Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster to open Berlin film festival

  • @matildbattersby

Martial arts epic The Grandmaster will open next year’s Berlin International Film Festival as its international premiere.

Directed by Wong Kar Wai, president of this year’s festival jury, the film is set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930s China.

The film is inspired by Yip Man, legendary grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun and master to Bruce Lee, about whom at least three films (Wilson Yip’s Ip Man and Ip Man 2, and Herman Yau’s Legend Is Born – Ip Man) have already been made.

The Grandmaster’s title was changed from Grandmaster Ip Man after it was discovered that it and another Ip Man film were being made totally separately at around the same time.

Wong’s film was originally intended for release in 2011 but it was plagued by production issues with three years of film production following almost a decade of preparation.

The film stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai who has appeared in a number of films directed by Wong, including Days of Being Wild and Happy Together. Co-stars include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actors Ziyi Zhang and Chang Chen, Happy Times’ Zhao Benshan and A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop actor Xiao Shengyang.

“It is a special honour for us to open the 2013 Berlinale with the presentation of the newest film by this year's jury president, WONG Kar Wai. With The Grandmaster, Kar Wai has added a new and exciting facet to his body of works, and created an artful, visually powerful genre film,” says festival director Dieter Kosslick.

The world premiere of The Grandmaster will be on 8 January 2013 in China, and the film will open at cinemas in numerous countries worldwide in spring 2013.

Matt Damon film Promised Land is set to compete in this year's Berlin film festival competition. The film, which is also having its international premiere at the festival, will vie against five other movies in Berlin’s official competition next February.