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Stars shine as film festival opens

THE stars came out in their hundreds for the opening of the 12th Shanghai International Film Festival at the Shanghai Grand Theater last night.

More than 300 famous names from home and abroad walked the red carpet outside the theater.

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, in an elegant pink evening dress, received a warm welcome from local people and she told them: "I love you" in Chinese.

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi also attended with the crew of her latest romantic comedy "Sophie's Revenge."

The festival's grand opening also attracted British heartthrob Clive Owen, American musician Quincy Jones, Italian actress Maria Cucinotta and Chinese action star Donnie Yen.

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle is chairing the seven-member jury panel this year. It also includes veteran Chinese mainland filmmaker Huang Jianxin, American actress Andie MacDowell, Hong Kong director Andrew Lau and South Korean producer Oh Jung-wan.

After saying "hello" in Chinese, Boyle expressed his gratitude for the privilege to attend the festival. It was, he said, a wonderful platform to explore new talents.

"You're all important persons, but the most important person is not here," Boyle said. "There is a kid somewhere in China, or somewhere in the world who dreams of telling stories that we haven't imagined yet."

Berry received an award for outstanding achievement in world cinema. Thrilled by the honor, she said she could only stay in Shanghai for 12 hours because she had a baby at home. "Otherwise, I would stay at least one week to discover the city's charms," Berry said, adding: "I will come again for next year's Shanghai World Expo."

The award for outstanding achievement in Chinese cinema went to director John Woo.

This year, 16 films are in competition for the festival's top prize, the Golden Goblet, including "Empire of Silver" by Chinese director Yao Shuhua and German filmmaker Christoph Rohl's "A Piece of Me."

Veteran Chinese filmmaker He Ping's latest ancient war epic "Wheat" was the festival's opening film.


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