'Banquet' premiere paints Hong Kong blood-red

HONG KONG — Al Gore was across town promoting “An Inconvenient Truth” and selling an environmentally friendly, green lifestyle. Color of the night, however, was definitely crimson.

Invitations to the social event of the year so far, the Sept. 12 Hong Kong preem of “The Banquet,” required guests to sport the shade that runs through the movie like blood. Stars Zhang Ziyi, Zhou Xun, Daniel Wu and Ge You mostly obliged.

For helmer Feng Xiaogang, best known for a string of boffo social comedies, “Banquet” was a confident step in a new direction. Pic is a super-stylish adaptation of “Hamlet” that blends tragedy with action, but avoids the stereotypes of the period martial arts flick.

With its lavish sets and to-die-for costumes, pic also lends itself to innovative marketing. Seizing the opportunity in Hong Kong was fashion house Christian Dior, which treated the chosen few to a candlelit banquet — what else? — around a catwalk on which models paraded the fall/winter collection.

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