France to honour film director Wong in Hong Kong

Chinese film director Wong Kar Wai will join one of the art world's most exclusive clubs on Sunday when he is appointed a Commander of France's Order of Arts and Letters.

The renowned filmmaker is to be presented with the medallion awarded to recipients of France's highest cultural honour by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the opening of the French May arts festival in Hong Kong.

Wong's work has long been acclaimed in France. He won the Best Director award at the 1997 Cannes film festival for "Happy Together" and picked up a Cesar, the French equivalent of an Oscar, in 2001 for "In the Mood for Love."

His induction into the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres sees him follow in the footsteps of fellow stars from the film world Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery and Michael Caine, as well as other illustrious artists including the poet TS Eliot and singer David Bowie.

As well as honouring Wong, Fabius is due to sign a visa accord with the Hong Kong authorities intended to facilitate travel and business links between France and the territory, which is home to up to 20,000 French expatriates.

The foreign minister is also hoping to stimulate investment in France by Hong Kong business figures and will deliver a speech on Europe-China relations at a lunch hosted by the Asia Society on Monday.

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