Feature: Rome Film Festival to see active Chinese role

2013-09-26 21:59:22 GMT2013-09-27 05:59:22(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ROME, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Tsui Hark, the Hong Kong-based director, producer, screenwriter proclaimed by many as one of the visionaries behind the heyday of Hong Kong cinema in the 1980s and 1990s, will be honored at the next edition of Italy's Rome Film Festival.

Rome artistic director Marco Mueller announced Thursday that Tsui would be honored with the event's Maverick Director Award. The festival will also host the first screening of Tsui's latest film, "Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon 3D" (Di Renjie zhi shendu longwang 3D) outside of Asia, while the 63-year-old will host a special master class for film lovers at the festival.

Tsui's honor marks his triumphant return to Italy three years after the first Detective Dee film, "Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame" (Di Renjie zhi tongtian diguo) premiered in competition at the Venice Film Festival in 2010. And it is also a return to a love of Chinese cinema for Mueller, who headed the Venice Film Festival when Tsui last appeared there.

Mueller, now in his second year at the helm of the Rome festival, has long ties to Asian -- and specifically Chinese -- cinema. A fluent speaker of Chinese, the Italian-born Mueller studied in China and cutting edge Chinese productions were regular fixtures during his eight-year tenure in Venice, where three directors with Chinese ties won the event's coveted Golden Lion honor: Jia Zhangke for "Still Life" (Sanxia haoren) in 2006, Ang Lee for "Lust, Caution (Se, jie) in 2007, and John Woo, with a career Golden Lion in 2010.

But Mueller's first edition in Rome featured only a single Asian title (from Japan) among the 22 in- and out-of-competition films in the official selection. Now, with his sophomore edition in Rome, the artistic director's interest in Chinese cinema has evidently re-emerged.

Tsui is the second director to win the new Maverick Director award following U.S. film director Walter Hill last year, and the festival announced the honor would be presented to him by French director Olivier Assayas, who was one of the first to recognize Tsui's place as one of the protagonists of the Hong Kong cinema's so-called golden age.

In a statement, Mueller praised that role.

"Tsui Kark will always be one step ahead," Mueller said. "He has never stopped experimenting, delving deep into the genres, exploring the limits of technology as he follows its non-stop evolution. He has reinterpreted the Chinese filmmaking tradition, turning the codes and conventions of western cinema upside down.

"You can be sure of one thing," Mueller concluded. "Tsui Hark will continue to leave us spellbound and amazed."

Though the Rome festival will not announce its full lineup until next month, Tsui's latest "Detective Dee" film will join what is already shaping up to be a high-profile out-of competition lineup at the festival, including the international launch of the latest film in the blockbuster "The Hunger Games" franchise and "Fear of Falling," the first film from Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme in five years.

The festival runs Nov. 8-17 at Rome's Auditorium Parco della Musica venue.

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