Hong Kong art house director Wong Kar Wai back with kung fu epic

Tue Jan 8, 2013 11:30pm EST
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By Venus Wu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong art house director Wong Kar Wai, whose slow-paced, pensive films earned him laurels at international festivals such as Cannes, where he won best director, has just come out with "The Grandmaster," his latest kung fu epic.

The fruit of eight years of labor and selected as the opening movie for February's Berlin International Film Festival, The Grandmaster tells the legendary tale of Bruce Lee's master Yip Man, played by Wong's long-time collaborator and Cannes best actor award winner Tony Leung.

The concept of the movie hit Wong even before he released his most celebrated work, In The Mood for Love, back in 2000, said the director, wearing his trademark sunglasses, at the movie's Hong Kong premiere on Jan 8.

The idea kept brewing in his head and eventually took him on a three-year journey, knocking on the doors of over 100 kung fu masters across China.

"In the world of martial arts, there's a saying that goes -- 'the skies outside and inside the door are different,' he said.

"When you look at it outside the door, it will forever stay a mystery. But when you have a chance to put your head inside and take a peek, you then realize that (the world) inside draws you in," added Wong, who will also serve as the president of the jury for this year's Berlinale.

The auteur set his eyes on four martial art clans for his feature film, but stressed that he wanted to convey a common spirit shared by grandmasters and aficionados alike.

"In the world of martial arts, there are many people who are not 'masters', but they have a deep affection for martial arts. They always hope to leave something behind for their clan and martial arts during their lifetime," he said.   Continued...

Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai removes confetti from his sunglasses after he beats a drum with cast members at the premiere of the movie "The Grandmaster" in Hong Kong January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu