US trailer for “The Grandmaster”


The new US trailer for Wong Kar-wai’sThe Grandmaster” has finally been released, complete with annoying voiceover.

The film will finally be released in America on August 23.

‘The Grandmaster’ premieres in Hong Kong

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Director Wong Kar Wai, and actors Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen,  and Max Zhang Jun attended the Hong Kong Kong premiere of ‘The Grandmaster’. Critics compared ‘The Grandmaster’ of resembling Wong Kar-wai’s earlier film ‘In The Mood For Love’. Wong Kar-wai explained that he already had the idea for the film as early as 1989. “The preparation took years because I had to visit seven or eight provinces for martial art masters.” Zhang Ziyi did not conduct any interviews. Song Hye-kyo was in South Korea but sent a video. 

Tony Leung did not believe that Song Hye-kyo was upset that her role was reduced to just six minutes screen time. “Wong Kar-wai wouldn’t be at odds with anyone, I too had my scenes cut.” He described after three years in production the final half a month exhausted him thoroughly, as hard as the last 10 minutes of a marathon. As for Donnie Yen stating that he would watch ‘The Grandmaster’, Leung said, “I am not afraid of comparison, I have my own interpretation of the role.”

Ticket sales have been decent as many booked in advance, obviously Wong Kar-wai fans have been waiting for the film for a long time. Tony Leung’s martial art scenes have always been the focus. In the film he fought ferociously, completely relying on editing methods to assist and adjust. As for memorable scenes, they seemed to be Wong Kar-wai’s salute to his own classic films ‘In The Mood For Love’ and Fallen Angels’.

The film is about the life of Wing Chun master Ip Man, but the story actually could not leave Wong Kar-wai’s trademark “romance” out of the equation by depicting Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi’s ambiguous relationship in particular detail. Their duel, spinning in the air and exchanging looks nose to nose was the most memorable; then through their letter exchanges and clothes buttoning to express their feelings, which were already full of poetic artistry.

The martial art fight scenes were the main focus of the movie for which Tony Leung studied Wing Chun. In the first half of the film, his six fight scenes were very convincing without any use of a stunt double. Of course he also relied on camera work and editing methods to assist and adjust, making the film even more intense and brilliant.

Zhang Ziyi and Max Zhang Jun’s fight at the train station looked the part and fought excitingly. Chang Chen fought decently as well but his role was drastically reduced in the film. He and Zhang Ziyi’s emotional scene was also deleted, weakening his character and made him less of an attraction than Zhang Jun.

Korean star Song Hye-Kyo as Mrs. Ip Man was pretty and sexy enough, but the role was too light. With only two lines she did not have much chance to perform, but she made up for it with her eyes and expressions; however she and Leung had intimate scenes. She wiped the unbuttoned Leung and showed off her legs as he bathed her feet.

The film also had many familiar scenes like reflections of Wong Kar-wai’s past work and salutes to them. Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi locking eyes was like ‘Fallen Angel’s Leon Lai-ming and Michelle Reis’ love at first sight; Zhang Ziyi’s heart to heart with a hole in the wall reminded people of ‘In The Mood For Love’ where Tony Leung’s character whispered a secret into a hole in a tree. Leung washing Song Hye-kyo’s feet was just like his massage for Maggie Cheung Man-yuk in ‘In The Mood For Love’. As for Ip Man changing into a suit and applying gel to his hair reminded people of ‘In The Mood For Love’.

Wong Kar Wai as usual invited different guest stars, this time was no exception with Julian Cheung Chi-lam, Berg Ng Ting Yip, Lo Hoi Pang, Xiao Shenyang, action director Yuen Woo-Ping, Zhao Benshan, Tsui Kam Kong, Lo Mang. Tsui Kam Kong appeared in one shot and had no lines; Julian Cheung had no lines but portrayed a Chinese Opera star. Appearing in ‘Ip Man 2′, Lo Mang was the only actor who was able to take part in ‘The Grandmaster’. The challenging master Lo Mang and thug Xiao Shenyang added humor to balance the film’s tension. Veteran actor Lo Hoi Pang’s role was not large but his every move was dramatic.

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‘The Grandmaster’ to open Berlin International Film Festival; plus new posters

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Berlinale press release:

The international premiere of The Grandmaster by Chinese director and president of this year’s jury, WONG Kar Wai, will open the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.

The Grandmaster is an epic martial arts drama set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930’s China and inspired by the life and times of the legendary IP Man (Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai), mentor to Bruce LEE. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai (Days of Being Wild – Berlinale Forum 1991, Chungking Express, Happy Together, In The Mood for Love, 2046, all directed by WONG Kar Wai), also includes Ziyi ZHANG (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, D: Ang Lee), who was a guest at the 2009 Berlinale Competition with Forever Enthralled (D: CHEN Kaige), CHANG Chen (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon; Eros, D: WONG Kar Wai), ZHAO Benshan (Happy Times, D: ZHANG Yimou), XIAO Shengyang (A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, D: ZHANG Yimou – Berlinale Competition 2010) and SONG Hye Kyo (A Reason to Live, D: LEE Jeong-hyang), as well as hundreds of Asia’s top martial artists.

“It is a special honour for us to open the 2013 Berlinale with the presentation of the newest film by this year’s jury president, WONG Kar Wai. With The Grandmaster, Kar Wai has added a new and exciting facet to his body of works, and created an artful, visually powerful genre film,” says festival director Dieter Kosslick.

Nearly three years of film production and almost a decade of preparation went into the making of The Grandmaster for its director WONG Kar Wai, who began exploring the idea for the film in 1996.

“I am truly very honoured by Dieter and his invitation for my new film The Grandmaster to participate in the 63rd Berlinale and to open the festival. This is a dream project for me that I had been developing for many years. I am very happy to be able to present it in Berlin. I was already greatly looking forward to my returning to Berlin to serve as the President of the International Jury, so seeing The Grandmaster presented there will make it all the more special for me,” says WONG Kar Wai.

With his signature style-defining mood, atmosphere and reality, director WONG Kar Wai delves into the eternal question in martial arts of whether the victor is more than merely the “last man standing”, and brings the genre to new heights.

The Grandmaster is a Block 2 Pictures and Sil-Metropole Organisation presentation of a Jet Tone Films and Sil-Metropole Organisation production. It is written and directed by WONG Kar Wai.

The Grandmaster will be presented as the opening film in the official selection, but screening out of competition.

The world premiere of The Grandmaster will be celebrated on January 8, 2013 in China, and the film will open at cinemas in numerous countries including Germany in spring 2013. The film’s distributor in Germany will be Wild Bunch.

‘The Grandmasters’ delayed until 2013; new character posters released



Directed by Wong Kar-wai, featuring an all-star ensemble of Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Zhao Benshan, Xiao Shenyang and Song Hye-kyo, the film ‘The Grandmasters’ released four new posters today. The posters show four of the lead actors ‘smashing’ through waves. Also revealed on the posters was the new release date of the movie, which is now set for January 8, 2013.

The four new posters depict Tony Leung fighting in Wing Chun style, Zhang Ziyi fighting in baguazhang style (eight trigram palm), Chang Chen using bajiquan (eight extremities fist), and Zhao Benshan using xingyiquan (shape boxing). All four actors display their clans’ special moves as they attempt to split the waves. Water appears to splash everywhere and the chill in the air is evident. The coldness also seems to seep into their faces making them appear domineering. As compared to previous years, the lineup for this year’s lunar holiday films appear to be more competitive. Due to the fierce competition predicted at the box office, ‘The Grandmasters’ has readjusted their release date to January 8, 2013 (prior to the lunar new year).

Wong Kar Wai began filming his first movie ‘As Tears Go By’ in 1988. Next year will be his 25th year as a feature film director. ‘The Grandmasters’ will be his 10th release (excluding Eros, which was a joint project with Michelangelo Antonioni and Steven Soderbergh). However, ‘The Grandmasters’ is also the film he has spent the most time preparing for. Regarding the decision to release the movie the towards end of the (Western) New Year holiday, the spokesperson from the distribution company Sil-Metropole Organisation, says, “This movie incorporates many years of hard work from director Wong and all of his cast. From that point of view, we would like to give him more space to bring his entire vision to fruition. This is the kind of respect we’d like to give to these directors.”

New trailer for ‘The Grandmasters’


The new trailer for ‘The Grandmasters’ has been released as well as some new stills. 

The new film from Wong Kar-wai starring  Tony Leung Chiu-wai in the title role will finally be released this Christmas.  As Ip Man, Tony Leung has numerous fight scenes, one of which he had to fight over ten people in the rain and thoroughly displayed his abilities. Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi had a “fight into an embrace” and a staring scene.

In the trailer, Tony Leung spoke Cantonese while the other actors spoke Putonghua. Other actors like Chang Chen, Song Hye-Kyo, Zhao Benshan, Xiao Shenyang and others were introduced as well.

The Grandmasters Press Conference and Teaser Trailer

Director Wong Kar-wai and cast members of The Grandmasters appeared at a special press conference held in Beijing on December 28th.
The event was for the 60th anniversary of Sil-Metropole Organisation Ltd, one of the film’s production companies.
Most of the attention went to the cast of The Grandmasters, including Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Zhao Benshan, Song Hye-kyo, Xiao Shenyang and Wang Qingxiang, who rushed from the Guangdong set. The team presented an oil painting poster to the company.
The event showed a promotional reel for The Grandmasters but it did not include any actual footage from the film. Host Zhang Guoli joked that this trailer was mysterious enough, after such a long shoot the trailer had no scenes at all.
Then actors Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Song Hye-Kyo, Zhao Benshan, Xiao Shenyang, Wang Qingxiang appeared on stage.

Speaking of the fight scenes, Tony Leung said that he was not worried as he practiced for a long time. He practiced so much that his arm was broken at the hands of his Wing Chun teacher. Zhang Guoli joked that the scene of Tony Leung’s arm being broken was not preserved, which truly was a regret for Chinese film because it was worth a lot of money. The fight scene in the rain he said was very difficult and took 30 days to shoot. Zhang Guoli joked that it only took 30 days, someone had to thank Wong Kar-wai as normally it might take 3 months.
Zhang Ziyi plays a martial art expert in the film, Zhang Guoli praised her eight diagram palm technique in the snow scene, saying it was very pretty. Zhang Ziyi said that this scene was shot last winter. At the time, the crew joked that this shoot would not be completed as they predicted whether or not they would have to shoot it again next year. Surprisingly they were right. She recalled the 30 degree below zero (Celsius) shooting environment as truly tough.

Chang Chen plays an eight diagram expert in the film. For the film, he trained for two years but the training benefited him a lot and his health improved.
Song Hye-kyo plays Yip Man’s (Tony Leung) wife in the film, but they did not stand together on the stage. She joked that they (she and Tony) were together everyday during filming so they didn’t have to stand together now. Zhang Guoli said that this was understandable to avoid suspicion from Tony Leung’s wife (Carina Lau). This was Song Hye-kyo’s first film shooting in China and she was truly pleased to be able to work with a group of such great actors. She thanked director Wong Kar-wai for his help, because at first she was not too used to his style of directing. Director Wong helped her a lot.
Wong Kar Wai appeared in the end to pose for a group photo with the cast.
Host Zhang Guoli asked Tony Leung to make a kung fu pose but Tony only had his hands in his pockets and played cool. He explained that he was dressed modernly so he posed with his hands in his pockets in front of the poster.
The actors finally sang a birthday song to celebrate Sil-Metropole’s 60th year, but they looked somewhat embarrassed.


After two days promoting The Grandmasters in Beijing, Tony Leung returned to Hong Kong. Reporters asked him about the filming schedule and he revealed that he will return to the Mainland later to continue the shoot. He has been shooting more than 10 hours a day, most likely with no time off during the new year. He thinks they will finish around the Lunar New Year (February).
Tony was in good spirits and full of smiles. He said, “Maybe it’s because of this Grandmaster hair cut.” His earlier injury has now basically healed, but during action scenes he would be even more cautious as he did not want to be injured again.
According to news in Hong Kong, initially the investors wanted ‘The Grandmasters’ to be released in the Lunar New Year period (early February), but now they are saying that the film will be in Chinese theaters during Easter.

Teaser Trailer:

Translation of the text in the trailer:
“Their valor is transmitted by men of chivalry, accurately recorded by the brushes of history that begin to flow into myriads of seas, and due to the dao, the fortunes of their affection are long, and the elements once a generation bear witness to the masters.”