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The 24th Shanghai International Film Festival came to a glitzy conclusion Saturday night, as Chinese film Manchurian Tiger took home the top Golden Goblet award for best feature at a star-studded closing ceremony in the Chinese commercial capital.
Directed by self-taught Chinese filmmaker Geng Jun, Manchurian Tiger is a black comedy drama set in the country’s far northeast and follows a chain of calamities that begins when a man cooks his associate’s pet dog to serve it to a group of ruthless debt collectors. Eventually, an unlikely bond forms between the two men as they each grapple with their failings and the bitter ironies of their lives become unavoidable.
China’s longest-running international cinema event, the Shanghai festival showcased more than 400 Chinese and foreign films during its 10-day duration this year, making it the first full-scale, in-person film festival to be held in the country amid the pandemic era. International guests mostly were unable to attend the event because of China’s ongoing border controls and lengthy quarantine requirements, but the occasion proved tremendously popular with domestic Chinese filmgoers, with virtually all screenings selling out, and tickets running hundreds of dollars per showing on the resale market.
Iranian filmmaker Abolfazl Jalili won Shanghai’s Best Director award for The Contrary Route, while his star, Pouyan Shekari took home the best actor prize. Iranian films had a strong showing in Shanghai this year, with seven titles showing across the selection. Their participation punctuated news unveiled June 9 that the government of Iran had signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Film Bureau to expand relations between the two countries in the film industry.
Jalili beamed into Shanghai’s closing ceremony to accept his Golden Goblet trophy via video, saying, “The distance is not a problem for us to communicate. I hope that one day I can cooperate with Chinese filmmakers on a new production that explores humanity.”
The Golden Goblet winners were decided by a jury led by Chinese producer Huang Jianxi as president, with the rest of the panel made up by Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen, Chinese actor-director Deng Chao, Chinese actor Song Jia, former Venice festival chief Marco Mueller and China-based French producer Natacha Devillers. Unlike in most years, there were no established Hollywood names among the jury.
Polish actress Marzena Gajewska claimed the best actress trophy for her turn in director Iwona Siekierzynska’s feature Amateurs. Malaysian film Barbarian Invasion took the jury grand prix, while Russian prison escape film The Conscience was honored with the outstanding artistic achievement award. The full winner’s list is below.
The Shanghai International Film Festival wraps up Sunday with re-screenings of the festival’s winners. The organizers have expressed optimism that the event will be more open to international attendance in 2022 for its celebratory 25th edition.
Best Feature Film: Manchurian Tiger, China
Jury Grand Prix: Barbarian Invasion, Malaysia
Best Director: Abolfazl Jalili, The Contrary Route, Iran
Best Screenplay: Alexey Viktorovich Kozlov, The Conscience, Russia
Best Actress: Marzena Gajewska, Amateurs, Poland
Best Actor: Pouyan Shekari, The Contrary Route, Iran
Outstanding Artistic Achievement: The Conscience, Russia
Best Cinematography: Vyacheslav Tuyrin, The Conscience, Russia
Best Documentary Film: Sisyphus, Mexico
Best Animation Film: Even Mice Belong In Heaven, Czech Republic/France/Poland
Best Live Action Short Film: Double Helix, China
Best Animated Short Film: Mild Madness, Lasting Lunacy, France
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