China’s annual showcase and celebration of art-house cinema cast its net far and wide in handing out the 2019 Roberto Rossellini prizes.
The 3rd Pingyao International Film Festival has handed its main Roberto Rossellini awards to Brazilian director Maya Da-Rin’s The Fever, a film that follows the plight of a “urban indigenous’ worker, and to Guatemalan director Cesar Diaz, who travelled to the central Chinese event with his civil war drama Our Mothers.
Da-Rin thanked the festival to reaching out to films from the other side of the world and said the experience of making the The Fever had been life changing.
“For me it is a great honour,” she said, on taking the prize for best film. “This film has been made through seven years of a lot of work of a lot of people. People who gives their lives to cinema and believe that through cinema we can think about our world and we can talk about the world in which we live.”
The Fever had previously won two prizes at Locarno, including the nod for best actor for Regis Myrupu.
Diaz won the best director prize for a film which has screened to sold-out audiences in Pingyao and had earlier picked up two awards – including the Golden Camera – at Cannes.
The jury award went to Chinese director Liang Ming’s coming-of-age drama Wisdom Tooth.
Pingyao’s Roberto Rossellini awards were selected from a field of 10 international films screening under its Crouching Tigers program.
The festival also hands out the Fei Mu Awards, taken from Chinese-language films by first- or second-time directors and screened in either the Crouching Tigers or the Hidden Dragons programs.
Singaporean director Anthony Chen’s fraught drama-romance Wet Season picked up best film and best actress for Yeo Yann Yann. Best director went to Wisdom Tooth’s Liang, while best actor went to Wang Xuebing for his turn as an actor down on his luck in Ju Anqi’s dark comedy A Trophy on the Sea.
Ju provided a touching moment when given a special mention prize by the jury by saying the recognition would ensure he stuck “to my way of creating.”
The 10-day Pingyao festival is the brainchild of Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke – an international festival favourite noted for his socially edged dramas The World and A Touch of Sin – and veteran festival head Marco Muller, who serves here as artistic director.
Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi was handed the International Contribution to Chinese Cinema Award for her continued contribution to Chinese-language film. Shi was behind the rise of both the Cinema City and Film Workshop in Hong Kong and has produced a string of blockbusters, including The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D.
The festival had earlier handed its Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon East-West Award – for the development of film culture – to the veteran Chinese helmer Zhang Yimou, who also hosted a Master Class while in Pingyao.
The festival runs until October 19.