• Golden Globe Awards

Leap (China)

Leap is a sports drama directed by Peter Ho-Sun Chan and starring Gong Li and Huang Bo. It has been selected as China’s official entry in this year’s International Oscar race. The film was set to release during China’s New Year holiday this January but had to withdraw due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After Chinese theaters loosened their restrictions in September, Leap finally made its debut the week before China’s Independence Day holiday and scored $8.2 million on its opening day. 
The film examines world volleyball champion Lang Ping’s complicated legacy. It takes place between two pivotal moments: her team’s world championship win in 1981 and the 2016 Rio Olympics. Lang Ping is a cultural icon in China and one of the most respected public figures in the country’s sports history. In the 80s, after fiveconsecutive championships, China’s women’s national volleyball team carried not only the glory but also the nation’s pride. At the peak of her career, Lang Ping made a surprising move and became the head coach of the United States women’s national volleyball team. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics the US team led by Lang Ping was pitted against the Chinese team coached by Lang’s former friend Chen Zhonghe played by Huang Bo. The US team defeated the unbeatable Chinese team, but Lang Ping did not feel like a winner. Later, she returned to her country to coach the new women’s national volleyball team whose morale had sunk into the deepest abyss. The rest of the film portrays how Lang Ping rebuilds the young team and leads it to its success at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The film’s timeline highlights three main phases of Lang Ping’s career, featuring performances of real-life Volleyball athletes. Lang Ping’s actual daughter Bai Lang plays her through the 80s. 10 Chinese Olympic Gold medalists appear as themselves in the Rio Olympic games scene. Members of the Brazilian volleyball team also acted in the film, making the film’s competition scenes quite appealing. The 2008 Beijing Olympics volleyball game between the US and the Chinese team is intercut throughout the first half of the film. The friendship between Lang Ping and China’s head coach Chen Zhonghe was intended to be an important part of the film, however, due to a protest from Chen on some scenes that disgraced his character, the theatrically released version kept the character but did not mention Chen’s name.
Hong-Kong-born filmmaker Peter Ho-Sun Chan studied filmmaking at UCLA. He has previously directed several critical and commercial hits. With a strong box-office track record, Chan was voted “the most valuable filmmaker” in Hong Kong. His romantic musical Perhaps Love (2005) was the closing film at the 62nd Venice Film Festival and was selected as Hong Kong’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry that year. His martial arts film Wu Xia (2007) was the only Chinese-language film accepted as an Official Selection at the 64th Cannes Film Festival. Besides directing, Chan also focuses on working with Mainland film talent and marketing his films to the audiences there. His film American Dreams in China (2013) garnered 90 million USD at the China box office and won Best Film and Best Director at the 29th Golden Rooster Awards.