'Just the Wind' Takes Top Prize at Paris Cinema Festival

Berlinale Film Festival
"Just the Wind"

Bence Fliegauf’s Hungarian drama won the Jury Prize, and "A Simple Life" from Hong Kong auteur Ann Hui was also a big winner as the festival wrapped Monday night.

PARIS -- Bence Fliegauf’s Just the Wind swept through the competition at the Paris Cinema Festival, taking the top jury prize Monday night.

The lights went down on the City of Lights’ annual ode to France’s “7th art” form after nearly two weeks of movie premieres, talent visits and a tribute to Hong Kong’s film industry in partnership with the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

The event featured appearances from an eclectic mix of talent from all over the world, including Kylie Minogue, Johnnie To, Olivier Assayas, Michel Gondry, Juliette Binoche and Melvil Poupaud, for its 10th birthday celebration.

The fest wrapped Monday with the ceremony and a screening of closing-night film Cecelia Rouaud’s Je Me Suis Fait Tout Petit complete with an appearance from the film’s cast, including Vanessa Paradis.

Ann Hui’s Hong Kong title A Simple Life won both the audience award and the students prize. Distribution Workshop is handling international sales for the film, which is still looking for a French distributor.

Just the Wind will hit Gallic theaters in March via Sophie Dulac Distribution. The drama based on the true story of a series of racist attacks in Hungary screened at this year’s Berlinale, where it won the Amnesty Prize.

The bloggers and web award went to Miguel Gomes’ Tabou, and the Numericable prize awarded by subscribers to France’s telecom service went to Kim Nguyen’s Canadian title Rebelle. The winning films will be screened again for audiences on Tuesday at the MK2 Bibliotheque.

“The partnership turned out very well,” the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society’s executive director Roger Garcia told The Hollywood Reporter of the strong Hong Kong presence at the fest’s 12-day 10th birthday bash. “In particular, we were happy that Paris Cinema is a community and city-based film festival so that Hong Kong films were reaching the general public and not just a festival audience. Many Hong Kong films are made for populist audiences, so it's great to see these films reach a Parisian public.”

The tribute to Hong Kong included master classes from To and Yuen Wo Ping, a visit from Hong Kong New Wave director Allen Fong and a retrospective of Assayas’ work. A special “Hong Kong Night” on July 3 brought fest president Charlotte Rampling, Assayas, To and the rest of the Hong Kong delegation out for a soirée at Paris’ luxe Shangri-la hotel to celebrate the big-screen love affair between the two countries. 

The relationship will continue via two project markets, Paris Project and the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. “This partnership is ongoing,” Garcia confirmed. While no plans to rekindle the flame have been set, Garcia said: “Having established this relationship and also the interest and enthusiasm for Hong Kong cinema, I hope that we can consider future collaboration.”

For Garcia, the collaboration was a natural one.

“I think in both industries, the directors command respect both in terms of getting a movie made and as auteurs,” he said of the French film business and Hong Kong’s movie industry, adding: “And both industries do have regard for the bigger picture -- in France films are made obviously for local audiences but also for export perhaps to Europe and in the exceptional cases to the U.S. In Hong Kong our industry has an important commercial regard for the mainland China market which is important, as well as international markets.”

The Paris Cinema Festival ran from June 29-July 10.

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