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Berlinale begins with Kar Wai's 'The Grandmaster'

Published: 19 Dec 2012 14:04 GMT+01:00

The award-winning film-maker will present "The Grandmaster", billed as an epic drama inspired by the life of Yip Man, the mentor of kung fu hero Bruce Lee.

Hong Kong heart-throb Tony Leung, who also starred in Wong's 2000 slow-burn drama "In the Mood for Love" and its science fiction-tinged follow up "2046", leads the cast of the new movie, which is set in 1930s China.

"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 festival said in statement.

Wong "has added a new and exciting facet to his body of work, and created an artful, visually powerful genre film," festival director Dieter Kosslick added.

"The Grandmaster", which will have its world premiere in China next month, will screen in the festival's official selection but out of competition.

The director, who was born in Shanghai and grew up in Hong Kong, will lead the panel picking the winners of the Golden and Silver Bear prizes in Berlin, one of Europe's top cinema showcases, running February 7 to 17.

Wong made his international breakthrough in 1994 with "Chungking Express". "2046" won a European Film Award in 2004 while "My Blueberry Nights" starring Jude Law and singer Norah Jones opened the Cannes film festival in 2007.

Last week the festival unveiled its preliminary line-up including anti-fracking film "Promised Land" which reunites Hollywood actor Matt Damon with director Gus Van Sant ("Good Will Hunting").

This year's Berlinale jury president was British director Mike Leigh, who awarded the Golden Bear to Italy's veteran film-makers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani for "Caesar Must Die", a docu-drama about inmates at a high-security prison staging Shakespeare.

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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