(From the Nation)
By Donsaron Kovitvanitcha
Asian triumphs at the Locarno Film Festival include a first entry from Cambodia
Asian films dominated this year’s Locarno Film Festival, with South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo winning the top-prize Golden Leopard for “Right Now, Wrong Then,” and a Cambodian film from an emerging Asian-American director marking the country’s debut at the Swiss event.
Sunday brought to an end another interesting year for the Locarno Film Festival, the country’s biggest film event and a world capital of auteur cinema.
While most of the titles screened at Locarno were European, Asian entries won out all down the line.
The jury also recognised Jun Jae-young, awarding him the Best Actor prize for “Right Now, Wrong Then”, which tells the same story twice but with very different outcomes.
The five-hour Japanese drama “Happy Hour” by up-and-coming director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, won Best Actress and Best Script, while “Thithi”, the first feature from Raam Raidy from India, was awarded first prize in the sidebar competition Filmmakers of the Present and also Best First Feature. “Kaili Blues” by China’s Bi Gan also did well, picking up the prize for the Best Emerging Director in the same section.
Another interesting film screened in the Filmmakers of the Present category was “Dream Land”, a Cambodia-US feature directed by Steve Chen, a Chinese-American filmmaker who decided to make his first feature film in Cambodia.
Chen, born and raised in the US by parents who moved there from Taiwan, visited Cambodia for the first time in 2009. He was working as an architect at the time but was desperate for time away from the drawing board.
“I wanted to get away from my desk job as an architect,” says Chen, “and so I came to Cambodia to research the country’s buildings constructed between the 1950s and the ’70s, which blend modern architecture with Cambodian elements. Read more