Inside Move: Biz buzzes over Wong way turn

Some festgoears believe tardiness was intetional

The festival has been nothing but accommodating to Wong Kar-wai in dealing with the late arrival of his much-anticipated competition entry “2046,” but some industryites are far from impressed with the way the Hong Kong auteur has been coddled.

“It is very discourteous to the other filmmakers,” complained an eminent Asian producer. “Not delivering the film on time and making the festival reschedule things draws attention away from other films and (throws) even more (attention) onto Wong’s film, which is not considerate or fair.”

A leading French producer agreed, pointing out, “Wong knew for months what the deadline for Cannes was. There is plenty of precedent for coming to Cannes with an unfinished print and announcing that it’s a work in progress, so there was really no excuse for not having the print ready other than for the extra publicity and anticipation it created.”

Another French producer went further, suggesting that Wong may have deliberately withheld the print just long enough to prevent any Cannes screenings prior to the 7:30 p.m. gala Thursday night. “I believe he wanted the audience in the Palais to see the film without having heard any critical reaction to it at all,” she said.

Furthering this suspicion is the fact that, having supposedly raced the clock just to get one print ready for the official screening in the Lumiere, there were suddenly two prints available for simultaneous 7:30 screenings there and in the Debussy.

Tradesters were divided about what the festival should have done, but agreed that only a filmmaker of Wong’s profile likely would have been given such latitude about missing his deadline.