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Chinese movies make strong comeback at Berlin film fest

(Xinhua)

12:27, February 18, 2012

Chinese leading director Zhang Yimou (C) and cast members attend the premiere of his film "Jin ling Shi San Chai" (The Flowers of War) at the 62th Berlin film festival in Berlin Feb. 13, 2012. "Jin ling Shi San Chai" (The Flowers of War), directed by Chinese leading director Zhang Yimou and starring Christian Bale and Ni Ni, sets around the 1937 Nanjing massacre during the China-Japan war. The film is screened at the 62th Berlin film festival out of competition. (Xinhua/Ma Ning)

BERLIN, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- After sitting out last year's Berlin Film Festival, top Chinese movie makers have returned to the spotlight with 12 films dealing with Chinese mythology, history and modern society.

As part of the official program, three Chinese films from directors Zhang Yimou, Wang Quan'an and Tsui Hark are being shown at the Berlin Film Festival. As opposed to last year when Chinese films did not stand out among the competition, this year marked a magnificent comeback for Chinese films.

Dieter Kosslick, festival director since 2001, told Xinhua that the Berlin Film Festival, also known as Berlinale, enjoyed "a long-time tradition with Chinese film makers and Chinese films."

Zhang won international acclaim by winning the top award of the Berlinale, the Golden Bear, in 1988 with his directorial debut "Red Sorghum." For his part, Wang won a Golden Bear in 2007 and a Silver Bear in 2010.

"We are really happy that we could this year again have a lot of Chinese films," Kosslick said.

The red carpet was packed on the night that Zhang presented his new film "The Flowers of War," which had already debuted in China, at the Berlinale.

Zhang's screen adaptation of the tragic historical massacre in Nanking, China, in 1937 at the time of the China-Japan war is the story of a group of devoutly religious schoolgirls and their fight for survival.

Martin Wolsgaard, a journalist from Denmark and a great fan of Zhang's previous works, told Xinhua that though he wasn't familiar with the Nanking massacre, he found the film impressive.

"I think it's almost safe to say it's the best film I am going to see at this festival. It was very, very good, beautiful and moving. There is a great performance from both Christian Bale and the Chinese actresses," he said.

Market experts agreed by saying that festivals like the Berlin Film Festival have certainly helped promote Chinese cinema among Western audiences.

Beki Probst, director of the European Film Market, told Xinhua that Asia always exudes "an exotic perfume," and "you can see this at this festival because we have a very strong presence of Chinese and Asian cinema, which became today a big topic in the cinema world."

Outside of the main competition, a very old Chinese story, "The Monkey King," proved popular among young Westerners in the "Generation" section of the Berlinale.


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