Swiss fine watchmaking manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre hosted a charity dinner at the West Bund Art Centre in Shanghai on 15th June 2019, celebrating its nine years of partnership with Shanghai International Film Festival. During the evening, the Swiss Maison presented its Glory to the Filmmaker Award, paying tribute to the outstanding contributions made by Chinese filmmakers to the world of cinema. This was followed by an auction to raise funds for the restoration of classic films, an ongoing collaboration between Jaeger-LeCoultre and Shanghai International Film Festival to protect China’s cinematic heritage for future generations. In a glorious setting inspired by nature in full bloom, Friends of the Maison Amanda Seyfried, Jing Boran, and renowned film director Tian Zhuangzhuang were joined by guests from all over the world to pay tribute to great cinema and honour the art of time.
The beauty of nature, the art of time
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture was born 186 years ago in Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux, a place of great tranquillity and natural beauty that provides an inexhaustible source of inspiration for its master watchmakers and artisans. They listen to the heartbeat of time, inspired by nature’s dance, pushing technical and artistic boundaries, creating masterpieces and perfecting skills that are passed from generation to generation. For this year’s charity auction, Jaeger-LeCoultre donated a specially customised one-off watch, the Rendez-Vous Moon Medium Tribute to Cinema Unique Piece SIFF 2019. The watch features a pink gold case and a silvered guilloché dial and is set with 107 brilliant-cut diamonds. In the moon phase aperture at 6 o’clock, the moon, stars and clouds are set against a red lacquered sky.
The proceeds of the auction will be used to restore New Year’s Sacrifice, directed by Hu Sang and originally released in 1956. The restored film will have its premiere at Shanghai International Film Festival in 2020, coinciding with the centenary of the birth of its star, Bai Yang.
Celebrating brilliance from generation to generation
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s passion for creativity and precision extends to the world of film through its support of cinematic culture that shares the same artistic values. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Glory to the Filmmaker Award, launched at Venice International Film Festival in 2007, made its debut at Shanghai International Film Festival in 2018 to pay tribute to the outstanding achievements of Chinese filmmakers. This year the award honoured the acclaimed filmmaker Tian Zhuangzhuang. It was presented to him by renowned actress Amanda Seyfried, Managing Director of the Shanghai International Film Festival Centre and Shanghai International Film Festival Co. General Manager, Fu Wenxia, and Chief Executive Officer of Jaeger-LeCoultre Catherine Rénier. As a figurehead of China’s “fifth-generation” of directors, Tian Zhuangzhuang is a powerful voice, imbuing his works with observations and reflections on human beings, society and the times we live in. His film The Horse Thief (1986) was presented in a restored 4K version in Tibetan as part of Cannes Classics in 2019. After more than 30 years as a director, producer and actor, he continues to promote the development of Chinese-language films, and has become a mentor for some of China’s next-generation talents. The director’s unwavering passion for the art of film corresponds with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s passion for innovation in the art of time.
A rendezvous with Flowers of Shanghai
In collaboration with Shanghai International Film Festival, Jaeger-LeCoultre sponsors the restoration of classic Chinese films, successfully restoring more than ten representative cinematic works since 2011, using state-of-the-art 4K technology. The films span different eras, genres, subjects and regions, preserving historical sources and precious memories. Over the course of this past year, Flowers of Shanghai, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s 1998 masterpiece, has been successfully restored, for re-release during the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival. The film was adapted from China’s first dialect novel Sing-song Girls of Shanghai by Han Bangqing, translated by Eileen Chang and renamed Flowers of Shanghai. Set in Shanghai at the end of the 19th century, it depicts intense emotions through Hou Hsiao-hsien’s characteristic aesthetic, marked by long takes. The compelling dialogue, spoken in Shanghainese dialect, the finely crafted costumes and the many antique props used in the set design combine to beautifully reproduce the style of Shanghai in the late Qing Dynasty.
By supporting the preservation of cinema’s cultural heritage in this way, Jaeger-LeCoultre is proud to participate in the writing of a new chapter in the history of filmmaking. Time flies, but artistic legends are immortal.