Pingyao film festival opens with Zhang Yimou honored

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 11, 2019
Adjust font size:

Zhang Yimou speaks as he receives the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon East-West Award at the opening of the Third Pingyao International Film Festival held in Pingyao, Shanxi province, Oct. 10, 2019. [Photo courtesy of Wishart]

Chinese film director Zhang Yimou was given the top honor at the Third Pingyao International Film Festival when the event opened on Thursday.

Zhang, who had just directed the magnificent gala in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on Oct. 1 to celebrate the 70th National Day, received the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon East-West Award, which honors achievements in cinema and contributions to the development of East-West film culture.

Respected director Xie Fei, Zhang's mentor from China's fourth generation of filmmakers and Jia Zhangke, a director from China's sixth generation, jointly handed the trophy to Zhang, who is from fifth generation -- a scene symbolizing passing on the directorial torch. 

"This is my first time to attend the Pingyao International Film Festival. Thank you Pingyao for presenting this award to me," Zhang said. "The Pingyao festival is just 3 years old, like a child; however, I hope it will become an incredible and best film festival after 30 years."

The film festival was initiated by Chinese arthouse filmmaking master Jia Zhangke and Italian film historian Marco Muller in 2017. The two serve as the founder and artistic director respectively for the festival, to be held every year in Pingyao, a 2,700-year-old ancient city and a World Cultural Heritage site in central Shanxi province.

Zhang also said that he was very touched to see the audience in the opening ceremony's venue, outdoor amphitheater. "Everyone came here because of a love for movies, hoping to use the film arts to express feelings and understanding and convey the cultural heritage."

The filmmaker is due to hold a master class at the festival, sharing his creative passion and self-innovation as a filmmaker through a conversation with Jia.

Filmmakers, executives, and guests kick off the Third Pingyao International Film Festival by playing a large Chinese drum together in Pingyao, Shanxi province, Oct. 10, 2019. [Photo courtesy of Wishart]

With director Ang Lee's special authorization, this festival has also been named after his Academy Award-winning film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000) as the Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival. It aims to celebrate the achievements of the international cinema and also promote the works of young Chinese directors, especially those produced in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa.

"In Pingyao we will again be able to prove, thanks to our audiences, that it could be a winning proposition to give surprising debut and a much longer second run in theatres, that it is possible to increase the market share of cinema that brings us news from distant continents, peoples, and cultures," Marco Muller said. 

He added: "Films are made for everybody. There is no part of cinema that cannot be nurtured or reawakened: each has its own quality, its own value. Building a relationship with diverse and ever-growing groups of audiences should also mean passing on the love and passion of cinema."

The film festival opened with the film "Old Neighborhood" by young director Han Yan, a Chinese short film created as part of the third BRICS co-production program entitled " Neighbors." Han started his directorial career in 2002. In 2015, his work "Go Away Mr. Tumor" was the Chinese candidate for the Best Foreign Language Film of the 88th Academy Award. 

The opening film was originally to be "Liberation" by Li Shaohong and Chang Xiaoyang; however, the production company notified the festival that the post-production including the digital and visual effects of the film has not been completed as expected and required further work.

Chinese filmmakers and actors such as Guan Hu, Zhang Yibai, Cheng Er, Wang Xuebing, Zhang Yi, Liang Jing, Joan Chen, and Japanese director Takashi Shimizu, Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho, Japanese actress Ayaka Miyoshi, as well as film executives and the chairs of global film festivals attended the opening ceremony and walked the red carpet. 

There was a new section at the opening ceremony to introduce five future films deemed important by the festival founder and organization committee to the audience, which include Jia's new work "So Close to My Land," Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Memoria," Cambodian director Kavich Neang's "White Building," Chinese director Wang Jing's "Bu Zhi Bu Xiu," which is produced by Jia, and Cheng's "Pseudo Idealist" starring Jia.

Pingyao will hold lots of world premieres and screenings for new films in various official sections, including Jacob Cheung's "The Opera House," Zu Feng's "Summer of Changsha," Ye Qian's "Koali & Rice," Joe Odagiri's "They Say Nothing Stays the Same," Maya Da-Rin's "The Fever," César Diaz's "Our Mothers," Jérémy Clapin's "I Lost My Body," Mati Diop's "Atlantics," Igor Tuveri's "5 is the Perfect Number," and Takashi Shimizu's "Howling Village." The Festival Mentor's Choice section will feature special screening of Xie's "A Mongolian Tale" and Zhang's 4K high-definition remastering of the classic "Red Sorghum."

The opening ceremony of the Third Pingyao International Film Festival is held at a packed outdoor amphitheater venue in Pingyao, Shanxi province, Oct. 10, 2019. [Photo courtesy of Wishart]

During the festival, there will be programs of "Work-in-Progress Lab Screenings" and "Pingyao Project Promotion," master classes, industry seminars, as well as various awards to be voted and handed out such as Roberto Rossellini Awards, Feimu Awards, Youth Jury Awards, People's Choice Awards, and Cinephilia Critics' Award. 

The event runs until Oct. 19.

1   2   >  

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from