The article was originally posted on Parallax Films with 541 views.
Written by Jiexiao Ying 2018.12.11
Translated by Pei Shang 2019.6.14
The Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM), held annually in Morocco, is one of the largest film events in North Africa. Since the deep-pocketed Festival is endorsed by the entire French film industry, a prominent group of participants and moguls of art films gathered in Morocco this December. The Cannes Artistic Director Thierry Frémaux was invited as a speaker in its important new talk series, with other well-known filmmakers Agnes Varda, Cristian Mungiu, Robert De Niro, and Guillermo del Toro. The luxurious jury team was led by famous arthouse film director James Gray. Marrakech in December was almost like Cannes in May, with numerous film stars and filmmakers.
This year, undoubtedly, the biggest change in the Marrakech Film Festival is the arrival of its new Artistic Director Christoph Terhechte. As the former head of the Berlinale Forum, he is highly praised for discovering avant-garde films and nurturing new generation filmmakers. Ending his nearly-twenty-year job at Berlinale in the mid of 2018, Terhechte joined the FIFM to revamp this brand, which aims to promote avant-garde directors.
22-year-old director Zhu Xin recently graduated from the Film and Television Department of the China Academy of Art. His debut feature Vanishing Days is the only Chinese film selected to Marrakech’s main competition for this year’s Gold Star Award. The film was made and produced by Midnight Blur and Midday Hill Films, Hangzhou Chengying Co., Ltd. and a Korean company—Lu Films participating in its production. Midnight Blur’s branch of international sales, PARALLAX Films, takes responsibility for film festival submissions and international sales. “Vanishing Days” has been premiered at the New Currents Program of the 23rd Busan International Film Festival in 2018.
Twitter movie influencer, the president of International Cinephile Society, Cédric Succivalli, tweeted that this 22-year-old director filmed “Proustian musings of a young Chinese girl.” He added that “A film full of arresting grace and tenderness with stunning cinematography and haunting Weerasethakulian sequences.” He praised this film as the best Chinese debut since Bi Gan’s Kaili Blues.
December 5th, 2018 was the premiere day of Vanishing Days at Marrakech Film Festival and was also the birthday of the jury member, famous British director Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, You Were Never Really Here). President James Gray shouted “Happy Birthday!” before the screening. The entire movie theater was full of joy. From the master class of famous filmmakers to the lively atmosphere of the scene, and the enthusiastic audience, all of these present the appreciation of the filmmakers at the Marrakech International Film Festival. As a witness, Zhu Xin felt the respect and welcome to filmmakers, as well as the careful care of all aspects at FIFM.
At the closing ceremony, Sudabeh Mortezai’s second feature Joy was awarded the Golden Star Award for best film and she accepted the prize from the famous Italian actress Monica Bellucci. Although Vanishing Days did not win an official award, it is a journey of adventures and emotions for Zhu Xin. At Marrakech, he met viewers who respected movies and loved Vanishing Days. The film students from the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels, after watching and discussing all the competition films in the Festival, gave their Best Film Award to Vanishing Days. They also gave the Best Sound Award to express their appreciation for the low melody and background sound in Vanishing Days.
The wonderful encounter between Zhu Xin and the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels started with Professor Hamid Fardjad. Professor Fardjad is a member of the jury. He was amazed at the highly personal cinematic expression of Vanishing Days. So he invited Zhu Xin to have a face-to-face conversation with his students at the School on the second day. Originally Zhu Xin thought that it was only a short meeting, but he unexpectedly talked about 3 hours to answer more than 20 students’ questions. FIFM’s Artistic Director Christoph’s son Anton, who used to study Chinese at Peking University, was the translator for this event. With his kind help, Zhu Xin could talk about film structure and content with French-speaking students.
For Zhu Xin, the Marrakech International Film Festival enabled him to meet the audiences who really liked Vanishing Days. After the screening, more than half of the 1400 audiences did not leave but stayed for the Q&A session. They kept asking questions and were eager to express their views on the film. An uncle held Xin’s hand tightly, and said that it was a “poetic movie.” Another professor, an old lady, said that “through this film, you can see the beauty of movie from the cracks of stone.” Zhu Xin truly felt the heart of the fans, and stated, “It was like strangers who were not familiar with each other, but they have experienced a long story with you, and still remembered every detail in the story, so we got close at once.”
When the event came to an end, Zhu Xin experienced the most touching scene at the closing ceremony. Among the group of jury members, professor Fardjad sat alone and felt empty. When seeing Zhu Xin, professor Fardjad asked him to come over and hugged him tightly, saying “Don’t change, regardless of what others think of you.” Professor Fardjad claimed that Vanishing Days was the best film this year in his mind, and his students also thought so. “It’s unimportant whether it’s awarded or not.” Like hugging his own grandpa, Zhu Xin felt deep warmth, but he didn’t know when he could see professor once again after this meeting.
Au revoir, Marrakech, thanks to the Marrakech International Film Festival for bringing people together. Zhu Xin said: “I didn’t think that in Marrakech, this faraway and strange city, we can become so intimate and affectionate through a movie.”
Winners of the 17th Marrakech International Film Festival
Golden Star Award
The Jury Prize
Best Director Award
Directing “The Load”
Best Actor Award
Starring Nejib Belkadhi’s “Look At Me”
Best Actress Award
Starring Eva Trobisch’s “All Good”
Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels
Golden Star Award
Best Actress Award
Mary Kay Place
Best Actor Award
Best Achievement Award
Best Scenic Design Award
“Look At Me”
Best Sound Award
Music Tao Zhen, Sound Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr (Rit)
Best Photography Award
Best Editing Award
About Parallax Films
Based in China, PARALLAX Films is an international film distribution company, a subsidiary of Midnight Blur Films, specializing in the worldwide promotion and distribution of high-quality Chinese and Asian films in film festivals and the film market. Its services include: the strategic planning of international film festivals submissions, publicity at film festivals, distributions at local theaters and streaming media platforms. PARALLAX Films has agents in Paris, Tokyo, New York, Beijing, and Shanghai, working closely with filmmakers, and providing them with international market exposure and festival opportunities.
Business contact: email@example.com
推特电影节达人，国际迷影协会（International Cinephile Society）主席Cédric Succivalli发布推文，惊叹这位22岁的导演拍出了“一个中国女孩的普鲁斯特式沉思。令人着迷的优雅和温柔弥散了整部影片，还有出色的摄影，阿彼察邦式的悬疑。”他称赞这部影片是继毕赣《路边野餐》之后，最好的华语处女作。
在闭幕式上，意大利著名演员莫妮卡·贝鲁奇将最佳影片“金星奖”颁给了苏达贝∙摩特扎伊（Sudabeh Mortezai）的第二部长片《欢乐》（Joy）。虽然《漫游》未获得官方奖项，但对祝新来说，这是一趟充满奇遇和感动的旅程。在这里，他遇到了尊重电影，喜爱《漫游》的观众。而来自马拉喀什高等视觉艺术学院（Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels）的专业学生，在看完电影节的全部竞赛影片后，经过充分讨论，把心目中的“最佳影片”颁给了《漫游》，还新增了“最佳音效奖”，表达对《漫游》影片中低沉旋律和背景音效的赞赏。
Au revoir, 马拉喀什，感谢马拉喀什国际电影节带来人们的相遇。祝新说：“我没有想到在马拉喀什这么遥远、陌生的地方，我们可以通过一部电影，变得这么亲密，这么深情。”
出演Nejib Belkadhi导演的《看着我》（ Look At Me）
出演Eva Trobisch导演的《一切都好》（All Good）
马拉喀什高等视觉艺术学院（Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels）
玛丽·凯·普莱斯（Mary Kay Place）
《看着我》（Look At Me）