Chi­nese movies dom­i­nate Bu­san In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

CHI­NESE movies took home the two main prizes at Asia’s premier film fes­ti­val, with judges laud­ing their por­trayal of two very dif­fer­ent ver­sions of mod­ern re­al­ity in their coun­try.

Wang Xuebo’s The Knife in the Clear Wa­ter and The Donor, from Zang Qiwu, were Satur­day morn­ing an­nounced as win­ners of the New Cur­rents award at the 21st Bu­san In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

The di­rec­tors col­lected the two prizes of US$30,000 that come with the award when the fes­ti­val of­fi­cially closed on the night of Oc­to­ber 15.

“These films were in­cred­i­ble,” said vet­eran African di­rec­tor Souley­mane Cisse, New Cur­rents jury head.

Wang’s first fea­ture presents a lyri­cal look at the of­ten-stark re­al­i­ties of life in a moun­tain vil­lage and judges praised the de­but di­rec­tor for his “ex­tremely pho­to­genic” pro­duc­tion that “serves as a back­drop to a po­etic para­ble on grief and free­dom”.

For what is also his first film as a di­rec­tor, Zang – who for a num­ber of years worked along­side ac­claimed Chi­nese di­rec­tor Zhang Yi­mou (Curse of the Golden Flower) – turned his at­ten­tion to the con­tro­ver­sial is­sue of or­gan trans­plants.

“The film­maker cre­ates a por­trait of hu­man­ity and sac­ri­fice that is re­straint yet boil­ing with un­der­ly­ing emo­tion,” said Cisse.

The de­ci­sion to hand the awards to two Chi­nese films came as re­la­tions be­tween Bei­jing and Seoul ap­pear strained fol­low­ing moves in South Korea to set up a mis­sile de­fence shield with the aid of the United States.

Korean tele­vi­sion shows – wildly pop­u­lar in China – have since Au­gust van­ished from broad­cast in China while a series of planned K-pop events have been can­celled.

There were 11 films from seven na­tions and ter­ri­to­ries in the run­ning this year for the New Cur­rents award and Cisse said judges had been im­pressed by them all.

“We could re­ally feel the pas­sion of the di­rec­tors,” he said.

The strength of the main com­pe­ti­tion this year proved the per­fect tonic both for the fes­ti­val and the thou­sands of film fans who make the an­nual trek to South Korea’s sec­ond city.

De­spite those trou­bles – and a slashed bud­get – the BIFF pro­gramme man­aged to re­flect the growth of an Asian film in­dus­try that seems, on this ev­i­dence, to be in rude health.

In fact, this year’s fes­ti­val fea­tures a first for Myan­mar; Wera Aung’s short film about the 2007 Saf­fron Rev­o­lu­tion, The Robe, de­buted at BIFF on Oc­to­ber 15. –

Souley­mane Ciss New Cur­rents Jury Head

Pho­tos: Naing Lin Soe

Crowds cheer and pho­to­graph Sai Sai and Ni Ni Khin Zaw’s lip­stick face-off.

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