'The Grandmaster' takes center stage

Updated: 2013-07-24 22:19

(China Daily)

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Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai's critically acclaimed move, The Grandmaster, was given an advance screening by the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles on July 22, as part of the academy's celebration of kungfu films.

'The Grandmaster' takes center stage

HK director Wong Kar-wai stands together with Mad Men creator Matt Weiner, who is one of Wong's biggest fans, beside a poster of Wong's latest work The Grandmaster at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on July 22.

The movie's female lead, Zhang Ziyi, made a surprise appearance at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, to the delight of Wong and the audience. Mad Men creator Matt Weiner, one of Wong's biggest fans, hosted an onstage conversation with the director. Tickets for the event sold out quickly.

The Grandmaster tells the story of martial arts grandmaster Ip Man (Tony Leung), who trained kungfu and movie legend Bruce Lee. As he seeks to perfect his practice of the fighting style Wing Chun, Ip collides with another determined kungfu master, Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), during the Japanese invasion of China in 1936 and the tumultuous years that follow.

'The Grandmaster' takes center stage

Teammates: Wong Kar-wai and Zhang Ziyi, female lead of The Grandmaster, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on July 22.

The cast also includes Wang Qingxiang, Chang Chen and Song Hye Kyo, as well as hundreds of Asia's top martial artists.

Wong is known for his unique sense of style and emotionally resonant work. As the first Chinese director to win the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his 1997 film Happy Together, Wong has been called a "poet of time" by Sight & Sound magazine and "perhaps the most revered and singular of Hong Kong auteurs" by The New York Times.

Other films by Wong include Chungking Express, 2046 and his first English-language film, My Blueberry Nights, which starred Jude Law and Norah Jones in her acting debut.

The Grandmaster was released in China earlier this year and will hit US theaters on Aug 23.

'The Grandmaster' takes center stage

From left: Matt Weiner, Zhang Ziyi, Wong Kar-wai, Chinese playwright Zou Jingzhi and Academy President Hawk Koch at the advance screening of The Grandmaster on July 22.