A Chinese romantic comedy has been set in in the Pessac Léognan region of Bordeaux
Pictured: Xu Jinglei, Li Yapeng (seated), Inauguration into the Guyenne Commanderie
Cherish Our Love Forever, a follow-up to a highly popular television soap opera, takes place in Chateau Haut Bacalan and Chateau Lesparre, in Graves de Vayres. Both chateaux are owned by the Gonet family.
Due out in China on February 14, 2011, the film stars two of the biggest names in Chinese cinema, Xu Jinglei – already an acclaimed director – and Li Yapeng, and up-and-coming singer and actress Jie He.
A team of 35 Chinese actors, production assistants and the director, Yibai Zhang has been in Bordeaux this month for the filming, working alongside a French and British production team and staying in the chateaux.
The film is set 10 years after the end of the TV soap, with Xu Jinglei’s character married to the philandering Chinese owner of a Bordeaux chateau.
Owner Charles-Henri Gonet told Decanter.com he has been selling wine in China for over 25 years, and the producer is a long-term friend.
‘He is also an entepreneur and wine importer, so it is hoped this will also increase our recognition as a brand in China. And it’s been great fun for us.’
Xu Jinglei told French news agency AFP visiting Bordeaux was a dream for her.
‘Wine estates, castles, life in a chateau seems so far away for us. To see how wine estate owners live – it’s beyond what I imagined.’
The city of Bordeaux also stands to gain from the film. Saint Emilion, the Bay of Arcachon and the Pyla Sand Dune get a supporting role.
This will please the tourist office, which has a stated aim of attracting more Asian visitors to the region.
At the moment Asian vistiors to Bordeaux make up 8% of the total, with 2.25% of them Chinese.
While staying in the region, the director and the two leading actors, Jinglei and Yapeng, were initiated into the Guyenne Commanderie in Graves de Vayres.
The local CIVB trade organisation released figures last month showing that China had become the most important wine market for Bordeaux, overtaking the UK in value of sales in the first half of 2010, now totalling €90m.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux