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Chinese cinema to add fire to Sydney Film Festival

By Christian Edwards (Xinhua)

14:21, May 15, 2013

SYDNEY, May 15 (Xinhua) -- A strong lineup of Chinese-language films are among the highlights of next month's 2013 Sydney Film Festival, the director of a documentary on China's booming wine industry told Xinhua Wednesday.

Red Obsession by Australian documentary filmmaker David Roach combines two modern Australian passions: China and wine.

According to Roach, Red Obsession looks at the enormous appetite that China's rising middle class have for fine French wine from the Bordeaux region.

"Its more than just a comment on wine, its about the shift of economic power from the west to the east," He told Xinhua.

With an eclectic selection of world cinema, including five Chinese language films, the Festival was officially launched by the NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts George Souris last week.

Souris said there will be 19 World Premieres at the Festival, including the two major Australian feature productions "Mystery Road" and "Nerve".

The 60th Sydney Film Festival will feature 276 screenings of 190 films from around the world.

One of Australia's most well-known actors, Hugo Weaving, (best known for his roles in V for Vendetta, The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings, will lead a panel judging the 12 films in the official competition.

Among the leading Chinese entrants are Longing for the Rain by Director Yang Lina and Director Chang Jung-Chi's Touch of the Light, a German, Chinese collaboration that follows the story of the Shaolin Tagu Kung Fu School.

With more than 20,000 students their ritual exercises resemble a scene from a Chinese historical epic. Director and cinematographer Inigo Westmeier captures the early-morning routine in cinematic richness, before focusing on three pupils: nine year- old Xin Chenxi, and two teens, Chen Xi and Huang Luolan.

Selected for Sundance's International Documentary Competition, Fallen City, by Chinese Director Zhao Qi, had its world premiere at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and tells the interwoven stories of three survivors from the town of China's deadliest earthquake in three decades on May 12, 2008.

The only local entry in the running for the Australia's richest film award is The Rocket, a story about a young boy living in Laos which last month won the grand jury prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Also up for the 60,000 Australian dollars (about 61,000 U.S. dollars)prize is acclaimed Romanian production Child's Pose, Stories We Tell by Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley and Only God Forgives, a French-Danish collaboration starring Ryan Gosling.

"Having keenly attended the SFF for many years, always with the eyes of a somewhat excited and hungry child, it will be a great pleasure and honour for me to take up the position of jury president," Weaving said.

Every year, 12 feature films are selected for the Sydney Film Festival Official Competition on the basis that they demonstrate " emotional power and resonance; are audacious, cutting-edge, courageous; and go beyond the usual treatment of the subject matter."

The 12 films for 2013 are: The Act of Killing, Borgman, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Child's Pose, For Those in Peril, Grigris, Monsoon Shootout, Oh Boy, Only God Forgives, The Rocket, Stories We Tell and Wadjda.

The Sydney Film Festival runs from June 5 to 16 and will include 19 world premieres.

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