This year’s Asian American International Film Festival has an entire program devoted to the cinematic divinity that is Maggie Cheung, kicking off with her appearing in a one-on-one with Film Comment‘s Editor-at-Large Kent Jones at the Walter Reade Theater. The AAIFF is opening with "Clean," her second film with now ex-husband, French director Olivier Assayas. "Clean" is opening in the UK this Friday (it won’t open here until September), and both the Guardian and the Independent have interviews with Cheung.
"Somehow, it’s difficult to imagine that Maggie Cheung is a real person," Steve Rose starts off in the Guardian. After outlining all of her untouchable screen goddess roles, he points out that "Clean" may be the first film Cheung has appeared in in which she actually resembles a real person, albeit an extra-glamorous rock star-ish person undertaking the harrowing journey from heroin addiction back to normal life. Assayas essentially wrote the film for Cheung (she won the best actress prize at Cannes last year for her role in the film, though otherwise word on it has been that it’s disappointing compared to Assayas’ previous, more narratively innovative (or bizarre) work), and Rose goes into the details of the pair’s strange pan-global relationship (whatever they say, Wong Kar-Wai was so responsible for their separation, though we’re not complaining â€” it resulted in "In the Mood for Love"), which started around the time they made 1996’s "Irma Vep" together, and ended with them signing divorce papers on the set of "Clean."
Jonathan Romney in the Independent focuses more on her career path, from her South London childhood to her return to Hong Kong as a model and eventual actress, to her big break playing Jackie Chan’s girlfriend May in 1985’s "Police Story," to her work with Wong and with Assayas. She talks about wanting to give singing a try after a few scenes in the studio in "Clean," though Romney says "To be honest, judging by her dour, Nico-ish moan when singing as Emily in the film, she might be advised to hold on to the day job for a while yet; in any case, it seems to be holding up just fine."