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Beijing film festival announces winners of Tiantan awards

By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-26 23:58

Director Long Fei receives the Best Feature Film award for Gold or Shit. [photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The 14th Beijing International Film Festival held its curtain call on Friday night, unveiling the winners of its top honor, the Tiantan Award, during its closing ceremony.

As the most prestigious accolade of the annual festival, the Tiantan Award received a total of 1,509 submissions from 118 countries and regions, with the winners selected by a seven-member jury panel presided over by Serbian director Emir Kusturica.

Among the three Chinese films nominated in the final selection, director Long Fei's Gold or Shit, a comedy depicting a down-and-out man's unwelcomed return to his hometown, swept three awards: Best Feature Film, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Screenplay.

Iconic filmmakers Zhang Yimou and Jiang Wen, alongside Kusturica, presented the Best Feature award to Gold or Shit's crew and cast members.

Director Long said he had felt stressed when wrapping up shooting, but now feels greatly encouraged after receiving such a prestigious honor. He also revealed the movie will be released in early June.

Huang Jia, the scriptwriter of Gold or Shit, shared an intriguing behind-the-scenes story, recounting the challenging experience of raising budgets and being advised to cast non-famous performers, but later being surprised to learn investors had convinced stars Hu Ge and Gao Yuanyuan to play the leading characters.

The movie marks actor Hu's first foray into comedy after two decades in the acting industry. Hu quoted a line from the film, where a character says "it's always shining if it's gold", to express his excitement about the movie, which overcame many obstacles as the script came to life.

Also a standout at the festival, Indian director Karan Tejpal's debut feature, Stolen, won three Tiantan awards, for Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Cinematography.

The film follows two men from a large city who inadvertently find themselves on a perilous journey as they assist an impoverished woman in her search for her kidnapped baby in rural India.

Fan Wei receives the Best Actor award for his movie Strangers when We Meet. [photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Chinese film Strangers when We Meet earned the Best Actor award for Fan Wei, who plays a man released after three decades in jail and yearning for marriage. It was Fan's second win, after receiving the same trophy for Mr No Problem in 2017.

Fan expressed his gratitude to fellow creators for helping him accurately portray the complex character, and described the Beijing film festival as his blessed place.

The Finnish film Death Is a Problem for the Living won the Best Music award and Best Supporting Actor Award, and the Best Artistic Contribution Award went to the Japanese movie All the Long Nights.

Director Chen Kaige, known for classic movies including Yellow Earth, Farewell My Concubine, and Forever Enthralled, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his decades-long dedication and passion for cinema.

Chen, alongside actors from his new movie, the sequel to the war epic The Volunteers: To the War, attended the closing ceremony.

"I was born and raised in Beijing. Therefore, receiving such an honor in this city is an extraordinary privilege. Over the past several decades, I have seen significant changes in Beijing, but the alleys where I spent my childhood and the schools that I attended have remained unchanged, despite the rapid passage of time," said the nostalgic Chen.

Recalling his filmmaking career over the past four decades, the 71-year-old said he has endured anxiety, worries, and even struggled with insomnia throughout the creation of his movies.

"I had asked myself: What makes a decent movie? You must squeeze out your insights, innocence, kindness, and tolerance – essentially, all the essence of your life, just like milking a cow – into the film. Perhaps then, a decent movie will emerge," he concluded.

Director Chen Kaige (right), known for classic movies including Farewell My Concubine and Forever Enthralled, is honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. [photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
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