Shanghai Celebrates Festival Opening With Glitzy Red Carpet Event

Foreign visitors were in short supply at Saturday’s opening ceremony of the 26th Shanghai International Film Festival, but that did little to diminish the festive atmosphere.

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The ceremony was held at the Shanghai Grand Theater in the downtown area on an evening that was warm and spring-like and without the “plum rain” or summer downpours that the city is known for at this time of year.

Arguably the biggest names in attendance were Hong Kong actor and “Westworld” star Daniel Wu, Hong Kong director Dante Lam, Chinese star actor-director-producer Xu Zheng and Japanese actor Yakusho Koji, who won the best actor award a year ago at Cannes for his leading role in Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days.” Marco Mueller, a celebrated festival director and artistic consultant, was also on hand in his adopted home town.

Wu was representing new film “Decoded,” directed by Chen Sicheng, whose “Lost in the Stars” earned more than RMB3.5 billion at the mainland China box office.

Other faces with worldwide fame include the team behind “Black Dog,” the winner of the Un Certain Regard Prize last month in Cannes. They were led out by director Guan Hu, producer Liang Jing, and main cast Eddie Peng and Tong Liya. The film is now on commercial release in Chinese theaters. Guan is in Shanghai with his latest effort “A Man and A Woman,” which is selected for the festival’s main competition. He trod the red carpet twice on Saturday – once with each film.

As has become customary at Shanghai, the opening event was an opportunity for the cast and crews of upcoming summer release titles to tread the red carpet and drum up some advanced publicity.

These included the production team of “Operation Leviathan,” with actors Huang Xuan, Du Jiang, Wang Yanlin, Han Dongjun, Gao Ge, Ye He and actress Jiang Luxia in attendance.

The team of “Under One Person” also made a splash. They included actor Wu Jiakai, actress Na Ran, actor Feng Shaofeng, director Wuershan, actor Hu Xianxu, and actresses Li Wanda and Lan Xiya.

Actor Wang Junkai and actress Deng Jaijia were in attendance, representing film “Stand By Me.” Chinese stars Dong Chengpeng (aka Da Peng) and actress Zhuang Dafei represented the upcoming Hollywood animation film “Despicable Me 4.”

Speeches were given by Hu Heping, deputy director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee in charge of daily work; Gong Zheng, deputy secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee, Mayor, and honorary chairman of the organizing committee of the 26th Shanghai International Film Festival; and Wang Xiaozhen, deputy director of China Central Radio and Television and chairman of the organizing committee of this year’s festival.

After the official proceedings were complete, dance drama film “Red Radio Over Shanghai” played as the opening night gala screening.

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