The World, by director Jia Zhangke, captured the prizes for Best Feature Film and Best Cinematography at the Sixth Las Palmas International Film Festival, which ended in Spain on March 12.
Jia Zhangke said he was inspired to make The World, which depicts the similarities between peoples and countries, by his increasingly strong belief that cultural gaps are exaggerated.
Like many other "sixth-generation" and independent Chinese filmmakers, in the past Jia put most of his efforts into shooting art films and hoping for awards at various international film festivals.
He did a turnaround in making The World, giving priority this time to the domestic audience. He even spent three months conducting distribution research for the film and collected suggestions from filmgoers throughout the country.
"Starting with The World, my films will become more commercial. Some old films like Red Sorghum (1987) and Old Well (1986) were well received in the market. The older generation did it, why can't we?" said Jia.
The World also brought the Best Cinematography prize to Niu Yixun, who may be best known for his work on Wong Kar-wai's hit In the Mood for Love. Niu said that this work, in the style Jia normal follows for his feature films, tells the same story from a variety of angles.
The film will debut in April in China, South Korea, France and elsewhere.
"Screening the film simultaneously around the world means a lot both to me and to China's film industry," Jia said.
In addition, The World won the prize for Best Screenplay at the 7th Festival du Film Asiatiq ue de Deauville, which was concluded in France today.
(China.org.cn, CRI March 15, 2005)