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Chinese Filmmakers Making the Most of Cannes Film Festival
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Major Chinese filmmakers will be promoting their films big-time at the 59th Cannes International Film Festival, which runs through May 28.


They'll be helped in creating a buzz for China's film industry with the presence of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai heading the jury and Chinese mainland actress Zhang Ziyi as a jury member, and Chinese film Summer Palace in competition.


Two other Chinese films, Luxury Car from the Chinese mainland and Gwaiwik from Hong Kong are entered in Un Certain Regard, Cannes' non-competitive section. The Banquet and Longhu Fight will launch their promotion campaigns at the festival.


Wong leads the way   


Wong Kar-wai, the 48-year-old Hong Kong director, the first Chinese filmmaker to head the Cannes jury, has arrived in Cannes. He was the first Chinese to win the Best Director award at Cannes in 1997 for Happy Together, the tale of a strained relationship between two Chinese gay lovers living in Buenos Aires. It was his later film In the Mood for Love, released in 2000, that earned him wider international plaudits. It was nominated for a Golden Palm, Cannes' highest honor, and earned some US$2.7 million at the US box office. 


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Zhang Ziyi serves as a jury member of the festival. 


Lou Ye awaits being "famous"   


Summer Palace, by China's sixth-generation-director Lou Ye, is the only Chinese film in Cannes' main competition. It tells the story of young love in a time of social unrest.   


In 2003, Lou's Purple Butterfly, co-starring Zhang Ziyi, entered the competition section but received no awards.   


Wang Chao will fly to Cannes later this week for the screening of Luxury Car. Wang said: "I feel happy with the nomination. I now hope it will succeed at the box office."   


Cannes, hot film market   


The festival has become a major market for Chinese directors. Last year, Chen Kaige spent more than US$1 million at Cannes to promote The Promise. This year, Feng Xiaogang is planning to spend big on his new blockbuster The Banquet. According to Huayi Corporation vice president Xu Li, The Banquet budget for Cannes is US$500,000.     


Other Chinese films, including Johnny To's Election II, Chen Daoming's Longhu Fight, and Peter Chan's Perhaps Love will also be promoted or screened at Cannes.


(Shenzhen Daily May 18, 2006)

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