BEIJING — Hong Kong-based Emperor Motion Pictures has acquired sales rights to “Dang Taiyang Tai ci Shengqi” (The Sun Also Rises), helmed by mainland hyphenate Jiang Wen.

Pic, widely considered a certainty for Cannes ’07 selection, had been sought after by international sellers including France’s Rezo Films, EuropaCorp and Wild Bunch; Japan’s Movie Eye Entertainment; Hong Kong’s Fortissimo; as well as the U.S.’ Focus Features and specialty arms of several studios.

To prevail, Emperor had to invest a sum approaching half of pic’s budget, which has swelled from $6 million-plus this summer to the $8 million-$10 million range. Company takes a major equity position and will handle sales in all territories, including mainland China.

Starring Jiang, Joan Chen, Anthony Wong and Jaycee Chan, pic is Jiang’s first as a helmer since 2000, when he was banned by the Chinese authorities for his “Devils on the Doorstep.” As an actor he is one of the biggest names in Chinese cinema, with recent credits including “Jasmine Women,” “Warriors of Heaven and Earth” and “The Missing Gun.”

“Sun,” which takes a highly stylized look at four forms of passion — madness, sex, dreams and violence — has been more than a year in the making, with lensing stalled since mid-summer, when the production ran out of coin.

Jiang used the hiatus to put together a 20-minute cut as he tested out a business manager and auditioned the array of sales companies.

Production of the final quarter finally got under way last month and wrapped Nov. 30.

Emperor, which is expected to convert pic into an international co-production rather than the purely Chinese production it started as, will seek early licensing deals in the key territories of China and France.