Leading Chinese film director Chen Kaige is poised to shoot historical epic “Swan Song” as his next feature movie. It will focus on 18th century classical music composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky through critical failure, persecution for his sexuality and a mysterious death during the strife of the soon-to-collapse Russian Empire.
Moonstone Entertainment will launch pre-sales on the film at Cannes later this month. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2024 and early 2025 in the Baltics.
“Swan Song” was written by Shahar Stroh, who will also produce alongside Moonstone principal Etchie Stroh. Corporate credits go Moonstone Entertainment and Strohberry Films.
“The story of ‘Swan Song’ goes beyond the music of one man. It is about the perpetual struggle of beauty and love against darkness and hate, and I am excited to be bringing it to a global audience,” said Chen in prepared comments. “Creating a visually stunning and compelling story, paired with Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, is an extraordinary opportunity to combine art forms and produce something truly magical.” The ballet “Swan Lake” is among Tchaikovsky’s most famous and enduring works.
Moonstone described Chen as “a prominent figure in the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers [..] known for his epic storytelling, lush visuals, and unflinching portrayal of social and historical subjects.
Chen previously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Golden Globe and BAFTA awards with his 1993 classic “Farewell My Concubine.” He followed that with equally acclaimed titles “Temptress Moon” and “The Emperor and the Assassin.” His more recent work has veered between art-house and mainstream, with varying degrees of success. Along with Dante Lam and Tsui Hark, Chen was one of three big name directors who broke mainland Chinese records with two-part Chinese propaganda films “The Battle at Lake Changjin.”
“Swan Song” will mark the fifth collaboration between Moonstone and Chen, and their first for a feature film in English. (Chen’s previous English language film was the critical and commercial flop “Killing Me Softly.”) A previous collaboration, “Together,” which was released theatrically by MGM/United Artists, featured Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” as a centerpiece within its classical music-centered story.
“ ‘Swan Song’ is the perfect vehicle to bring together everything that makes Kaige such a brilliant, iconic filmmaker. I’m thrilled for us to be working together for the fifth time on what I am sure will be a defining film in our long partnership and close friendship,” said Etchie Stroh.