Chen Kaige, who effectively launched modern Chinese cinema via his pathbreaking directorial debut, Yellow Earth.

Chen’s forthcoming Legend of the Demon Cat was adapted from a novel by Japanese author Yoneyama Mineo, and is the largest Chinese-Japanese film co-production ever, according to an article posted last week by the Tokyo International Film Festival. Ten minutes of Legend of the Demon Cat were previewed to audiences gathered on October 25 to celebrate the opening of the festival, which is now in its 30th year.

Per the wiki:

Taking place in the Tang Dynasty, a demon cat appears and breaks the peace of Chang’an City, causing a series of strange events. Poet Bai Letian and Monk Kukai join hands to investigate the death of Concubine Yang by following the trial [sic] left by the cat, unveiling a buried fact.

See the trailer below, and look for it on silver screens across China (opening December 22, 2017) and Japan (opening February 24, 2018).

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