Battle of the Bingbings

Who is Chinese cinema’s greatest diva?

Battle of the Bingbings

The two Bingbing's (Fan is on the right)

The answer, surprisingly enough, is often best answered after a trip to the Cannes Film Festival. With its mix of red carpet, fashion and glamour, the festival is where the Chinese starlets meet to face-off.

Back home, the winner is usually declared as the star whose photo appears the most, preferably in the greatest number of different dresses. Last year, Fan Bingbing unquestionably triumphed but this year she faced competition from Li Bingbing.

Both are household names in China. Li starred in Chinese blockbuster The Message as well as Hollywood’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Fan is to star in the forthcoming Iron Man 3 movie and won an award for her role in Buddha Mountain. However, neither was actually in Cannes last month to promote a movie. Instead, Fan was there as a brand ambassador for L’Oreal and Li for Gucci.

When it came to attracting attention, the more demure Li looks to have lost out. Fan pulled off her favoured trick of turning up looking like she’d just restitched the Emperor Wanli’s curtains into a dress. She did the same last year (knowing the French photographers love it). And with her tally of three different looks to Li’s two, she evidently had little intention of giving up her diva mantle. We pity the pour soul who has to do her travel packing.

Keeping track: in WiC152 we looked at the competing efforts of actresses Fan Bingbing and Li Bingbing to get noticed in Cannes. Brett Ratner, the director behind the film Rush Hour and TV series Prison Break, was one of those seduced by the Bingbing charm, but evidently he wasn’t sure which. He met Li Bingbing at a cocktail party and posted a picture taken with her on Sina Weibo. However, in his comment he identified the lady in question as Fan Bingbing and in smitten tones said he wanted to marry her. Chinese netizens were quick to point out that he’d embarrassingly confused Li with Fan. In a later posting Ratner apologised to Li for his mistake and said it was really her he wanted to marry (or at least cast in one of his films). June 15, 2012

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