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Officer honors for Hong Kong director Johnnie To

In Cannes for his latest detective film screening in Competition, Vengeance, Hong Kong director Johnnie To was made an officer in the Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres by French Cultural Minister Christine Albanel at the Café des Palmes today, attended by Johnny Hallyday, lead actor in Vengeance. "You have set the tone of the cinema territory Hong Kong, and conveyed to us all your original vision of your hometown.", said Ms Albanel, who further elaborated by saying that Johnnie To "has always infused his work with exploration, experimentation and innovation…You have always side-stepped being labelled and your influences are multiple, from Kurosawa to Sergio Leone, the New Wave to Sam Peckinpah, not forgetting Coppola or Scorsese."

In the presence also of Festival President Gilles Jacob, General Director Thierry Frémaux and CNC Director Véronique Cayla, Johnnie To responded, "very surprised to receive this honor…It is a real privilege to be able to share my love for Hong Kong and its culture with audiences everywhere. Thank you for this encouragement. I promise to continue to make films."

L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres was created by the French government in 1957 with the objective of distinguishing individuals who make significant contributions in the creative arena in France and elsewhere in the world.

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