Acclaimed films in Chinese fest
Six acclaimed films, including an Oscar-nominated martial arts epic, are lined up for the 9th Spring Film Festival, which starts today.
Topping the list is Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster,” the invitational gala presentation at 6:45 p.m. at Shangri-La Plaza mall. (The festival will screen five other films for free until Feb. 22.)
“The Grandmaster,” which top-bills Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi, is one of the most-awarded Chinese films last year, with at least 53 citations.
It won best actress for Ziyi at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Golden Horse Awards, Hong Kong Film Awards and Beijing Film Festival. It swept the Golden Horse Awards with 6 trophies; Asian Film Awards, 7; and Hong Kong Film Awards, 11.
The China-Hong Kong production was also nominated for two Academy Awards in the United States—best cinematography for
Philippe Le Sourd and costume design for William Chang.
A movie about Bruce Lee’s mentor, “The Grandmaster,” was declared one of the Top 5 Foreign Language Films by the US-based National Board of Review.
Wong Kar-wai is the same director behind such modern classics as “In the Mood for Love,” “Happy Together” and “Chungking Express.”
‘Caught in the Web’
Another renowned filmmaker, Chen Kaige (“Farewell My Concubine”) is represented in the Shang fest via “Caught in the Web.” The 2012 comedy-drama about sensationalism in broadcast news and social media won best film at the Huabiao Film Awards, and best supporting actress for Luodan Wang at the Golden Rooster Awards.
Gao Qunshu’s crime drama “Beijing Blues” is yet another award winner—best film, cinematography (Di Wu) and editing (Hongyu Yang) at the Golden Horse Awards; best director at the Chinese Film Media Awards.
Festival organizers included an animated film this year, Lijun Sun’s “Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit,” which was screened at the Pusan and Brisbane fests and declared best animation at the Huabiao Film Awards.
Sidney Christopher Bata, director of the Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, one of the organizers, said the aim is to attract young viewers. “A survey we conducted last year showed that, apart from animation, Filipinos preferred light-hearted fare,” Bata told the Inquirer.
He reported an animation boom in mainland China: “Animation studios have been [busy] of late. Some productions are in 3D; a
few, like ‘Kung Fu Rabbit,’ were released internationally, featuring voices of Hollywood actors.”
Bata noted that some Hollywood studios and actors (like Kevin Spacey) have inked coproduction deals with Chinese film companies.
The Spring Festival is a fitting way to commemorate the 40th year of ties between China and the Philippines, said Bata.
The Cultural Division of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China is cooperating with the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Ricardo Leong Center, the Confucius Institute of Ateneo de Manila University and Ateneo Celadon in presenting the fest.
Like children of OFW
The two other films on the roster likewise focus on young characters, Bata pointed out.
Qu Jingtao’s “Love Deposit” is a romantic-comedy set in a café for lovers. Huang He’s “Sunlight at Fingertips” is a family drama about children left in the care of grandparents in the countryside because their parents have to work in the city.
“[They’re like] children of overseas Filipino workers. Beyond our differences, our countries have so many things in common,” said Bata.
The festival proceeds to 10 campuses after the Manila screenings—Central Luzon State University, Kalinga-Apayao State College, Silliman University, Cagayan State University, Santa Maria Catholic School-Ateneo de Iloilo, University of San Carlos, Ateneo de Davao, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Ateneo de Zamboanga and Ateneo de Naga.
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