Hong Kong writer and director Wong Kar-wai said today he was surprised and humbled to receive a lifetime achievement award at the International Film Festival of India.
Shanghai-born Wong’s spectacular martial arts epic “The Grandmaster” closed the festival in India’s tourism state of Goa. Wong, a director for nearly three decades, was presented with the award on the final day of the 11-day Indian festival which screened more than 170 foreign films from 79 countries.
Celebrated Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, who was honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award at the concluding day of IFFI today, dedicated the award to his wife Chan Ye-cheng.
“I would like to share this honour with my wonderful wife who is with me tonight in Goa. You are my biggest achievement in life. Thank You,” said Kar-wai, after receiving the award at the grand closing ceremony here as Ye-cheng looked on.
Kar-wai, 56, known for his films like ‘In the Mood for Love‘, ‘Ashes of Time‘ and ‘Chungking Express‘, said he got his first knowledge of cinema from his mother, who introduced him to the new wave French cinema.
“I am really humbled. I am lucky that ‘The Grandmaster’ is the closing film of the festival. As far as the award tonight, this is as much as an honour as a surprise because it comes a little bit early. I hope this is not the sign for me to retire,” he said on a light note.
The director thanked the festival organisers on behalf of other filmmakers in China, the focus country at IFFI this year.
“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of my peers in China to thank the festival and the wonderful audience here for their hospitality and support towards Chinese cinema. It is great to be here in India to celebrate cinema with all of you,” he added.
“The Grandmaster”, inspired by the life of Yip Man – the mentor of legendary kung-fu star Bruce Lee – has won a string of prizes including at the Hong Kong and Asian film awards.
December 3rd, 2014 • 0 comments
October 1st, 2014 • 1 comment
The critically-acclaimed kung fu epic “The Grandmaster” is getting a makeover: its 3D version will open in Chinese theaters on October 23, director Wong Kar-Wai announced at a press conference in Beijing on Sunday.
Wong’s Academy Award-nominated martial arts hit will become his first 3D movie. The world-renowned director said he hopes the box office results for the 3D film will surpass the previous 2D edition, which was released in early 2013. The 2D version raked in 290 million yuan (US$47.3 million) at Chinese mainland box offices and has received plenty of awards, including 12 prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
But Wong was not satisfied. The director spent a year polishing a 3D version with a team of 200 professionals. He flew to the United States to check the visual effects every month, and the money he spent on making the 3D version would have been enough to produce another brand new movie, Wong said.
“When I was shooting the film, I was considering using 3D technologies,” he said at the press conference, “But the technologies didn’t mature and match up with my needs. But when I was doing the film, I was doing it with a 3D approach in my mind, so now it is very easy for us to transform it into a 3D format.” It is true that 3D technologies were not mature enough for him at the time, since the film is well known for its long development time – Wong first began preparing it in 2001. Wong said he was trying to take on the challenge of combining Oriental aesthetics and Western technologies through this film.
Wong Kar-Wai said that the 3D version will be cut very differently from the previous 2D version, so audiences will see more deleted scenes and new material this time, including an exciting top kung fu performance from female master Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi). Previous media reports said the “special edition” will resemble the cut made for the US market.
Actress Zhang Ziyi just received the Best Actress prize for her leading role in “The Grandmaster” on Saturday at the 23rd Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, held in Lanzhou. The film itself won the Best Film Award.
“The Grandmaster” is an epic martial arts drama set against the backdrop of 1930s China and inspired by the life and times of Bruce Lee’s master, Ip Man. The movie also tells the stories of other kung fu masters in that chaotic and poetic era. The film was nominated for Best Cinematography (Philippe Le Sourd) and Best Costume Design (William Chang Suk Ping) at the 86th Academy Awards.
June 29th, 2014 • 1 comment
Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai has approached South Korean star Jun Ji-Hyun to star opposite Tony Leung Chiu-wai in his next movie, ‘Ferryman‘.
The actress is keen to work with the award-winning Grandmaster director, but is committed to another film project, Apple Daily said. Wong’s shoot is set to start in September in Nanjing, whereas Jun has a shoot at the end of the year for the film ‘Assassination‘. Ferryman is a romance based on a Chinese short story by writer Zhang Jiajia.
Jun, who shot to international fame in 2001’s ‘My Sassy Girl’, could play Ah Yu, a young woman who is in love with painter Ma Li, to be played by Leung.
Wong is planning to cast ‘Lust, Caution’ actress Tang Wei as Ma Li’s unfaithful former wife, and Taiwanese-Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro as Zhang.
A spokesman for Wong’s Jet Tone Films said that filming was to begin later this year, but did not name any of the cast. “I can only say that the actors we are talking to are heavyweights,” she said.
Song Hye Kyo, the South Korean actress who played the wife of Ip Man (Leung) in The Grandmaster, had found working with the director difficult. The film was 10 years in the making, and shooting took three years. All the actors said the filming was arduous and Song was said to be unhappy with the time-consuming shoot. The language barrier was also an issue for her, and may surface again should Jun be cast.
June 23rd, 2014 • Comments Off
According to a new report from Hong Kong’s The Standard, Wong Kar-wai will shoot his next film in 2015. Mei Ah Entertainment are producing, with their chief executive Patrick Tong Hing-chi hinting it will be a romantic movie, adding that the main actor is someone “all women are crazy about.” Tong refused to say whether it is another collaboration with Tony Leung Chiu-wai, who has starred in seven of Wong’s eleven movies.
Wong Kar-wai is set to adapt a short story from the collection I Belonged to You 從你的全世界路過 for his next film. Author Zhang Jiajia confirmed the news yesterday on his Weibo microblog.
Originally published on the internet as “bedtime stories”, the book is divided into 38 chapters. It is described as a “cluttered” collection of love stories written in the style of a “friend narrating his tales to you in the middle of the night.”
Wong is adapting the chapter called 擺渡人 (literally Ferryman), about an affair between a girl and a married artist in Changchun. Rights for individual chapters of the book have reportedly been sold to other film companies, but Wong’s adaptation is the first that has been officially announced by Zhang himself.
According to its publisher, stories from the book have been reposted 1.5 million times on Chinese microblogs. In book form it has reportedly sold over two million copies. Zhang previously co-wrote the script of Wuershan’s The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman.
Zhang wrote that the film is set to begin shooting soon with a very strong cast. Earlier this month,Mei Ah’s Patrick Tong told local media that Wong was preparing to shoot a romance in 2015.
April 16th, 2014 • Comments Off
The 33rd Annual Hong Kong Film Awards was held on April 13 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre. With the most nominations of 14, ‘The Grandmaster‘ won 12 awards to become the big winner and broke the 9 award records that ‘Comrades, Almost A Love Story‘ and ‘Cold War‘ held. It won Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Action Choreography, Best Original Score, Best Sound Effects. Zhang Ziyi won her 9th Best Actress award for the film while Nick Cheung‘s performance in ‘Unbeatable‘ defeated Tony Leung for Best Actor.
Zhang Ziyi won the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress for the second time after previously winning for ‘2046‘. As the awards presenter for Best Actress, Nick Cheung praised all the nominees including Zhang Ziyi, Tang Wei, and Paw Hee-ching, before announcing the year’s grand winner. Regarding Zhang Ziyi, he remarked, “Everyone calls her ‘International Zhang’. I noticed she has already reached international levels when I watched her outstanding performance in ‘The Grandmaster’ for the first time. She has a very high chance of receiving the award.” Adding to the exciting atmosphere, Nick spilled one of ‘The Grandmaster’s’ classic quotes to reveal Zhang Ziyi as the winner. In all smiles, Zhang Ziyi took turns hugging her costars including Tony Leung, Chang Chen, Max Zhang, Ada Choi, and director Wong Kar-wai, before heading onstage to claim her award. In midst of taking deep breaths, she uttered her speech of gratitude towards the cast and crew of ‘The Grandmaster':
“Thank you the people of Hong Kong for your encouragement and recognition, thank you Leung Chiu-wai. No matter tonight who goes home with the award, he will forever be the Best Actor in my heart. In 2009, Wong Kar-wai approached me about this film. I was so happy that I was jumping around like a rabbit when I told my parents, not because making Wong Kar-wai’s film could lead to an award but because his films would show an actor’s most excellent side. During the three years in production, I have had a lot of life experience and shed many tears. I occasionally fell, but I believed that someday someone would help you up and get you moving ahead. He was Wong Kar-wai. I am not emotional because I feel wronged, but because I am grateful.”
Backstage she said that she did not know why she cried even more than when she won her first Hong Kong Film Award 10 years ago, the older she got the more sentimental she got. ‘The Grandmaster’ has brought her 9 Best Actress awards, Zhang Ziyi said, “As the saying goes ‘9 9 return to 1′, I will also start anew and continue to make good movies.”
Nick Cheung got muscular to make ‘Unbeatable’. He defeated Tony Leung Leung for Best Actor, his second victory after ‘The Beast Stalker‘ in 2009. However Leung was very magnanimous and took the initiative to congratulate Cheung.
After 19 years, Wong Kar-wai finally won the Best Director award again. He previously won with ‘Days Of Being Being Wild‘ and ‘ChungKing Express‘. Wong Kar-wai admitted that the road to the stage was not longer, but to get on it again he already took 20 years. Presenter Carina Lau joked that Wong Kar-wai and Tony Leung must really love each other because they both insisted on working with the other. ‘The Grandmaster’ won 12 awards, setting a new record for the most awards. Wong Kar-wai said, “Film is the same as kung fu, it’s about the word ‘believe’. I cheer for Hong Kong film.” ‘The Grandmaster’ also won Best Film. Winning Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design with ‘The Grandmaster’, William Chang has already won the two awards for the 7th time, but due to an injury he could not attend.
Max Zhang won his first Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actor, he was so emotional that he sobbed with his wife Ada Choi in an embrace. He said as he cried, “Thank you Zhang Ziyi, thank you Leung Chiu-wai, special thanks to Yuen Woo Ping, without Yuen Woo Ping I couldn’t work with Wong Kar-wai. Thank you Wong Kar-wai, people say that making his film would win an award. I got it, I wouldn’t even dream it. Thank you to my wife Choi Siu-fun. Some have said that I would depend on her for the rest of my life, yes! My happiness for the rest of my life will depend on her. Once due to bad attitude I said to me, ‘What use is it that you are the only one who appreciates me in the world?’ Now everyone appreciates me. At the wedding that we would weather any storm together, we have experienced too many storms. I hope in the future we will have more scenery. From now on for richer or for poorer we have to spend it together.” Zhang later accepted the Best Action Choreography award for Yuen Woo Ping. He said, “One of the missing on the Malaysia Airline flight is the film’s action coordinator Ju Kun. Now since the matter still has not been cleared up, I want to loudly say to him, Ju Kun part of this award belongs to you, come back soon!”
THE 33RD HONG KONG FILM AWARDS
BEST FILM THE GRANDMASTER
BEST DIRECTOR Wong Kar Wai (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST SCREENPLAY Zou Jingzhi, Xu Haofeng, Wong Kar-wai (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ACTOR Nick Cheung (UNBEATABLE)
BEST ACTRESS Zhang Ziyi (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Max Zhang (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Kara Wai (RIGOR MORTIS)
BEST NEW PERFORMER Babyjohn Choi (THE WAY WE DANCE)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Philippe Le Sourd (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST FILM EDITING William Chang, Benjamin Courtines, Poon Hung Yiu (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ART DIRECTION William Chang, Alfred Yau (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST COSTUME AND MAKE UP DESIGN William Chang (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ACTION CHOREOGRAPHY Yuen Woo Ping (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE Shigeru Umebayashi, Nathaniel Mechaly (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ORIGINAL FILM SONG LET’S DANCE (THE WAY WE DANCE)
BEST SOUND DESIGN Robert Mackenzie, Traithep Wongpaiboon (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS Enoch Chan (RIGOR MORTIS)
BEST NEW DIRECTOR Adam Wong Sau Ping (THE WAY WE DANCE)
BEST FILM FROM MAINLAND AND TAIWAN SO YOUNG
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Cheung Sing Yim
April 3rd, 2014 • 0 comments
The 8th Asian Film Awards took place last night in Macau. With 11 nominations ‘The Grandmaster’ was the big winner as it won 7 awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score and Best Cinematography. Zhang Ziyi won her 8th Best Actress Award for portraying Gong Er in the film, whilst Tony Leung lost out to Indian actor Irrfan Khan in the Best Actor category.
Wong Kar-wai won Best Director and Best Film, and when he accepted the awards he was somewhat emotional. He said, “This award very regrettably cannot be shared with one of our stunt coordinators. He (Ju Kun) was a passenger on the missing Malaysia Airline flight. I hope Malaysia authorities would do its best to give us an understanding of the progress and the truth with more transparency.” He also sent his deepest condolences to the family of the passengers’ families. After the event Wong Kar-wai said that he hoped to help Ju Kun’s family through a family lawyer. As for Tony Leung again losing in the Best Actor category, Wong Kar-wai said that without the two Grandmasters Leung and Chang Chen, the film’s brilliance would not have been the same.
Upon being named Best Actress Zhang Ziyi happily embraced Wong Kar-wai then went to the stage and accepted the award from Carina Lau‘s hands. She said, “Thank you Asian Film Awards, the director and the Best Actor in my heart Mr. Leung Chiu-wai. I believe that many actors here feel the same as I do and experience the liveliness of the character with me. In addition it is without a mask, it is flesh and blood.” She said, “Like the tragedy that just happened, they all had lives of flesh and blood. They were our friends, family members. Here today, aside from celebration, I also want to salute valuable life.”
Zhang Ziyi said, “This time while working on ‘The Grandmaster’ I built deep relationships with the crew. I have already worked with Wong Kar-wai when I was very little, he is my teacher and my friend. The film production process was rather tough, ordinary people must not be able to feel that, in particular during the training. Today I am very upset for a reason, the team has a friend……who made me experience that I have to cherish life and those around me more. I hope this matter can give the real truth to the family.”
THE 8TH ASIAN FILM AWARD WINNERS
BEST FILM: THE GRANDMASTER
BEST DIRECTOR: Wong Kar Wai (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ACTOR: Irrfan Khan (THE LUNCHBOX)
BEST ACTRESS: Zhang Ziyi (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Huang Bo (NO MAN’S LAND)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Yeo Yann Yann (ILO ILO)
BEST NEWCOMER: Jiang Shuying (SO YOUNG)
BEST SCREENWRITER: Ritesh Batra (THE LUNCHBOX)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philippe Le Sourd (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Willian Chang Suk Ping, Alfred Yau Wai Ming (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST COMPOSER: Shigeru Umebayashi, Nathaniel Mechanly (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST EDITOR: Shin Min-Kyung (COLD EYES)
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Jeong Seong-Jin (MR. GO)
BEST COSTUME DESIGNER: William Chang Suk Ping (THE GRANDMASTER)
March 9th, 2014 • 0 comments
At the Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild 25th anniversary party and award presentation, ‘The Grandmaster‘ won 4 awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Wong Kar-wai, Best Actor for Tony Leung and Best Actress for Zhang Ziyi. It was Tony Leung’s first award for the film.
When Zhang Ziyi accepted the Best Actress award she said, “I don’t make many Hong Kong films. Since 2046 I started working with Wong Kar-wai, I feel that my performance and my English have improved. Only my Cantonese has deteriorated. Thus I hope to be able to work with different Hong Kong directors like Derek Yee.” She again won Best Actress for playing Gong Er, but was she confident that she would win again at the Hong Kong Film Award? Zhang Ziyi, “Let it take its natural course, actors can only control their performance on the set. Box office, word of mouth and awards are bonuses.” She regretted that ‘The Grandmaster’ did not win at the Oscars.
Tony Leung won Best Actor for playing Ip Man, he said that he represented the film team and could only take 10% of the credit. It also proved everyone’s hard work of the past 5 years. Although ‘The Grandmaster’ lost at the Oscars, Leung felt that reaching this step was already a honor. “The admission already proves the competitiveness of Chinese films. Although this is just the first step, success needs coordination from luck.”
Director Wong Kar-wai said that the awards represented countless words. He even admired Zhang Ziyi for being able to have different acceptance speeches for the numerous times she won awards for her role, but he only had “Thank you everyone”.
HONG KONG FILM DIRECTOR’S GUILD AWARDS 2013
BEST PICTURE: THE GRANDMASTER
BEST DIRECTOR: Wong Kar-wai (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ACTOR: Tony Leung (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ACTRESS: Zhang Ziyi (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST NEW ACTOR: Babyjohn Choi (THE WAY WE DANCE)
NEW DIRECTOR: Adam Wong (THE WAY WE DANCE)
COMMISSION SPECIAL PRIZE: Derek Kwok (AS THE LIGHT GOES OUT)
March 9th, 2014 • 0 comments
The Wong Kar-wai directed film ‘The Grandmaster’ was nominated for Best Costume and Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards but won neither. Wong Kar-wai said, “It doesn’t matter because it’s very hard. Gravity, for example, had several thousand people on the production, and they had labour unions too. Each person was connected, but I feel being nominated was already not easy.”
Two nights later, Wong Kar-wai returned to Hong Kong and prepared to attend the Hong Kong Film Directors Guild anniversary banquet. How did the Oscars atmosphere feel? He said, “Their organizations are very strict, the production is great and very united.” (Did the Hong Kong Film Awards have anything to learn?) “The Oscars is a very large scale show, with over 1 billion viewers worldwide. They have a lot of resources and enormous in scale, but the Hong Kong Film Award is already very well done.” He also revealed that earlier he met with Gong Li. Would they work together again? He said, “We definitely will have a chance.”
January 18th, 2014 • 0 comments
Yesterday, the nominations for the 86th Oscars were announced. ‘The Grandmaster‘, which is directed by Wong Kar-wai and starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Zhang Ziyi, did not receive a Best Foreign Film nomination but was still nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design. William Chang Suk-ping is nominated for the Best Costume Design award, whilst French photographer Philippe Le Sourd is nominated for Best Cinematography. A spokesperson for The Grandmaster’s distributor Jet Tone congratulated the two nominees, saying “They represent Hong Kong and are the glory of the Hong Kong film industry”.
The Ang Lee directed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon not only won the 73rd Oscar Best Foreign Film but also brought Hong Kong film professionals Tim Yip and Peter Pau the Best Art Director and the Best Cinematography Oscars. Years later, cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd is nominated for an Oscar after winning the Golden Horse Award and at the Asian Pacific Film Festival. He will compete against his counterparts from Gravity, Prisoners, Nebraska and Inside Llewyn Davis.
On the other hand, William Chang Suk-ping is nominated for Best Costume Design, the first time a Hong Kong film is nominated in the category. He will face his colleagues from American Hustle, The Great Gatsby, 12 Years A Slave and The Invisible Woman. William Chang, who has worked frequently with Mr. Wong, said he was “deeply honoured” for his costume-design nomination. “This is a recognition of the great team effort that went into bringing this film to life.”
The 86th Academy Awards will take place late on Sunday March 2 2014, at the Dolby Theatre.
January 17th, 2014 • 0 comments