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FESTIVALS China/Europe

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Pingyao 2017: Where the old meets the new

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- Female filmmakers have triumphed at the first edition of the Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival, held in the ancient city named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Pingyao 2017: Where the old meets the new
Director Vivian Qu (far right) with her award from the Fei Mu jury for Angels Wear White

Although the Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival, masterminded by Marco Müller and director Jia Zhangke (read the interview), had no official competition, the Roberto Rossellini jury focusing on the Crouching Tigers section for first or second features, which included Arnaud DesplechinXie FeiVishal BhardwajLiu ZhenyunKaori Momoi and Aleksey German Jr, opted for Elizaveta Stishova’s Suleiman Mountain, a co-production between Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Poland. The Award for Best Director went to Chloé Zhao for The Rider, while the Fei Mu jury celebrated Vivian Qu’s Angels Wear White [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Vivian Qu
film profile
]
 and Liu Jian’s animation Have a Nice Day. “We all love cinema more than political statements,” admitted Aleksey German Jr when chatting to Cineuropa. “We were looking for films told from a humanistic point of view. I can’t speak for the local people, but to me these were simple, universal stories.”

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The intimate portrayal of a family finding their long-lost son also went on to collect one of the People’s Choice Awards. “These are our first prizes!” said Stishova, not even trying to conceal her excitement. “I was curious about this place because the whole festival was built from scratch. But most of all, I wanted to see how Chinese people would react to my film.” She needn’t have worried. Featuring an incredible turn by Daniel Daiyrbekov, it proved a surprising crowd-pleaser. “In Kyrgyzstan, there are a lot of kids, and they are very playful, but I was searching for someone different. This boy looked like an old man.” Along with several Chinese titles, audience members were also impressed by L’Ora Legale [+see also:
trailer
making of
film profile
]
, directed by the famous Italian duo Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino PiconeAida Begic’s Bosnian-Turkish drama Never Leave MeAna Urushadze’s Georgian-Estonian Scary Mother [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ana Urushadze
film profile
]
 and Claes Bang’s turn in The Square [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile
]
.

Apart from showcasing new European releases – which also included the likes of Bloody Milk [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Hubert Charuel
film profile
]
 by Hubert CharuelThe Nothing Factory [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Pedro Pinho
film profile
]
 by Pedro Pinho and Western [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Jonas Dornbach
interview: Valeska Grisebach
interview: Valeska Grisebach
film profile
]
by Valeska Grisebach – the festival celebrated Jean-Pierre Melville with a retrospective organised with the Cultural Department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Consulate General of France and the Institut français. “I went to the screenings, and they were full of young people. It’s incredible,” said the audiovisual attaché of the French Embassy in China, Brigitte Veyne. “Melville was influenced by and influenced many Asian filmmakers, so it was great to show these films in Pingyao.” No wonder his most famous fan arrived in the city as well: “I wanted to be just like him,” confessed John Woo, who also participated in a master class. “When I first started directing, I wanted to make my own Le Samouraï. In The Killer, I used his story as a starting point. It was Melville that ultimately led me to Hollywood.”

With its “year zero” now behind us, what is the future for the newly founded festival? “For the time being, getting bigger is not a necessity,” admits Marco Müller. “Sales agents and publicists always tell filmmakers not to spend more than a few days at festivals, so nobody watches films. Here, it should happen. You don’t come all this way and only stay for two days.” Still, it seems as though this small festival can make quite a big statement. “Thanks to Jia Zhangke, there could be a new arthouse circuit in China: he has been adamant that there are 40 to 50 million individuals who would be our target audience. For China, maybe it doesn’t feel that big. But it would be the biggest arthouse audience in the world.” One thing is certain – in the years to come, we will hear more from Pingyao.

The first edition of the Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival took place from 28 October-4 November.

Here is the full list of winners at the festival:

Roberto Rossellini Prize
Suleiman Mountain - Elizaveta Stishova (Russia/Kyrgyzstan/Poland) 

Best Director Award
The Rider – Chloe Zhao (USA) 

Best Film in the Fei Mu Section for Chinese Titles
Angels Wear White [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Vivian Qu
film profile
]
 - Vivian Qu (France/China)

Best Director Award in the Fei Mu Section
Have a Nice Day - Liu Jian (China) 

Best Actor
Claes Bang - The Square [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ruben Östlund
film profile
]
(Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark/USA)

Best Actress
Feng Wenjuan - Please Remember Me (China)

Audience Awards
Suleiman Mountain - Elizaveta Stishova
L’Ora Legale [+see also:
trailer
making of
film profile
]
 - Salvatore Ficarra and Valentino Picone (Italy)
Never Leave Me - Aida Begic (Bosnia/Turkey)
Please Remember Me - Peng Xiaolian
Scary Mother [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ana Urushadze
film profile
]
 - Ana Urushadze (Georgia/Estonia)
The Taste of Rice Flower - Peng Fei (China)

Wings Project Market Award
Wang Yitong

Bosphorus
Bridging_the_dragon_Home
Les Arcs call
 

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