Hong Kong art house director Wong Kar Wai back with kung fu epic

Director Wong Kar-Wai

Hong Kong art house director Wong Kar Wai, whose slow-paced, pensive films earned him laurels at international festivals such as Cannes, where he won best director, has just come out with The Grandmaster, his latest kung fu epic.

The fruit of eight years of labour and selected as the opening movie for February's Berlin International Film Festival, The Grandmaster tells the legendary tale of Bruce Lee's master Yip Man, played by Wong's long-time collaborator and Cannes best actor award winner Tony Leung.

The concept of the movie hit Wong even before he released his most celebrated work, In The Mood for Love, back in 2000, said the director, wearing his trademark sunglasses, at the movie's Hong Kong premiere on Jan 8.

The idea kept brewing in his head and eventually took him on a three-year journey, knocking on the doors of over 100 kung fu masters across China. "In the world of martial arts, there's a saying that goes -- 'the skies outside and inside the door are different'," he said.

"When you look at it outside the door, it will forever stay a mystery. But when you have a chance to put your head inside and take a peek, you then realise that (the world) inside draws you in," added Wong, who will also serve as the president of the jury for this year's Berlinale. The auteur set his eyes on four martial art clans for his feature film, but stressed that he wanted to convey a common spirit shared by grandmasters and aficionados alike.

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