Shanghai on 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 Beijing has tried to steal the show with its own film festival, which marked its third year in April.
The 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. Favourites such as the Hong Kong star Chow Yun-fat and Taiwan’s Jay Chou, who played Kato in the movie version of The Green Hornet, made appearances on the red carpet to promote new films. The British director Tom Hooper (Les Miserables, The King’s Speech) is heading the jury for the festival’s main award. Keanu Reeves is also due to attend during the nine-day festival to promote his directorial debut Man of Tai Chi.
China’s box office surged 36 per cent annually to US$2.7 billion (Dh9.9bn) in 2012, behind only North America with ticket sales of $10.8bn. The Shanghai festival’s offerings include a collection of Oliver Stone films and a tribute to the early works of Alfred Hitchcock.
Asian films include a retrospective of the films of the Hong Kong actor Leslie Cheung, who committed suicide in 2003. – AFP
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