The Straits Times
Monday. Jun 16, 2014
Shanghai last Saturday night kicked off its annual film festival with a heavy emphasis on Chinese cinema and a sprinkling of Hollywood stars promoting their latest works.
Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant and John Cusack were among about 400 guests including Asian celebrities John Woo, Jackie Chan, Gong Li and Nicholas Tse at the 17th festival.
Bringing early glitter at a pre-opening press conference was Singapore actor Christopher Lee, promoting the spy movie Trump Card (Wang Pai) with castmates Chiling Lin, Tony Leung Ka Fai and Gillian Chung.
Later, on the red carpet, Woo appeared with Song Hye Kyo, the Korean actress in his movie The Crossing. Also from South Korea came Song Seung Heon and singer Rain, who strolled up with Chinese actress Liu Yifei.
And the appearance of a solemnlooking Kai Ko, with the cast of romance Tiny Times 3, was noted following weekend news that the Taiwanese actor has called off his two-year romance with singer Elva Hsiao.
Cusack, in China to shoot the action movie Dragon Blade, appeared with co-stars Chan and Lin Peng. Tse was seen with Gao Yuanyuan, his co-star in the love story But Always.
At the opening, Kidman, who was promoting Grace Of Monaco, was presented with an award for outstanding contributions to film by Grant and Woo.
"I like Chinese women. I like that they're strong and they have a very good sense of humour," she said, answering a question about Chinese culture. "That's my dream, one day to play a Chinese woman," she added with a laugh.
Taking the award for outstanding contributions to Chinese film, Chinese director Jiang Wen said he initially thought he won the award because he is old enough, having turned 51.
He then joked that he changed his mind after looking at Kidman, 46, saying: "Nicole is still so young and beautiful. So I thought, I got this... because of looks."
Chinese state media has recently criticised big-budget action films in an indirect swipe at foreign movies, reported Agence France-Presse.
"Chinese moviegoers want more than car chases, explosions and eye-catching special effects," the official Xinhua news agency said in a recent article which declared a "golden period" for lowbudget Chinese movies.
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