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Cheung Honored as Shanghai Film Festival Lifts Its Curtain
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The 10th Shanghai International Film Festival opened at the Shanghai Grand Theater on Saturday night, and its first order of business was to bestow special awards on industry members who had made significant contributions to Chinese cinema.

Actress Maggie Cheung walks on the red carpet in Shanghai Grand Theater on Saturday night, June 16, 2007, before the opening ceremony of the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival.

Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung, renowned local filmmaker Xie Jin and 90-year-old film artist Zhang Ruifang received the honors at the festival's grand opening.

Prior to the ceremony, nearly 300 domestic and foreign celebrities walked the red carpet, including Cheung, Hollywood sexpot Sharon Stone, actor Reggie Lee, acclaimed Japanese director Yoji Yamada and South Korean icon Lee Jun-ki.

Cheung expressed gratitude to everyone who had worked on her films - and even applauded those who don't like her movies.

"They have kept me moving to do better," she said.

During her acting career, Cheung has captured many international prizes, including the best actress Silver Bear at the 1992 Berlin Film Festival for Center Stage and the best actress honor at Cannes for the French film Clean in 2004.

The other two artists also received huge applause at the opening gala for their outstanding achievements in Chinese cinema.

This year 16 films are vying for the festival's top prize, the Golden Goblet. Three Chinese offerings, The Go Master by Tian Zhuangzhuang, Yin Li's The Knot, Hong Kong director Yau Nai-hoi's Eye in the Sky, and a Sino-US co-production, Shanghai Red by Oscar Costo, are among the nominees.

Mainland filmmaker Chen Kaige heads the seven-member jury panel, which also includes Spanish director Fernando Trueba and Italian actress Maria Cucinotta.

The police film Eye in the Sky was the festival's opening offering.

Yesterday's Jin Jue International Film Forum featured the heads of nine international film festivals, including representatives from Tokyo and Venice, to exchange their experiences.

"Each film fest needs to find its own position and style to match its culture and tradition," said Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, president of the Tokyo International Film Festival. "Providing a platform for young film talent is also our important mission."

Over the next few days, forum topics will include film co-production, film marketing, the making of digital-video shorts and new Asian films.

A Chinese film exhibition, a Japanese movie show and retrospective screenings of the works of the late Italian film master actor Marcello Mastroianni also kicked off yesterday.

Italian classics such as Divorce Italian Style and 8 1/2 as well a recent Japanese production, Love and Honor, and the Chinese comedy romance The Longest Night in Shanghai will be shown at 21 theaters across town as part of the festival's panorama section.

Tomorrow, the festival will launch special showcases of Brazilian and German films.

Festival ticket sales have topped five million yuan (US$658,000) so far, a slight increase from the same period last year.

The festival will close at the Shanghai Grand Theater on Sunday.

Renowned Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien will attend with his Looking for the Red Balloon as the closing film. French actress Juliette Binoche, who stars in the film, may also attend.

From left: Actresses Chen Hao from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong's Maggie Cheung, Hollywood star Sharon Stone and the mainland's Gao Yuanyuan are among the nearly 300 domestic and international celebrities that walked the red carpet on Saturday night before the opening ceremony of the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival at the Grand Theater.

(Shanghai Daily June 18, 2007)

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