Award: HK's young people motivated by Leung, says producer
Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai received the prestigious Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 80th Venice Film Festival on Saturday, making history as the first Chinese actor and third Chinese film celebrity to be presented with the coveted award.
The news created a buzz in the film industry and across social media platforms as it reflected the global recognition for Hong Kong cinema and the city's talented professionals.
Overwhelmed with emotion as he was given a prolonged standing ovation, the 61-year-old actor said he was grateful for having grown up in the special administrative region and having been nurtured by the local film industry, where his acting career began. He dedicated the award to the SAR's film industry and promised to share it with all those who helped him through his remarkable 41-year acting journey.
Leung also expressed his deep appreciation of his wife, Hong Kong actress Carina Lau Kar-ling, who was present during the ceremony.
The lifetime award is an addition to the actor's already impressive collection of accolades. His movies, such as Days of Being Wild(1990) and In the Mood for Love (2000), have previously clinched the Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival.
Renowned director Ang Lee delivered an emotional speech while presenting the actor with the lifetime award on Saturday. Lee described Leung as "a director's dream", praising the actor's remarkable ability to convey complex emotions through his eyes. "There is something in his eyes that's electrifying ... the soul that shines through them. He can say more in one look than many actors can with a full monologue," Lee said.
It is this depth and authenticity of his talent that sets Leung apart, transcending the boundaries of language and culture, Lee added.
Leung, who is known for a string of commercially successful blockbusters, will play a neuroscientist in the upcoming film Silent Friend, to be directed by Hungarian screenwriter Ildiko Enyedi. Shooting for the film starts in April.
Silvester See, executive producer-director of AceHero Films &Entertainment, said that Leung introduced to Europe the Hong Kong-style independent cinema, which has influenced new generations in the region.
"Tony dedicated his life to Hong Kong television and films all the way since the 1980s," See said, adding that the actor has played a crucial role in motivating young people in the SAR to join cinema.
Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung had congratulated Leung in March, when the Golden Lion lifetime award was announced. He praised Leung's "exceptional acting skills", and said that international accolades won by Hong Kong's film celebrities cemented the SAR's position in world cinema.
Yeung emphasized the SAR government's commitment, in partnership with the Hong Kong Film Development Council, to provide comprehensive support for and promote the continuous growth of the industry.
Lawmaker Benson Luk Hon-man, an advocate for Hong Kong's film and television culture, said that Leung's achievement underscores the local film industry's global appeal.
Luk proposed setting up a performing arts training academy in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to invite experienced instructors from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland to provide comprehensive training for local youths. It will foster increased collaboration between the SAR and the mainland in performing arts, he said.