Mexican Drama Grabs Top Prize at Beijing Film Festival

Mexican director Bernardo Arellano’s drama about an elderly couple facing economic hardship has scooped the best film award at the fifth Beijing International Film Festival.

Comienzo del Tiempo’, or “The Beginning of Time”, tells the story of Antonio and Bertha who fall on hard times when social security pensions are stopped because of a national financial crisis.

Kung fu movie star Jackie Chan presented Arellano with the award at the closing ceremony of the festival on Thursday night in the Chinese capital.

France’s Jean-Jacques Annaud won the best director prize for “Wolf Totem”, about a Chinese student sent to live with the nomadic herdsmen of Inner Mongolia.

Artyom Tsypin won the best actor category for his role in “A White, White Night” while Yulia Peresild was named best actress for “The Battle For Sevastopol”.

The festival ran under a new chief adviser, former Venice and Rome film festival head Marco Mueller, who organizers hope will raise the week-long event’s profile.

French director Luc Besson led the festival’s prize-giving jury, which also included Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk, Hong Kong director Peter Chan and U.S. screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen.

China saw its box office revenues grow 34 percent last year to $4.8 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, cementing its position as the second biggest box office territory after the United States and Canada.

(Reporting By Reuters Television in Beijing and Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Puerto Vallarta News

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