2046 premieres to acclaim in Cannes
The Cannes film festival breathed a collective sigh of relief Thursday evening at the world premiere of the much-awaited film "2046" by Chinese director Wong Kar-wai -- which was still missing just hours before the screening.
Organisers of the film festival had to rejig programming Thursday to accommodate for the delay in the arrival of the film, the penultimate of the 19 movies selected to compete for the coveted Palme d'Or.
Production sources said Wong, who directed "In The Mood for Love", had missed a flight to France on Wednesday, and winged it to Cannes on Thursday carrying the missing 20 percent of the reels edited at the last minute. The film appeared to be not quite fully edited.
The whereabouts of China's lone entry, a poetic film featuring Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Tony Leung, Faye Wong and Tony Leung -- with an appearance by "In the Mood For Love" heroine Maggie Cheung -- that was five years in the making, has kept the festival on the edge of its seat for days.
Half an hour before the premiere started, organisers were still not confirming whether the film had safely arrived in Cannes.
The premiere for the general public was pushed back and screenings for professionals cancelled, causing a total overhaul of the festival schedule.
Wong, known for infinite finessing of his movies, was believed to have been working round the clock in Bangkok to complete the film in the run-up to Cannes, the film industry magazine Variety said.
In 2000 the 45-year-old director was still shooting scenes of "In The Mood for Love" shortly before its release in Cannes.
Maggie Cheung meanwhile was applauded Thursday for her role in French director Olivier Assayas' film "Clean", in which she plays a junkie.
Asian films account for a whopping 33 percent of the films competing to win the Palme d'Or but none so far have leapt out as potential winners.
Two of the movies competing for the award are from Japan, two from South Korea, one from Thailand for the first time, and the feature from China.
Critics streamed out of "Tropical Malady" by young avant-garde Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and South Korea's "Woman Is the Future of Man" by Hong Sang-soo failed to trigger a lot of interest.
South Korea's other entry, "Old Boy" by director Park Chan-wook, fared better as did both Japanese films, "Nobody Knows" by Hirokazu Koreeda and "Innocence", an anime by Mamoru Oshii.