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Thursday, September 29, 2016, 09:23

Using movies to forge bonds

By Raymond Zhou

With 676 films, this cinematic event is doing an admirable job to reinvigorate cultural exchanges among countries along the old network of trade routes and beyond. Raymond Zhou reports.

Using movies to forge bonds
Kung fu star Jackie Chan attends the closing ceremony of the Third Silk Road International Film Festival in Xi’an . ( Huo Yan / China Daily)

The five-day Silk Road International Film Festival wrapped up on Sept 23 in Shaanxi's provincial capital Xi'an.

Xi'an, which was known as Chang'an during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) when it was China's capital, was the starting point of the Silk Road, which went across Central Asia and all the way to Rome. The film festival named after this ancient network of trade routes is an attempt to reinvigorate cultural exchanges among countries along this road and beyond it.

For this third edition of the festival, 676 films were in competition, of which two dozen received various nominations.

Using movies to forge bonds

Director and cinematographer Gu Changwei, actress Yan Ni attend the closing ceremony of the Third Silk Road International Film Festival in Xi’an. ( Huo Yan / China Daily)
Using movies to forge bonds
French filmmaker Jacques Perrin (center ) attends the closing ceremony of the Third Silk Road International Film Festival in Xi’an. ( Huo Yan / China Daily)

The best picture winners were The Oldman Dogs , a made-in-Xi'an film (but with a story set in Xinjiang) about an old man and his dogs; Money , an American-Spanish co-production and Xuan Zang , a thematically relevant bio-pic about the Tang Dynasty monk whose pilgrimage to India for Buddhist scriptures has spawned the fantasy retelling of the Monkey King tale, now a staple of the Chinese screen.

The festival had such lavish opening and closing ceremonies that Kellan Lutz, the American actor who accepted both the best picture and the best actress awards for Money on behalf of his colleagues, says he could not believe his eyes even though "I'm from Los Angeles".

Kia Jam, a Hollywood producer who sat on the 11-person jury, joked that the budget for the festival could be enough to fund all the projects in competition.

"Film is indispensable in the Belt and Road Initiative," says Hou Guangming, Party secretary of the Beijing Film Academy.

"Film should be the connecting tissue in carrying on the spirit of the Silk Road, promoting mutual benefits among different cultures, increasing China's international influence and creating a collective sense of belonging for countries along this road."

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