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Ghent Film Festival pts Asia in the spotlight

With a film focus on China, a film music concert by the Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi and an exhibition on the Japanese animation art anime, the 36th edition of the Ghent Film Festival feels particularly Asian. In addition, film music remains centralto the festival programme with various film music concerts, the award ceremony of the World Soundtrack Awards and a film music seminar.
The 36th edition of the Ghent Film Festival, from 6 to 17 October, focuses on a specific continent for the very first time. There are Asian accents in both the film selection and the film music concerts, as well as in the fringe events.

The film focus is mainly on China, which this year hosts Europalia. The festival will offer a programme with Chinese films that is as varied as possible, and also invites numerous Chinese filmmakers. The enormous growth of the Chinese economy has drastically changed the lives of many Chinese. Although economic progress offers new opportunities and unseen possibilities, the change from a traditional society to modern times has left many with a lack of direction and a feeling of being uprooted. These themes are increasingly present in the official and underground cinema from China. The aim is to give a broad overview of recent Chinese cinema in the various sections of the festival.

Together with Europalia, the Ghent Film Festival also brings filmmaker Wang Quan’an and actress Yu Nan to Ghent. Both are on the festival’s international jury. Due to their visit, the festival will be screening four films that they participated in, including Berlin’s Golden Bear winner Tuya’s Marriage.

In addition to the film focus on China, the festival is also organising a film music event with an Asian twist. On the programme is a concert with the Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi, who has collaborated with the leading Asia directors of the last years, such as Wong Kar Wai (In the Mood for Love, 2046, My Blueberry Nights), Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower) and Jet Li (Fearless, The Dark Sea).

Lovers of the Japanese animation film genre anime can go the Caermers monastery in Ghent for the overview exhibition Anime! High Art – Pop Culture, which was previously shown at the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, in Copenhagen and in Los Angeles. The colourful and interactive exhibition highlights the various aspects of anime, from Tezuka Osamu’s Astro Boy to subgenres, such as erotic anime.

Of course, the Ghent Film Festival continues to focus on film music, the annually recurring theme of the festival. In addition to the concert with Shigeru Umebayashi, there will also be the ninth award ceremony of the World Soundtrack Awards, which closes the festival on October 17. Other concerts will be announced later.


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