HongKong auteur Wong Kar-wai will head up the Competitionjury for the Cannes Film Festival this year (May 17-28), it was announced today(Jan 4).

Thedirector, whose earlyfilm As TearsGo By was screened at Un Certain Regard in 1989 (and marked the first HongKong film ever at the festival), has been a Cannes stalwart ever since, winningBest Director for Happy Together in1997, coming back in 2000 with In TheMood For Love and keeping the 2004 jury on tenterhooks when his 2046 was late to the Palaisdes Festivals, resulting in a cancelled press screening.

Currentlyat work on Lady FromShanghai, set to star Nicole Kidman and shoot in Russia, Wong will be the first Chinesepresident of the Jury (he was born in Shanghai but emigrated to Hong Kong). He said he was honoured to headup the 2006 judges, adding: "Each city has its own language. In Cannes,it is the language of dreams. Yet it is difficult to judge one's dream muchless compare it to another. There is an old Chinese saying: One can neverexpect the wind, but should always keep one's window open. Along with myfellow jurors, I look forward to sharing the dreams created by some of the mostgifted talents in contemporary cinema. And our goal will be to keep our windowsopen as wide as possible."

Cannes president Gilles Jacobwas equally lyrical, talking aboutthe "plastic splendour andnostalgic amorous emotion in the great romantic tradition" of Wong Kar-wai's films.

Wong Kar-wai's lead actor, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, won best actor in Cannesfor In The Mood ForLove, while his technical team including cinematographer Christopher Doyleand production designer William Chang Suk-ping took the festival's technical prize.

The remainder of the Jury will be announced closer to the festival's startdate.