Acclaimed director Wong Kar-Wai was saluted with France’s highest cultural honour on Sunday in celebration of his lengthy career. Having already received the National Order of the Legion of Honour, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Commander of France’s Order of Arts and Letters). Yesterday he accepted the honour with his wife from the French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius. He was so happy that he kissed his wife on the cheek twice. Actors Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Chang Chen and other company employees congratulated him.
Laurent Fabius said that Wong Kar-wai has brought Hong Kong culture to France. His influence has been recognized and planted in the hearts of the French people. Wong Kar-wai said, “I am very happy, this is a type of recognition and support for my team and Hong Kong film. My wife will take care of the honour, I am used to handing over everything to my wife.” He had no intention of emmigrating to France due to the high tax rate.
Wong Kar-wai disagreed that the French audience preferred his films. Most markets had Hollywood films had their mainstream, only France had room for different films. He said, “Chinese films perform poorly overseas so just focusing on one market is impossible. Film is a very lively culture.” he would not make French style films due to the honour. If he deliberately do something for others it would be meaningless. Speaking of Tony Leung taking a year off after completing “The Grandmaster”, Wong Kar-wai joked, “I just needed to take 9 months off. The film will be released in France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Korea and the U.S. I will take Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi to promote the film.”
Tony Leung said that recently he has been busy with computer lessons. He has already made plans with Wong Kar-wai to celebrate with a few drinks at night. “His movies are very unique and promote Hong Kong culture of the 50s and the 60s. Their productions are very intricate as well. Some feels that he spends a lot of time and money, but spending such much effort is truly not easy.”