The international premiere of The Grandmaster by Chinese director and president of this year’s jury, WONG Kar Wai, will open the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.

The Grandmaster is an epic martial arts drama set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930’s China and inspired by the life and times of the legendary IP Man (Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai), mentor to Bruce LEE. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai (Days of Being Wild – Berlinale Forum 1991, Chungking Express, Happy Together, In The Mood for Love, 2046, all directed by WONG Kar Wai), also includes Ziyi ZHANG (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, D: Ang Lee), who was a guest at the 2009 Berlinale Competition with Forever Enthralled (D: CHEN Kaige), CHANG Chen (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon; Eros, D: WONG Kar Wai), ZHAO Benshan (Happy Times, D: ZHANG Yimou), XIAO Shengyang (A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, D: ZHANG Yimou – Berlinale Competition 2010) and SONG Hye Kyo (A Reason to Live, D: LEE Jeong-hyang), as well as hundreds of Asia’s top martial artists.

“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.

Nearly three years of film production and almost a decade of preparation went into the making of The Grandmaster for its director WONG Kar Wai, who began exploring the idea for the film in 1996.

“I am truly very honoured by Dieter and his invitation for my new film The Grandmaster to participate in the 63rd Berlinale and to open the festival. This is a dream project for me that I had been developing for many years. I am very happy to be able to present it in Berlin. I was already greatly looking forward to my returning to Berlin to serve as the President of the International Jury, so seeing The Grandmaster presented there will make it all the more special for me,” says WONG Kar Wai.

With his signature style-defining mood, atmosphere and reality, director WONG Kar Wai delves into the eternal question in martial arts of whether the victor is more than merely the “last man standing”, and brings the genre to new heights.

The Grandmaster is a Block 2 Pictures and Sil-Metropole Organisation presentation of a Jet Tone Films and Sil-Metropole Organisation production. It is written and directed by WONG Kar Wai.

The Grandmaster will be presented as the opening film in the official selection, but screening out of competition.

The world premiere of The Grandmaster will be celebrated on January 8, 2013 in China, and the film will open at cinemas in numerous countries including Germany in spring 2013. The film’s distributor in Germany will be Wild Bunch.

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