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China's Own 'Top Gun' – 'Born To Fly,' Crashes Before Takeoff

China's Own 'Top Gun' – 'Born To Fly,' Crashes Before Takeoff

For those of you too busy to check in on the RADII website every day, we’ve got you every Tuesday with a summary of all we got on China’s youth culture from the last week. In this edition:

  • Starring Wang Yibo, the film about elite test pilots in the People’s Liberation Army was supposed to premiere on September 30. Today, however, its box office debut was canceled.
  • Highly worth perusing, this current exhibition on sustainable design in Shanghai is packed full of lovingly designed products.
  • We recently caught up with award-winning filmmaker Lhapal Gyal to discuss the development of the Tibetan film industry and audiences’ lust for exoticism.
  • Gaming aficionados, get ready: ByteDance’s Pico has launched a new VR headset, Pico 4, to compete with Meta’s Oculus.

Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.

‘Born To Fly,’ China’s Answer to ‘Top Gun,’ Crashes Before Takeoff

Highly-anticipated Chinese movie Born to Fly (长空之王), which some have called “China’s own Top Gun,” was supposed to make its box office debut on September 30. Unfortunately for those eagerly awaiting its arrival, though, its release has been shelved, with no word on when — or if — the movie will eventually premiere.

Born to Fly was one of four films slated for release on September 30 — just in time for China’s National Day on October 1.

It is unclear why exactly Born to Fly has been withdrawn from the National Day premiere schedule. However, the cancelation announcement vaguely attributes the film’s scrapped theatrical release to the need to “improve special effects.”

The official announcement of the premiere delay

The film, featuring fighter jets soaring at breakneck speeds, dramatic shots of the sky, and attractive young pilots, is director Liu Xiaoshi’s first major motion picture. Previously, he created promotional material for the Chinese military.

On the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, one netizen called the former “plagiarism,” while another wrote, “Top Gun is an actual modern action movie, but Born to Fly has been turned into sci-fi. The special effects look too lame.”

However, if early ticket sales were any indication, Chinese moviegoers wanted a taste of the aerial action.Presale tickets were released on Friday, September 23, and in just two hours, the movie’s box office revenue exceeded 2 million RMB (about 281,555 USD).

Many netizens are disappointed and confused by Born to Fly’s abrupt withdrawal, with one writing, “If there’s no Born to Fly, I’m staying at home... there’s no other movie worth watching.” Another called it “a calamity.”

This Rad Museum Exhibition Has Us Excited About Sustainable Design

Easily one of the quaintest objects on display at Long Life Design: Thinking and Practice at Shanghai’s Pearl Art Museum (PAM), Kazuaki Harada’s mechanical toy of an anthropomorphic pig may or may not have been inspired by the saying ‘to sweat like a pig.’

Turning a tiny hand crank causes the Yamaguchi-based woodworker’s doll to jump to life and execute bicep curls with tiny dumbbells no bigger than push-pins.

Countless other modern inventions would doubtlessly hold a child’s attention for longer these days. Nevertheless, the battery-free, handcrafted curiosity has a certain je ne sais quoi not found in many plastic playthings that roll off assembly lines.

Ambitious in scale and subject, Long Life Design: Thinking and Practice encompasses 600 objects and is divided into nine sections, which might sound daunting for any gallery-goer, but take it from us when we say that our visit was one of pure pleasure.

Not a term everyone may have encountered before, ‘long-life design’ was coined by Kenmei Nagaoka, a giant in the field of design. Redolent of the decades-old slow movement of the West, the design principle, which comes with a checklist of requirements, is inextricably intertwined with sustainability. Fundamentally, long-life designs should last for a long time or champion continuity.

Located in east China’s Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen is a renowned ceramics site.

Porcelain or ‘white gold’ was once among the world's most coveted products, and Jingdezhen had its kilns burning day and night to meet global demand.

Today, the prefecture-level city has become a mecca for Chinese youth who want to pursue the art of ceramics away from the hustle and bustle of first-tier cities.

Watch till the end to learn how it feels to be an artist at the crossroads of tradition and technology.

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