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The 65th Festival del film Locarno salutes Johnnie To with a Pardo alla carriera for his exceptional contribution to cinema as a director and producer. The presentation will be accompanied by the European Premiere screening on the Piazza Grande of Motorway (Che sau), To’s latest production, directed by Soi Cheang.
Johnnie To, key figure in Asian cinema, has directed over fifty films and has as many to his credit as a producer. Born in Hong Kong in 1955, To began his career in television, and in 1980 co-directed his first theatrical feature The Enigmatic Case (Bik seoi hon saan dyut meng gam, with Yeung-Wah Kam). He came to wider attention in 1989 with All About Ah-Long (Aa long di gu si), starring Chow Yun-Fat, an actor with whom he made two further big box-office hits. In 1996 To founded, along with Wai Ka-Fai, Milkyway Image, an independent production company that became a flagship for Hong Kong cinema, especially its noir side. From 2000 onwards, Johnnie To has found international acclaim on the festival circuit, with films he directed and produced such as The Mission (Cheung fo, 1999) and PTU (2003), screened at Berlin, and Breaking News (Dai si gin, 2004) and Election (Hak se wui, 2005), shown at Cannes.
To mark Johnnie To’s tribute, the Locarno Festival will screen a number of the producer-director’s films, including his latest production, Media Asia and Milkyway Image’s Motorway (Che sau), directed by Soi Cheang – whose film Accident (Yi ngoi, 2009) was selected for competition at Venice – and stars Anthony Wong Chau-Sang and Shawn Yue. This crime thriller will be on the Piazza Grande during the upcoming Festival del film Locarno and will be released in Hong Kong and China on 21 June.
«We are delighted to welcome major director and producer Johnnie To to Locarno. Each of his films is a love letter to his native city, urban poems that never tire of celebrating the nocturnal settings, artificial beauty and vital buzz of Hong Kong», comments Olivier Père, the Festival’s Artistic director. The full article is available on Olivier Père’s personal blog at http://olivierpere.wordpress.com
The 65th Festival del film Locarno will take place 1 - 11 August 2012.