Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai opened up to over 600 cinephiles last week in a master class discussing his latest film "The Grandmaster," which opened the Berlin Film Festival in February and will be distributed in the US by The Weinstein Company.
Moderated by critic Yua Ching-yuen as part of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the master class offered insight into the themes running through Wong's oeuvre, which includes international arthouse sensations "In the Mood for Love" (2000) and "Chungking Express" (1994). But the major point of discussion was "The Grandmaster," an action film biopic of the life of martial arts teacher Ip Man — played by none other than Tony Leung — whose students included Bruce Lee. Read TOH's review here and take a look at three making-of featurettes.
The Wall Street Journal's Scene Asia posted translated excerpts of the discussion. "I want every viewer to throw themselves into [the story] and use their imaginations," Wong said.
The origins of "The Grandmaster," explained Wong, go all the way back to when he was shooting the gay love story "Happy Together" (1997). While in the midst of principal photography in Argentina, he was struck by magazine covers of Bruce Lee and Mao Zedong, wondering, "How did these two people influence the people of Argentina? What was the appeal?" He had the "urge to make a film about the beauty and elegance of Chinese men and women."
Wong also spoke about Tony Leung's rigorous martial arts training, as well as restoring "heritage" in the martial arts genre. Read more of The Wall Street Journal's coverage here.
View the trailer for "The Grandmaster" below.