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Tuya's Wedding Wows Berlin Film Festival
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The story of a Mongolian herdswoman's brave struggle to keep her family together has opened China's bid for the top film prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

Tuyade Hunshi (Tuya's Wedding) drew the warmest applause yet Saturday at the three-day-old Berlinale and offers a look at a rural lifestyle on the Inner Mongolia steppe which, director Wang Quan'an says, is fast disappearing.

The title character, a spirited mother of two, is forced to divorce her crippled husband so that she can marry another man who can provide for the family.

But none of her many suitors can cope with the sole condition she sets -- that the new husband accept her ex-husband as part of the household.

Finally, a rich former classmate agrees to take financial care of him but insists that he remain in a nursing home while Tuya and the children move with him to the city.

The move has catastrophic consequences and brings the shepherdess to trust her unhappily married neighbour who is in love with her and respects her former husband.

Wang leaves any lyricism up to the camera as it captures the snow-swept landscape and the characters' bright ethnic dress, and the script never becomes sentimental.

"I wanted to put a little part of the Mongolian life under wraps for the future," said the director who has also made Lunar Eclipse.

He said his mother comes from the remote region and the film sought to pay hommage to its strong women.

"In China, if a family is in financial difficulty it is often the woman who has to bear the brunt and find a new husband. But a woman who makes such a sacrifice is also paid a lot of respect."

The film is one of two Asian entries at the 57th edition of the Berlin Film Festival that touches on the impact of globalisation on Mongolia and one of two Chinese films competing for the Golden Bear prize for best film.

And Chinese director Li Yu is unveiling Ping Guo (Lost in Beijing) which stars Hong Kong heartthrob Tony Leung from the The Lover fame as a massage parlour owner.The movie takes an unflinching look at the fears and frustrations of Beijing residents.

There are four Asian entries in total competing with much-awaited French films and Hollywood productions such as Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd and Steven Soderbergh's The Good German, a thriller set in Berlin starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett.

The prizes are awarded on February 17, the penultimate day of the festival.

(Agencies via CRI.cn February 12, 2007)

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