Mon, May 20, 2002 - Page 11 News List

Cannes in the mood for Hong Kong

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN CANNES, FRANCE

Organized for the second year as a large promotional event at the Cannes International Film Festival, Hong Kong night in Cannes this year was seemed to be making a nod toward Wong Kar-wai (王家衛). Maggie Cheung (張曼玉), Tony Chiu-wai Leung (梁朝偉) and Tony Ka-fai Leung (梁家輝) all showed up on Saturday at Carlton Beach as this year's special envoys for Hong Kong films.

As Cheung and Leung are best remembered for their turns in Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love (花樣年華), the Hong Kong promotional program this year was titled "In the Mood for Hong Kong."

Carlton Beach on Saturday was specked with stars, champagne and fine food. Giant balloons with "Hong Kong" written in both Chinese and English hung high above the sea. And again, there were performances of dragon and lion shows, kung fu demonstrations and Chinese acrobatics. But of course most of the spotlights fell on Maggie Cheung.

Cheung just finished shooting Chinese director Zhang Yi-mou's (張藝謀) martial arts drama Hero (英雄) with Tony Chiu-wai Leung. Her appearance at the party immediately caused a riot among journalists. There was nearly a brawl between photographers trying to take her picture.

It was also rumored that Cheung came to Cannes for another reason. Her ex-husband, French director Olivier Assayas, has had his new work Demonlover selected in Cannes' official competition. Cheung's agent announced two weeks ago that Cheung and Assayas had divorced.

"I'm glad that Hong Kong films are getting widely recognized. I'm proud to be a part of it," Cheung said in front of a crowd of journalists. She said it's always good for her to expand her acting career beyond Hong Kong. "Because I am new to the international audience, but in Hong Kong, I'm an old actress already," she said. "I appreciate having worked with Wong Kar-wai. He taught me to be an actress, instead of teaching me how to act," Cheung said.

Both Cheung and Tony Chiu-wai Leung are are slated to star in Wong's futuristic film 2046. The film began shooting two years ago, which is considered a normal schedule for Wong, who almost always takes more than a year to finish a film. As for the film's story, Leung only has a vague answer.

"When we began shooting, I was playing a cop in the year 2046, working in Japan with Wong Faye (王菲) and Takeshi Kaneshiro. But now the story is that I am a writer in the 1960s, writing about the future world of 2046. ... You never know for how long he's gonna take to shoot. And you never know what the story might become. But we trust him," Leung said.

Leung was named Best Actor at Cannes two years ago for In the Mood For Love. He said he had been involved more in kung fu films. Apart from Hero, his next project is playing a Bruce Lee-like kung fu hero. "It's based on a true story and takes place at a martial arts parlor. And the character of Bruce Lee will show up at the end," he said.

Another Tony Leung, Tony Ka-fai Leung came to Cannes for the suspense thriller Double Vision (雙瞳). Directed by Taiwan's Chen Kuo-fu (陳國富), the film was selected for the Un Certain Regard section. Leung became internationally known for the French box office hit The Lover in 1993.

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