Hong Kong superstar Tony Leung made history on Saturday when he became the first Chinese actor to receive the Golden Lion For Lifetime Achievement at the 80th Venice Film Festival. Leung’s Infernal Affairs co-star Andy Lau will be honoured with the Special Tribute Award at the Toronto Film Festival on September 15.

Directer Ang Lee presented the award to an emotional Leung, which was an especially heartfelt moment as the pair previously worked together on the 2007 film Lust, Caution, which won a Golden Lion for Best Picture. “I did not know you will make me cry, please give me a minute,” said a tearful Leung during the standing ovation he got while onstage. 

The actor then went on to say, “I am so grateful to have been raised in Hong Kong, as well as being nurtured later by the Hong Kong movie industry in general, where my acting career began. I also want to share this honour and give thanks to all those wonderful people I have worked with over the past 41 years because this is a tribute to them as well — and, of course, to Hong Kong cinema.”

Two other films starring Leung — A City of Sadness (1989) and Cyclo (1995) — have also been awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Last week, the organisers of the Toronto Film Festival announced that veteran Hong Kong actor Andy Lau will receive the Special Tribute Award at the World Premiere Gala presentation of his film The Movie Emperor, which is directed by Ning Hao. 

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Lau, who is being recognised by the festival for being “an industry icon and multi-faceted artist with an impressive filmography” has appeared in more than 160 films, most notably Ann Hui’s Boat People (1982) and Wong Kar Wai’s As Tears Go By (1988).

The Toronto Film Festival will also screen an episode of the web series Expats, the Nicole Kidman-starrer that was filmed in Hong Kong in 2021 and revolves around the lives of the expatriate community in the SAR.

Header image credits: La Biennale di Venezia & Toronto International Film Festival via Instagram

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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