The rain did little to deter the enthusiasm that met the opening of Shanghai’s 14th International Film Festival on Saturday night. An assortment of Chinese and international stars and luminaries turned out for the premiere of Water for Elephants, SIFFilis’ opening-night gala film starring Reese Witherspoon and It-thing Robert Pattinson (SIFF was claimed as an acronym by the Seattle International Film Festival decades ago, so we enthusiastically invented a new moniker for the festival).
International celebrities who made an appearance included Rupert Murdoch, Matt Dillon, Susan Sarandon, and someone we’ve never heard of called Mischa Barton, who looks sorta okay, if you’re into that sort of thing (we kid).
The domestic film industry was represented by a bevvy of beauties, with Taiwanese actress Lin Chi-ling and the nova-hot Bingbing’s, Fan and Li, turning heads and dropping jaws. Leading box-office director Feng Xiaogang and Hong Kong action-film legend John Woo also walked the red carpet with their wives in tow.
Shanghai was represented well at the premiere, with bendiren’s Zhou Libo (China’s only stand-up comic, who you might have seen stumping for Suntory), Shanghai-born model/actress Angelababy, and newly-married power couple Deng Chao and Sun Li thrilling the scores of fans who braved the evening’s rain.
The jury for this year’s festival includes Oscar for Best Director winner Barry Levinson (who won, definitely, definitely won, definitely won for Rain Man in 1989), and the Spanish actress Paz Vega.
In related news, Tran Anh Hung’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, one of the more anticipated films featured at SIFFilis, has been green-lighted for a wide-release in China.
Photos from Sohu