China Oscar submission surprise: 'Go Away Mr. Tumor'

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 9, 2015
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Thursday that 81 films have been submitted by their respective countries for this year's best foreign-language feature Academy Award with China pushing for a surprising submission: "Go Away Mr. Tumor."

A poster of "Go Away Mr. Tumor" [File photo]

The tragicomedy by director Han Yan was adapted from the true story of Xiang Yao, whose online pseudonym is "Bearton" or "Xiong Dun," a deceased Chinese cartoon artist who unsuccessfully fought a malignant tumor and died on Nov. 16, 2012.

Previously, there was furious competition for the submission nod from China's Film Bureau between Jean-Jacques Annaud's "Wolf Totem" and Jia Zhangke's "Mountains May Depart." One producer of "Wolf Totem" even verbally attacked Jia for his contention. Eventually, Jia received news that "Mountains May Depart" failed to secure the nod, and he congratulated "Wolf Totem," as everyone believed the French-Chinese co-production was a certain contender.

However, China’s film authorities' final decision is stunning. Director Han Yan said he was informed the same way as everyone else, but he admitted he submitted the required application documents. One producer told that he was also surprised and honored.

"Just as 2015 hasn’t come to an end, the domestic film market has had so many sunrises. There are many excellent films, 'Mr. Tumor' being nominated for Oscar contention is a great surprise and honor," he said, "This is encouraging for all China’s young filmmakers as the film reflects the true emotion and attitude of modern, urban Chinese youth."

He also said that it’s still just a submission and he is watching to see if there will be more good news in future.

Calls to "Wolf Totem" representatives have not been answered.

"Go away Mr. Tumor," starring Fay Bai and Daniel Wu, was screened on Sept. 24, 2015 at the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C. as the opening film for China Film Week during Chinese President Xi Jinping's U.S. visit. The film has grossed more than 500 million yuan (about US$79 million) in the Chinese mainland market, the second largest in the world.

"The Assassin" by Hou Hsiao-hsien, who won the Cannes Best Director prize this year, is the submission from Taiwan, while Dante Lam's "To the Fore" is Hong Kong’s submission.

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