Mon, May 24, 2004 - Page 16 News List

Maggie may? Maggie Cheung does win Best Actress at Cannes

AFP , HONG KONG

Hong Kong's film community expressed excitement yesterday at local star Maggie Cheung's Best Actress gong at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cheung deserved the award for her role as a junkie rock star in Clean, directed by her French ex-husband Olivier Assayas, said leading local movie critic Gary Pollard.

"It's good news for Maggie Cheung. I've been in Hong Kong for over 20 years. When she started, I thought she was an absolutely terrible actress, but she really worked very hard and become a very determined and capable actress," Pollard said.

"She's much more interested in making good movies, which give her a chance to do very good work. She has really blossomed and has become somebody who tries to be a very good and serious actress," he added.

Cheung, a 39-year-old former Miss Hong Kong beauty queen, won a Best Actress award in Berlin in 1992 and a heap of critical acclaim in 2000 for her role in Wong's In The Mood for Love.

"This is really an extraordinary moment in my life," she said at the ceremony.

When asked whether this was her best performance, she said, "It was difficult to play but not the most difficult technically speaking. It was difficult because it was painful. Other directors might let me play such a role, a junkie, but only Olivier gives me the trust necessary to play it as I feel."

In the film, Cheung fights to overcome her drug problem after losing parental rights over her child when her junkie husband dies of an overdose. The grandfather who looks after the boy is played by Nick Nolte.

Cheung's gong is the second best performance award to go to a Hong Kong star. Tony Leung won best actor for his role in Wong's In the Mood for Love in 2000.

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