HKIFF Prizes: ‘The Day Is Over’ and ‘The Wasteland’ Share Top Awards

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Mainland China youth drama “The Day is Over” was named the best Chinese-language film in the Firebird Young Cinema competition at the Hong Kong International Film Festival. The already celebrated Iranian film “The Wasteland,” directed by Ahmad Bahrami won the equivalent award in the overseas section.

The 45th edition of the festival kicked off on April 1 and will complete its run on Monday.

“The Day is Over,” directed by Qi Rui, tells a tale of mounting tragedies for a young girl who is humiliated by her classmates and ultimately hides out in a pond. The jury praised it for “aptly portraying contemporary society’s lack of care for the young generation and the subsequent impact on the development of their personal values”.

In the same section, “Summer Blur” garnered two awards: best director for Han Shuai for his “impressive ability in portraying the characters’ psyche” and best actress for Huang Tian. The best actor award went to Huang Xuan, who “brilliantly exhibits the anguish and torment experienced by a man on the brink of crisis” in “Wuhai.”

“The Wasteland” previously won the Orrizonti Prize for best film at the Venice festival in September last year. In Hong Kong, it added best film and best actor for Ali Bagheri.

In the same section, “Looking for Venera” also earned two prizes: best director for Norika Sefa and best actress for Kosovare Kraniqi.

With a unanimous decision, the jury gave the festival’s best documentary prize to maria’ Speth’s “Mr. Bachmann and His Class.” Kurdish filmmaker Hogir Hirori took the Jury Prize for Sabaya, a powerful documentary that illustrates a brutal world of war, extremism, and gender oppression.

This year’s FIPRESCI Prize went to Chong Keat-aun’s “The Story of Southern Islet” a magical-realist tale of a man who believes himself to be struck by a neighbor’s curse. The film hails from Malaysia and is presented in Mandarin and Malay, it previously earned Chong the best new director prize at the Golden Horse Awards. The film received a commendation from the FIPRESCI jury in Hong Kong for “its creative portrayal of spirituality in an increasingly ungodly world.”

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