Wong Kar-wai at the Berlinale earlier this year.
Won Kar-wai Received Top French Accolade
Hong Kong-based filmmaker Won Kar-wai was named a Commander of France's Order of Arts and Letters. “Commander” is the highest rank of three possible titles for this honor, which has been bestowed on Bruce Willis, Ray Bradbury, Bob Dylan and T.S. Eliot. His latest, The Grandmaster, is headed for U.S. release later this year, TOH reports.
Observer Film Critic Steps Down After 50 Years
British critic Philip French began working with the Observer in 1963 and will retire at the end of August following his 80th birthday. “There is no daily or weekly newspaper of such distinction, and I count myself as extremely fortunate having had the opportunity to be part of such a tradition,” wrote French in his resignation letter. He is considered one of the U.K.'s greatest living movie analysts. The Guardian reports.
Fox to Fete Cleopatra 50th Anniversary in Cannes
The studio and Bulgari will tribute the 50th anniversary of Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The historical epic shot on 70mm film took home four Academy Awards and was the highest grossing film of 1963, earning more than $57 million in its initial release. The film cost an unprecedented $42 million to make at the time, which translates to $300 million today. A restored version of the 243-minute original will screen on May 21 in Cannes Classics and will be hosted by Jessica Chastain and Kate Burton, daughter of Richard Burton and step-daughter of Elizabeth Taylor, along with other guests. A red carpet reception will follow where Bulgari will display several of Elizabeth Taylor’s most treasured pieces from her personal jewelry collection, which are not for sale, and were reacquired at her highly publicized Christie’s auction.
Dame Helen Mirren Scolds Drummers Dressed as the Queen
Mirren, who is currently playing Queen Elizabeth II in London's West End, emerged in full costume Saturday to scold a group of drummers promoting a gay and transgender festival on Rupert Street outside the Gielgud Theatre, using “thespian words” to insist the group quiet their drumming because they were interrupting her play. “Quiet! I'm trying to do a play in here! People have paid a lot of money for tickets,” she reportedly said, in part. Mirren was also joined by Rufus Wright, who plays Prime Minister David Cameron in the production. Mirren won an Oscar for the film The Queen, which opened the New York Film Festival in 2006, BBC reports.
TIFF Bell Lightbox to Showcase Chinese Retrospective
The year-round exhibition space that is also the nucleus of the annual Toronto International Film Festival will host “A Century of Chinese Film,” running June 5 to August 11. The exhibit will begin with Cai Chusheng's New Women and conclude with Jia Zhangke's Still Life. In all, 80 films will screen including work from Edward Yang, Hou Hisiao-hsien, Zhang Yimou, Ang Lee and Won Kar-wai.