Berlin - Half of awards for Chinese films

Simply impressive: four of the prizes of the international competition of the Berlin Film Festival, i.e. half of the awards, were for films by Chinese directors. And prizes that were deserved, for the large number of western films presented, almost all linked to family problems, were not of a very high quality.

Never have so many movies with children and adolescents been presented, showing mothers absent, but demanding, disinterested fathers, authoritarian and fanatically religious mothers. Including the Brazilian film, which was a boy who felt abandoned by his brother.

It proved to be too much sentimentality and perhaps the first symptoms are emerging of saturation in terms of violence and sex. Although it was the Festival of the nymphomaniac movie, by Lars von Trier, good films in Berlin were very modest with an evident decrease of bed scenes and brutality.

Confirming our criticism, the Brazilian film was not well received by the critics and the public. The impression of the Festival remained that it was wrong to show Praia do Futuro, by Karim Aïnouz, in this competition, as the other Brazilian film Today I Want to Go Back Alone (also with adolescents and homosexuality) got a prize from independent critics and and the Public Award of the Panorama show.

Although better than Praia do Futuro, the Argentine film La Tercera Orilla also was not part of award-winning ​​movies. However, the situation was no better for German films. A love triangle over the life of the poet Schiller and another on the participation of German soldiers in Afghanistan, were both ignored in the prizes.

The Chinese arrived with three films, two of them were awarded prizes and even took Bears including Best Actor and Best Actress, totally deserved. The Golden Bear went to Black Coal and Thin (or Fragile) Ice, by Diao Yinan

It's a thriller, in which, as in Western films of this genre, there is a detective, badly respected among the police, but able to unravel mysterious crimes. It is the case of Zhang, a pretty typical mustachioed Chinese, played by actor Liao Fan (awarded best actor) . The case begins with pieces of human bodies and limbs found in wagons freight trains, coal transporters. The solution to these and other crimes, comes at an ice skating rink, involving the person least suspected.

Today China is the second largest film market . All winning films in Berlin already had distributors in major European countries, even before being chosen as the best of the 64th Festival.

Rui Martins

Translated from the Portuguese version

By Natália Santos



Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey