Open your eyes

By Sun Shuangjie Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-10 16:58:01

Shanghai International Film Festival is around the corner

Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), the only A-category international film festival in China, is returning this Saturday for its 18th edition. This year, more than 300 films from China and abroad will be screened at 45 cinemas around the city. Online tickets are available exclusively on and the Taobao app.

Audiences can watch a number of award-winning films produced abroad in the last year that failed to enter Chinese cinemas, such as Whiplash, Boyhood, The Theory of Everything and Leviathan.

Meanwhile, SIFF will also screen the international debut of several films, including the festival's opening film I am Somebody, which is directed by Hong Kong-based Yee Tung-Shing. The film sheds light on the lives of 20 unknown actors and actresses in Zhejiang Province's Hengdian, the largest film shooting base in the world.

The closing film Ballet in Flames of War, a co-production by Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov and Chinese director Dong Yachun, will also be making its global debut at SIFF. This film tells the story of a battle that Chinese and Soviet soldiers fought together against some 300 Japanese soldiers, who refused to give up almost one month after their nation had surrendered in the war.

Posters for the films to be screened during this year's Shanghai International Film Festival Photos: Courtesy of the event organizer

Award contenders

Of the films to be screened, 25 have been shortlisted for SIFF's Golden Goblets Awards, which has expanded from eight to 10 categories this year to include Best Documentary and Best Animated Film. The winners will be announced at the closing ceremony on June 21.

Shortlisted fictions include: American director Daniel Barnz's Cake, which was also nominated at 72nd Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress; Carte Blanche by Polish director Jacek Lusinski, who was a finalist in the most prestigious screenwriting competition in Poland in 2012; Jangsu Mart by Kang Je-gyu, winner of Best New Director, Best Director and Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Film at the Blue Dragon Film Awards in South Korea; Russian film Solnechnyy Udar by Nikita Mikhalkov, who is known as Russia's Steven Spielberg for his contributions in the film industry; and Where the Wind Settles by Wang Tung, a Taiwanese director who has six Golden Horse Awards under his belt.

Five candidates will compete for the Best Documentary Award this year. They include Meru, a film about mountain climbers; Overnighters, about unemployed men chasing their dreams in the oil fields of North Dakota in the US; Virunga, about a small group of conservationists defending the home of endangered mountain gorillas against armed rebel groups in the Congo; Factory Complex, about South Korean female workers' living conditions amid the country's booming economy; and The Verse of Us, about six Chinese laborers from different fields that share an interest in writing poems.

The animation film candidates are five adventure stories: China's Yugo & Lala 2 and Legend of a Rabbit: The Martial of Fire, Ireland's Song of the Sea, Britain's Shaun the Sheep, Finland's Moomins on the Riviera, and Japanese director Shunji Iwai's The Case of Hana & Alice, which chronicles an investigation by two middle school girls of a house where a series of murders were rumored to have taken place.

For the Asian New Talent Awards, 15 films have been nominated in six categories. Japanese film 0.5mm, directed by Momoko Ando, has been honored highly with three nominations for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. The film is a dark comedy about a home helper who unexpectedly loses her job and wanders the streets, where she meets three other elderly people who are also on the fringes of society.

Past and present

This year marks the 120th anniversary of worldwide filmmaking and 110th anniversary of filmmaking in China. To commemorate the splendid film history of China and the world, SIFF will showcase a series of significant films that pay tribute to legendary filmmakers and stars such as French Oscar-winning director Jean-Luc Godard, late American director and actor Michael Curtiz, late Japanese actor Ken Takakura, and pioneering Chinese filmmakers Zhao Dan and Shi Hui, who made great contributions to China's film industry in the early days.

All six films in the Star Wars franchise, three of which have never reached cinemas on the Chinese mainland, will also be screened during SIFF.

In SIFF's 4K Renovation Unit, audiences can see such classic films as Gone With the Wind (1939), The Wizard of Oz, A Fistful of Dollars (both 1939), The Sound of Music (1965) and Goodfellas (1990). The Last Emperor (1987) by Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci will be screened in a new and improved 3D version.

During SIFF's Jackie Chan Film Week from June 14 to 18, 25 action films will be showcased. Highlights include Tom Yum Goong 2 and Vengeance of An Assassin from Thailand, The Raid 2 from Indonesia and Bloody Destiny from China.

Meanwhile, Japan, India, Germany, Iran, Thailand, Italy and France have organized their own contemporary film week projects during SIFF, offering audiences the chance to see a diverse range of the latest well-acclaimed films from all over the world.

Posted in: Metro Shanghai, About Town

blog comments powered by Disqus