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June 15, 2014

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Kidman sparkles as film festival gets under way

THE curtain rose on the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival last night with a star-studded red carpet event at the Shanghai Grand Theater.

Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, British actor Hugh Grant, French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, South Korean actress Song Hye-kyo and Hong Kong actor Nicolas Tse were just some of the 400 celebrities who attended the gala.

Grant, who was making his first visit to Shanghai, told fans he thought the city was “very beautiful.”

The star of romantic comedy “The Rewrite,” which is being shown at the festival, also said: “I love Shanghai” in the local dialect.

American actor John Cusack walked down the red carpet with the crew of “Dragon Blade,” a Chinese epic war movie in which he plays a prince.

Acting alongside kung fu master Jackie Chan, the movie is Cusack’s first in the Chinese language.

At the opening ceremony,  Kidman, clad in a stunning fishtail dress, was presented with an Outstanding Contribution Award for her willingness to take on challenging roles.

“I love taking risks,” she said. “As an actor, my career is always about pushing myself and pushing the boundaries.”

Kidman said she felt a strong connection with China as she had learned a lot about the country from a Chinese friend.

“I also like Chinese women,” she said. “Maybe one day I could play a Chinese woman.”

Filmmaker Jiang Wen was also honored, with an award for Outstanding Contribution to Chinese cinema.

Jiang, who is known for innovation in his movies, said he had an affinity with Shanghai as several of his films were either shot in the city or were about its people.

This year’s jury panel for the Golden Goblet award is headed by Chinese actress Gong Li, who is the first woman to hold the president’s position.

After expressing her gratitude at being asked to lead the jury, Gong said she hoped audiences would view the films not just with their eyes, but also with their hearts.

A total of 15 movies from various genres are in the running for the Golden Goblet awards.

The opening film of this year’s festival, which runs through June 22, was a restored high-definition version of “Stage Sisters,” a Chinese classic from 1964 directed by Xie Jin.


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