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7 days, 7 nights wins top prize in Nantes

Fiction film section

Orisel Gaspar, one of the lead actresses of Siete dias, siete noches (Seven Days, Seven Nights), had written a song especially for the closing ceremony of the Festival of the 3 continents in Nantes, western France. She definitely put her whole heart in her voice when she sung her moving lyrics after Cuban director Joel Cano received the Montgolfière d’Or for the film in which she co-stars. The movie, which depicts a week in the lives of three very strong women in Cuba, is a deft criticism of Castro’s regime. When he handed over the top prize to the lucky director, French author and jury member Jean Rouaud described the film as an attack against the infuriated attempt of the regime to prevent its people from living (“la fureur d’empêcher de vivre”, a pun on the French title of Rebel without a Cause with James Dean). To add to his luck, Cine Cinema, the French pay TV outlet which sponsors the award, will support the film with a promotion campaign on its channels to the value of 15,000 euros.

The second prize for a fiction film, called the Montgolfière d’Argent, went to Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters) by Sabiha Sumar from Pakistan. The film also received the Fip/Pil prize of the public for a fiction film. It portrays the life of Ayasha, a middle-aged woman under President General Zia-ul-Hacq’s martial law in 1979, and her sorrow when her 18-year old son becomes an Islamic fundamentalist.

Both the Jacques Demy Prize and the Prize of the Young Jury formed by 7 European and North American students were awarded to Bu San (Goodbye Dragon Inn) by Tsai Ming-Liang from Taiwan. Titra Film will freely contribute to the subtitling of the movie to the value of 2,500 euros.

The special prize of the jury went to Min by Ho Yuhang from Malaysia, the story of a 20-year old Chinese girl adopted by a Malay family and her journey to find her real mother.

As for the acting awards, the Prize for Best Actress went to Shinobu Terashima for her moving performance in Vibrator by Ryuichi Hiroki from Japan. Her talent was already noticed a few years ago when she received in 1996 the Arts Festival prize for best new actress and in 1997 the Yomiuri Actors award for Outstanding Actress. In Vibrator, she plays the role of a young adult who meets a truck driver in a convenience store and who then shares his journey to cure her anxiety.

As for the Prize for Best Actor, it went to Erjan Bekmuratov for his role in Malen’kie Ljudi (Ordinary Peolple) by Nariman Turebayev from Kazakhstan.

Documentary section

Alain and Philippe Jalladeau, the talented brothers who founded the event a quarter of century ago, decided to open a documentary section starting this year, thanks to the financial support of the Conseil Général of Loire-Atlantique, the administrative body that rules the region where Nantes is located in western France.

Its first top prize ever, the Montgolfière d’Or for best documentary, was awarded to Tiexi Qu (West of the Tracks), a 9-hour long trilogy by Wang Bing from China. The feature portrays the decay of the highly populated industrial district of Tie Xi in Shenyang, northeastern China.

The Fip/Pil Prize of the Public for best documentary went to Gift of Life by Wu Yii-Feng from Taïwan, a moving depiction of the sorrow that followed the deadly earthquake that hit Taiwan in September 1999.

Olivier Delesse

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