Chinese Honor Award vs Real Parallel Sections at Cannes Film Festival


The article was originally posted on DeepFocus in Chinese with 4293 views, and reposted on SohuSohu with 7447 views.

2018-04-09 Jiexiao “Vivian” Ying

“Honor Award”: a Fake Chinese Section

Recently, rumor circles on Chinese social media that Cannes Film Festival will add a section called “Film Chinois D’Honneur De Cannes” in 2018, which will join the “Directors’ Fortnight” and “Critics’ Week” to be Cannes’ prestigious parallel section.

People who are familiar with this matter will find it unreliable. How can the most prestigious film festival in the world introduce a parallel section that sheds light only on China? Journalist Chen Pingxuan found the event organizers suspicious by digging into their profiles. The company Charlene C has very low registered capital and no employees. The Chinese co-organizer is a non-governmental organization focusing on “easy form and natural power”, which claims itself to be the Chinese Playwright Association. The most bizarre part is the jury of the “Honour Award.” The festival director Fabrice Ceccherina has only hosted the Fantasy Film Festival Menton. The only artist of the jury, Thomas Grascoeur, has only participated in three feature films with bad reviews.

According to Chen’s investigation, the “Film Chinois D’Honneur De Cannes” is a self-entertaining award hosted by China Playwrights Association of no credibility, which aims to borrow the reputation of Cannes. However, this incident is only the tip of the iceberg of Chinese film festivals overseas. In recent years, with the increasing influence of Chinese films in the global market, more and more Chinese film projects are going abroad and seeking to be screened and promoted in the international film festivals and film markets. Many Chinese companies focus on the golden opportunity for exposure at Cannes. They have drawn huge benefits by hosting events during the Cannes and take advantage of people’s unfamiliarity with the film festival. They present the commercial private events to look like an official Cannes event, in order to trick Chinese filmmakers into Cannes to promote their film projects. The similar scam awards can also be found in other prestigious international film festivals such as Venice Film Festival, Berlinale, and Toronto IFF. The idea is to organize events and give awards known to Chinese people only, and deceive film people in China who are unfamiliar with the game.

While the fake section has earned a lot of eyeballs, the two real parallel sections of Cannes are yet to be recognized by Chinese film professionals. “Directors’ Fortnight” and “Critics’ Week” are misunderstood as irrelevant sections of Cannes. Many filmmakers overlook it while submitting their films, and lose the opportunity to showcase their movies on the wonderful stage.


Parallel Sections: Discovering the New Stars for Cannes

As emphasized by Thierry Frémaux, the artistic director of Cannes, “Critics’ Week” and “Director’s Fortnight” are an integral part of the Cannes Film Festival. These sections has been exerting a huge influence on “Main Competition” and refreshing the festival. Many outstanding directors choose to have the world premieres at the parallel sections rather than Main Competition, and the new directors and fresh aesthetics discovered by the parallel sections will inform the future selection of the Main Competition. It was under the impact of these two parallel sections that Cannes introduced “Un Certain Regard” in its official selection. The legendary filmmakers, like Dardenne brothers, Michael Haneke, and Werner Herzog, had their debut in the “Director’s Fortnight,” and finally established their names in the Main Competition. At the Cannes Film Festival last year, the Safdie Brothers who made their way to the Main Competition for the first time, actually had their previous films screened at Director’s Fortnight.

Here I will introduce the two parallel sections for Chinese film professionals. In the eyes of European and American filmmakers, the quality of their selections, the press coverage, and the market transactions are no less than the Main Competitions of Venice and Berlin. Some European directors even claim that “Going to any section at Cannes is better than going to any other international film festivals.” Of course, they do not count the Chinese Honor Award in.


Critics’ Week: Discover Rising Stars

The parallel sections have several development stages. The earliest is “Critics’ Week”(La Semaine de la Critique), founded by the French Union of Film Critics in 1962. Film Critics Week aims to discover the first or second feature films and provide a platform for future stars.

Each year, Critics’ Week selects 10 short films and 10 feature films and present them during the Cannes Film Festival. The jury is composed of members of the French Union of Film Critics and international film critics. The head of the jury of this year is the Danish director Joachim Trier, who is the 20 most noteworthy director in 2013 according to the New York Times. He directed Louder than Bombs(2015) featuring Isabelle Huppert, which was selected to the Main Competition of the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. His film Thelma(2017) was selected as the Norwegian entry to compete for the Best Foreign Language Film at Oscar.

The jury is responsible for issuing three awards: the Nespresso Grand Prize, the Leica Cine Discovery Prize, and the Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award. There are also awards sponsored by partners. As a parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival, the debut features selected by Critics’ Week are entitled to compete with films from Main Competition and Directors’ Fortnight for Camera d’Or, an award to encourage the first feature film.

Critics’ Week opens the door for new directors to win more awards in the future. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s debut, Amores Perros(2000), has won the Jury Award at Critics’ Week, and moves on to win the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards the following year. Then he directs more well-known films like Birdman(2014) and The Revenant(2015).

Ken Loach is now one of the most expected British directors. His Kes(1969) was screened at “Critics’ Week” and brings “kitchen sink realism” to people’s attention. He brings out the most authentic and natural response of characters by working with non-professional actors whose personal experiences resemble those of the characters. Ken has won numerous awards at the Cannes Film Festival since then and won the Palme d’Or twice in 2006 and 2016.

The French director Julia Ducournau, who has won the hearts of the world’s film critics, is also one of the stars that emerge from the Critics’ Week this year. Before she astonishes the world with this feature debut Raw (2016) which explores the cannibalistic nature of human, she has her short film Junior(2011) selected to Critics’ Week. As you can see, short films and medium length films are in the radar of Critics’ Week. The jury hopes to discover and encourage the filmmakers at their early stages.

Wong Kar-wai is also discovered by Critics’ Week. Now he has collected numerous awards at major international film festivals in Europe and has won the Award for Best Director at Cannes with Happy Together(1997). Yet his feature debut As Tears Go By (1988)  was premiered at Critics’ Week.

Chinese films can also be found in the “Critics’ Week.” Korean-ethnic director Zhang Lu’s second film, Grain in Ear(2005), was selected and won the ACID Award. Zou Peng drew inspiration from female workers in his own garment factory and created the black humor movie Sauna On Moon(2011), which was selected in 201. Hu Wei’s second short film, La Lampe Au Beurre de Yak(2013), tells the story of a Tibetan photographer taking photos of the people and blurs the boundaries between fiction and realism. It is also nominated by the 87th Oscar.

The growing paths of these directors validate that the goal of “Critics’ Week” on the official website, “to support today’s revelations in order to have them become tomorrow’s talents.” Beginning with the short films, medium-length films, and feature debuts, it allows the new directors to meet the international audience. In addition to giving out awards, Critics’ Week also offers a “Next Step” workshop for 10 short film winners, and the one-week training will take them one step closer to their dream of a feature film project.


Directors’ Fortnight:

The birth of another parallel section, “Directors’ Fortnight,” is legendary. It came to the stage as a rebellion and updated the frame of Cannes.

In 1969, the French Directors’ Association(Société des Réalisateurs de Films, SRF) was influenced by the liberating spirit of “Mai 68.” They tried to break the increasingly rigid standards of the film festival, decided to look for the most radical directors and experimental works, and created the Director’s Fortnight during the Cannes Film Festival.

The first edition of “Directors’ Fortnight” entered the history at this critical moment. Despite the limited time for preparation, they managed to gather a handful of masters. There was the Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, who later filmed The Last Emperor(1987), and the French director Robert Bresson, who turned out to be the director of the Diary of a Country Priest(1951), and the American independent director and producer Jonathan Demme. The first edition has set the vision of Directors’ Fortnight, and there are more film legends to come from this section.

As a parallel section, Directors’ Fortnight provides a platform for films that are overlooked or rejected by the Main Competition. For example, the prestigious film festivals are not willing to showcase sci-fi, horror, and other genre movies. But Directors’ Fortnight gives them the opportunity to meet a wide audience. In the 1970s alone, Directors’ Fortnight has explored Even Dwarfs Started Small(1970), the thriller of a German director Werner Herzog, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism(1971), a satiric fantasy by a Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev, as well as Mean Streets(1973) by the American cinephile director Martin Scorsese, and George Lucas’s sci-fi film THX 1138(1971).

Directors’ Fortnight also actively fights against the censorship. While the Main Competition forbids any explicit sexual content, Directors’ Fortnight chose Nagisa Oshima’s controversial film In the Realm of the Senses(1976) as its opening film, manifesting its bold spirit.

The “Directors’ Fortnight” not only expanded the film scope for Cannes but also contributes to its institutional reform. Film critic magasa has written “An In-depth Analysis of Why the Cannes Film Festival is the Best.” In this article, he explains that originally, films are recommended by each country’s official film institutes or industry guild to Cannes Film Festival, which turns the festival into an arena for “proper” country representation. On the one hand, the ideologies of countries have a negative influence on the variety. On the other hand, the presence of an established director, as an icon for the national films, blocks the way for young directors to be seen.

Directors’ Fortnight chooses the selection system rather than a recommendation system. The artistic director takes control of the selection. At that time, the “author theory” uplifts the directors’ position in the film industry and makes them the center of production. Besides, the increasing number of international co-production films makes it hard to pin down the nationality of a film. Therefore, the new selection system can better discover the upcoming directors and has greater flexibility.

Inspired by the Directors’ Fortnight, the Cannes Film Festival abolished the film recommendation system in 1972. Since then, the film festival no longer emphasizes the competition between national soft power, but rather the appreciation of outstanding directors, which directly leads to the rise of Latin American films in the 1970s, and the rice of Taiwan, China, South Korea, and Iranian films in the 1980s and 1990s.

There are also excellent Chinese directors in Directors’ Fortnight. In 2001, Wang Chao was selected for his independent film The Orphan of Anyang(2001). In 2002, Wu Shixian’s short film Bus 44(2001) became the first Chinese language short film in Directors’ Fortnight. In 2015, Zhao Ting was nominated for Camera d’Or at Directors’ Fortnight for her feature debut Songs My Brothers Taught Me(2015). Her second feature film The Rider(2017) has won the biggest award at Directors’ Fortnight, Art Cinema Award.



This article is a featured content of Netease·“Different Attitudes”


Originally Published here (In Chinese) :

DeepFocus: 4293 views

Reposted on Sohu: 7447 views


文 | 应婕晓
编 | 咩
前些日子,一则戛纳国际电影节将在2018年增设“戛纳中国电影荣誉奖”(Film Chinois D’Honneur De Cannes)的新闻在朋友圈里流传,且还称这个荣誉奖与“导演双周”和“影评人周”同属戛纳影响力极大的“平行单元”。

明眼人定会感到几分蹊跷,全世界最重要的文化和艺术盛会戛纳电影节,怎么会引入一个只面向中国的“平行单元”奖项呢。果然,记者陈凭轩在“戛纳‘中国电影荣誉大奖’小调查”中发现了活动主办方的诸多可疑之处。新闻中声称的主办公司Charlene C注册资本极低且没有雇员。中国合作方主要是一个专注“易形自然功”的民间组织,名曰中国剧作家协会。“荣誉大奖”的评委会构成最为奇异,主席Fabrice CECCHERINI只举办过观众寥寥的芒通科幻电影节,评委会唯一的艺术家Thomas GRASCOEUR只参演了三部差评电影长片。





“平行单元”有一个成长的历程,其中最早的成员是1962年引入的“影评人周”(La Semaine de la Critique)。“影评人周”由法国影评人协会(French Union of Film Critics)创办,旨在挖掘首部或者第二部优秀电影长片作品,以发现电影新星为使命。

每年“影评人周”选出戛纳电影节期间展映的10部短片和10部长片。评审团由法国影评人协会的成员和国际影评人组成。今年的评审团主席是丹麦导演约阿希姆·提尔(Joachim Trier),他是《纽约时报》2013年度最值得关注的20佳导演,他执导的于佩尔参演的《猛于炮火》入围2015年戛纳电影节主竞赛单元,去年热映的《西尔玛》是挪威的申奥片。

评审团负责颁布 3个奖项:最佳影片大奖( the Nespresso Grand Prize),最佳发现短片奖(the Leica Cine Discovery Prize),以及最具潜力演员奖(Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award)。此外还有合作伙伴提供的种种奖项。作为戛纳电影节的平行单元,“影评人周”选出处女作电影将与所有官方单元、导演双周入围的处女作电影,共同角逐为奖励首部长片处女作所设立的金摄影奖(Camera d’Or)。
“影评人周”是导演新秀的预热基地,为他们日后摘得各种奖项铺垫了道路。墨西哥导演伊纳里图(Alejandro González Iñárritu)的处女作《爱情像母狗》获得“影评人周”评审团大奖,隔年入围奥斯卡金像奖最佳外语片,日后他还制作出了更为国人熟知的奥斯卡获奖影片《鸟人》和《荒野猎人》。





从这些导演的成长轨迹来看,“影评人周”在官网上列出的目标“助力今日发现,成就未来之星”,并非一句空言。评委会从短片、中长片、处女作开始,让新锐导演进入观众视野。除了颁发奖项,“影评人周”还提供“下一步”(Next Step)工作坊,面向10位短片获奖者,展开为期一周的培训,让他们离自己的长片梦想更近一步。



作为“平行单元”,“导演双周”为那些常常被主竞赛单元轻视或排斥的佳作提供了展映空间。 例如上档次的电影节不愿放映的科幻、恐怖等类型电影,“导演双周”给予它们表达自身的机会。仅在70年代,“导演双周”就发掘了德国导演维尔纳·赫尔佐格的惊悚片《侏儒流氓》,南斯拉夫导演杜尚·马卡维耶夫的奇幻讽刺片《WR:有机体的秘密》,美国迷影导演马丁·斯科塞斯的犯罪片《穷街陋巷》,还有乔治·卢卡斯的科幻片《五百年后THX 1138》。




“导演双周”的国际视野中也有优秀华人导演的身影。2001年,大陆导演王超凭中国大陆独立电影《安阳婴儿》入围“导演双周”,2002年台湾导演伍仕贤的短片《车四十四》成为入围“导演双周”的首部华语短片。2015年,华人导演赵婷凭借处女作《哥哥教我唱的歌》入围“导演双周”并提名“金摄影机奖”,第二部长片作品《骑士》在去年获得”导演双周“最高奖“艺术电影奖”(Art Cinema Award)。




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