If there’s a summer lull in the Manhattan social scene, there was no evidence of that Wednesday night at a special screening of Wayne Wang’s “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.” Hosted by the Cinema Society and Ivanka Trump’s jewelry line, a bevvy of photographers showed up outside the Tribeca Grand Hotel for a celeb who’s who entrance, including NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban as well as Diane von Furstenberg who hosted a lovely dinner at her studio in the West Village following the screening.
Set in 19th century China with a parallel story set in modern-day Shanghai, the film, starring Li Bingbing, Gianna Jun and Vivian Wu, follows the lifelong friendship between two girls who develop their own secret code as a way to contend with the rigid cultural norms imposed on women. Directed by Wang (“The Joy Luck Club”), the feature, is based on the book by Lisa See.
“My assistant gave me the novel. She was very emotionally moved by it. It covers a lot of important areas of China’s history in the 1900s,” Wang told indieWIRE at von Furstenberg’s studio following the screening, adding that the film’s incorporation of a modern parallel alongside the book’s 19th century story, was in part an ode to China’s largest city.
“The modern parallel came about because I didn’t want to just leave it with only period stuff, I wanted to bounce off something contemporary. I’m such a fan of Shanghai today because it’s such a booming dynamic and international city.”
Continuing Wang added, “China is changing. At the end of the movie, I have a little narration that [typifies] this change and its speed of change. For me, China can’t forget its history, it needs to remember its past as it changes, otherwise it will just change at a speed that isn’t good for it – but that’s just my view.”
Looking around the crowded room that also included star Li Bingbing, Barry Diller, Ana Wintour, Lucy Liu, Harvey Weinstein & Georgina Chapman, Donna Karan, Roseanne Barr, Gayle King, Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner, Deborra-Lee Jackman, Gabourey Sidibe, Courtney Love, Carla Gugino, Famke Janssen, Kathleen Turner, Melora Hardin (“The Office”), Olivia Munn, Lance Bass, Scott Adsit (“30 Rock”), Fran Lebowitz, Cinema Society founder Andrew Saffir and more, Wang confessed he was a bit shy in large social gatherings, but was taken aback when one star complimented him and Bingbing about the film.
“I’m not a big party person but I was very happy because Sir Ben Kingsley came up to me and my actors and said that the movie was very authentic. And to me, that is just great.”
Fox Searchlight will release “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” beginning Friday, July 15th.