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Leehom Wang's Open Fire Concert Film

Homeboy Music Inc.Taiwan85 minutes2016PGColourMandarin English

Chinese-American pop sensation Leehom Wang performs two sold-out shows at Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium, in this electrifying concert documentary experience.

His concert at Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest stadium drew a record 100,000 people. His music, a constantly evolving mix of global pop, R&B and hip-hop with traditional Chinese music, has sold in the tens of millions. He has acted in films by Ang Lee and Michael Mann, and his social media following on China's Weibo numbers near 60 million. It's no exaggeration to say that Leehom Wang is one of the world's biggest pop stars. And like some other major pop stars, his creativity knows no bounds. Like Madonna, like Prince, like Beyoncé — Wang pays exacting attention to every detail of his music and image. And like them, he's positioned himself as the star of his own film to offer the most intimate insight into his work. Leehom Wang's Open Fire Concert Film is a polished jewel showcasing the phenomenal power of Asian pop.

Born in Rochester, New York to a family of Taiwanese immigrants, Wang grew up obsessed with music. While he initially studied violin and piano, he soon taught himself guitar and by the time he was a teenager, he was determined to make music his career. Some of the film's rare early footage offers a glimpse at the young Wang honing his craft and his style, eventually finding an approach that drew on all of his influences: from Stevie Wonder to Beijing opera, from the traditional music of China's indigenous peoples, to the hip-hop bravado of Missy Elliot.

Wang structures this concert documentary around his two historic, sold-out concerts at Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium, performing hits from Unbelievable, The One and Only, Shangri-La, and his other big albums. It's heaven for fans, but even for those unfamiliar with Wang's music, this film offers unprecedented insight into a rare bridge built between pop culture in North America and China. It's a glorious, glamorous spectacle of a star who grew up on the shores of Lake Ontario.

CAMERON BAILEY

Documentary