‘A New Old Play’ and ‘Mediterranean Fever’ Claim Firebird Awards at Hong Kong Film Festival

The delayed 46th edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival wrapped Wednesday with the award of 13 prizes for its young filmmaker, documentary and shorts competitions.

Hailed by the jury as “one of this year’s most distinguished films both creatively and artistically,” Qiu Jiongjiong’s “A New Old Play” was named best film for the Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language). “A New Old Play” is a tale of a family of Sichuan Opera artists living through a tumultuous era. It also collected the FIPRESCI Prize, with the jury commending the film for “its masterful approach and inventive visual style.” 

In the global category, Palestinian director Maha Haj’s “Mediterranean Fever” was chosen as the Firebird Award winner for being “an all-rounded gem that is at once a thriller, social comedy, and odd couple bromance.” 

In the Chinese-language category, Hong Kong’s Mak Pui-tung won the best actor award for “The Sparring Partner.” The best actress award went to Ailiya for her inspiring performance in “Journey to the West.” The jury, of Peter Chan, Anthony Chen and Nai An, chose not to award a best director prize.

French-Belgian co-production “Love According to Dalva,” picked up two awards – best director for Emmanuelle Nicot, and best actress for Zelda Samson. The best actor award went to Moritz Treuenfels as a pathological liar in “Axiom.”

For the Documentary Competition, the jury unanimously gave the Firebird Award to Indian filmmaker Shaunak Sen’s “All That Breathes.” Vietnamese director Ha Le Diem received the Jury Prize for her well-crafted dramaturgy in “Children of the Mist.”

The festival will complete proceedings on Wednesday evening with the Asian premiere screening of the Dardennes’ brothers “Tori and Lokita.” The city has been badly shaken by stringent COVID controls that kept borders effectively sealed for many months and kept residents from socializing normally. Despite a current peak in infections, that represent a ‘sixth wave,’ festival organizers expect that the 47th edition will return to its normal Spring slot next year and be held March 30-April 10, 2023.

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