Wong leads Cannes jury

Hong Kong helmer has been a regular on the Croisette

Wong Kar Wai will preside over the jury of the 59th Cannes Film Festival, organizers announced Wednesday. Event runs May 17-28.

Helmer, who succeeds Emir Kusturica, will be the first Chinese jury topper in the festival’s history– but he is no stranger to Cannes.

The Critics Week sidebar helped bring the then 31-year-old helmer to international attention in 1989, when it programmed his directorial debut, “As Tears Go By.” He has attended Cannes at least four times in the past decade, coming away with two official prizes.

In 1997, his pic “Happy Together” won the prize for direction, and in 2000 “In the Mood for Love” drew actor kudos for Tony Leung. Wong returned in 2001 to give the festival’s Cinema Lesson and present his short “In the Mood for Love 2001”; last year he attended with his competition pic “2046.”

In a communique Wednesday, the helmer hinted at what kind of a jury topper he intends to be: “There’s an old Chinese proverb that says, ‘You never know which direction the wind will come from, but you must always keep your windows open.’

“I’m impatient to share with my fellow jurors the dreams conceived by the greatest talents of contemporary cinema. Our objective will be to keep our windows as wide open as possible.”

The helmer’s films are known for their long gestation periods. Current projects in the pipeline include “The Lady of Shanghai,” to star Nicole Kidman.

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