Jun 17, 2013

    Shanghai opens star-packed film festival

    SHANGHAI last Saturday opened its annual film festival, packed with star power in acknowledgement of China's role as the second-largest box office in the world.

    The government-backed Shanghai International Film Festival is mainland China's premier event of its kind, though capital Beijing has tried to steal the show with its own film festival which marked its third year in April.

    American director Oliver Stone made a return appearance, after attending the first Shanghai film festival in 1993.

    "You're bigger and more exorbitant," Stone said, referring to the changes at the 16th Shanghai International Film Festival.

    Local favourites like Hong Kong star Chow Yun-fat and Taiwan's Jay Chou, who played sidekick Kato in the movie version of The Green Hornet, made appearances on the red carpet to promote upcoming films.

    British director Tom Hooper, whose films include Les Miserables and The King's Speech, is heading the jury for the festival's main award.

    Actor Keanu Reeves is also due to attend during the nine-day festival, to promote his directorial debut, Man Of Tai Chi.

    During the opening ceremony on Saturday night, Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau paid tribute to Hong Kong director and producer Tsui Hark, who was awarded the Chinese Film Award for Outstanding Contribution.

    While introducing the 63-year-old director, Lau said that although he had worked with Tsui just once in his 30-year acting career, it was Tsui who taught him how to be a better actor and to find a movie that both he and the audience loved.

    The film festival runs till Sunday and its offerings include a retrospective of the films of Hong Kong actor Leslie Cheung, who killed himself in 2003.