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Barcelona Asian Fest Awards

BARCELONA ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL came to an end on Sunday May 6th with an afternoon dedicated to three of the most important contemporary Asian filmmakers: Jia Zhangke (Still Life), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Syndromes and a Century) and Tsai Ming-lian (I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone). The previous evening, Saturday May 5th, the Festival’s closing was held at the Fòrum Park’s Movistar Space with the prize-giving ceremony and the screening of the Bollywood film Don, starring Shahrukh Khan.

The BAFF 2007 jury, made up of actor Eduard Fernández and actress Vicenta Ndongo, theater director and writer Carol López, Director Zhang Lu and movie critic Jasper Sharp, decided to give the Golden Durian Award, courtesy of Casa Asia and worth 6,000, to the best in-competition motion picture from the Official Selection, to the Chinese production Summer Palace by Lou Ye (China, 2006).

By unanimous vote, the jury wants to point out that they liked the way Lou Ye tells a love story with a political background – a revolution, which doesn’t cease to be another love story, - with excellent interpretations. They were surprised the director was not allowed to premiere Summer Palace in his own country and that, in addition, he must face a ban prohibiting him from filming for the next five years. The jury hopes and desires that his love story for cinema can continue, for the good of the public.

In his latest film Lou Ye, the most romantic of the Chinese directors, unceremoniously deals with the bloody repression of the pro-Democratic movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989 as the background for a love story that takes place between 1988 and 2003. With a stunning mise-en-scène, Summer Palace is a generational portrait that lyrically and, at the same time, brutally, explicitly and deeply erotically, reflects a convulsive period. In Lou Ye’s filmography we find movies like Purple Butterfly (2003) or Suzhou River (2000).

In addition, the jury decided to award two special mentions: to the Chinese film The Exam, by director Pu Jian, for the way a simple, local story becomes deep and universal, and the Japanese film Strawberry Shortcakes, by director Hitoshi Yazaki, for the way a man is capable of describing female characters and direct them so subtly.

The Audience Award, obtained through the votes of the spectators attending the screenings from the Official, AS and Special Screenings sections, went to the Chinese film Getting Home by Zhang Yang (China, 2006). The new movie from the director of Shower and Spicy Love Soup, is a film loaded with charm and magic, touched by the lightness of comedy, but with growing emotional depth in its final arc, and that not only speaks of friendship and unshakable loyalties, but it is also a depiction of contemporary rural China. Close behind Getting Home in the audience’s preferences was the movie A Dirty Carnival by Yoo Ha (South Korea, 2006), a refreshing, organic thriller.

BAFF 2007 says goodbye after 10 days where 60 feature films and 11 short film programs were screened at the Festival’s venues that were attended by 22,000 spectators.

Thanks to all for having been with us these days and we’ll be waiting for you at BAFF 2008, the tenth edition of the Barcelona Asian Film Festival, which we will be celebrating in style. The dates for BAFF 2008 are April 25 to May 4 and the guest filmmakers will be from Hong Kong.


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