Some may be disappointed that their favorite films didn’t win top prizes as the festival wraps up today at the Shanghai Grand Theater, but the comic—and literal—gold that was Liang Gongxin’s dress and the laughable choice of Killers as the week’s closing film were pretty good distractions. Other notable moments included Taiwan’s complete withdrawal from festival activities and an obvious lack of attention on American productions (well, at least quality ones). Not only that, but two huge film biz figures got a little dramatic themselves. Despite the childish name-calling in the industry’s sandbox, several movies stood out to reign as kings of the playground. A few highlights from the festival:
Surprise! Jiang Wenli is still relevant today. The Chinese film industry’s go-to concubine, Jiang took home the Best Feature Film Award for her first directorial project Lan, depicting a young gymnast’s relationship with her grandpops. Garnering a monetary award of 150,000RMB, the film focuses on the bonds of family and, in usual Chinese dramatic fashion, portrays characters’ emotions with the consistency of maple syrup. At least it’s not a biopi—oh.
Taiwan takes control. After pulling eight films from the festival only a few days before the opening ceremony, the Taiwanese film commission revealed that they feared the Sino-centric celebration would smother Taiwan’s ongoing struggle against China’s political grasp. Chinese officials actually wanted to slap on a “China, Taiwan” fine-print notice on everything related to the Taiwanese screenings, including tickets and advertisements. Maybe tattooing it onto Wang Leehom’s bicep would’ve been a better compromise.
Read about the Goblet’s golden recipient and the Feng-Weinstein cat fight extraordinaire after the jump.
The Executioner kills off its competition. Choi Jin-ho’s movie about Korea’s death penalty and the relationship between a prison guard and his inmates took the Jury Prix Award. Not that the Korean director had any competition from the usual heavyweights, like the United States whose entrees Did You Hear About the Morgans? and When In Rome made stateside filmmakers look like high school AV club members with too much free time on their hands. Luckily for the Americans, everyone was still too distracted by Liang’s failed Princess Leia bikini contraption to care.
Student’s Choice goes to Milo Sogueco’s The Pawnshop. Apparently, the story about seemingly unconnected lives intersecting at a family-run pawnshop was shot in only nine days. According to the SIFF website, Sogueco believes that his art form requires a commitment not unlike “getting married.” Given that the average Chinese actress’s fame lasts less than a marriage between two young Shanghainese these days, us commitment-phobes will just stick with watching.
Shanghai judges gobble up the melodrama. Gabriele Muccino’s Kiss Me Again took home the Golden Goblet for Best Film, the biggest trophy of the week. A soap-operatic narrative sequel to the 2002 hit The Last Kiss about a group of middle-aged people having middle-aged crises, it’s not really a surprise that a panel filled with China’s biggest drama queens preferred Kiss to all the others.
Feng calls out Weinstein, Weinstein licks his wounds after a first class departure. At the film festival forum, Feng Xiaogang of If You Are the One and Curse of the Black Scorpion directing fame aimed his own daggers at the Miramax bigwig, calling him immoral and dishonest for backing out of financial promises he made to various members of the Chinese film industry. Weinstein didn’t exactly help matters, as he took a cue from one of his own movies and bounced immediately to “catch a flight” or whatever. We would try to figure out the Shanghainese term for “passive aggressive,” but we’re too busy wondering when SIFF turned into Mean Girls the Sequel.