China (mainland), FESTIVALS / EVENTS, Taiwan — 07/24/2012 6:36 PM

A documentary about Chinese painter Liu Xiaodong wins top prize at Taipei festival

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The documentary “Hometown Boy”, about Chinese painter Liu Xiaodong, won the NT$1 million (US$33,369) grand prize at the Taipei Film Festival on Saturday.

The film also won in the categories of Best Director and Best Documentary, becoming the biggest winner of the night.

The film is directed and shot by Yao Hung-I — a protégé of the great Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien, who produced it.

The 72-minute film follows Liu, who had left his hometown at age 17 to study art in Beijing, as he returns to Jincheng in China’s Liaoning Province to paint his family and childhood friends. Liu is considered one of China’s most important painters. Liu’s work was previously the subject of Dong, a 2006 documentary by pre-eminent Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke.

Through the artist’s canvas, the film captures the influence of industrialization on a small Chinese town.

In his acceptance speech, Yao thanked Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien for assisting him throughout his film career.

Shih Nan-sheng, head of the nine-member panel of judges, said the decision to award the grand prize to “Hometown Boy” was unanimous.

“Yao’s agile camera produces a visually arresting portrait of Liu, who freely gives his ideas about art and life, while adding an idyllic charm to the village and its working-class residents who, in the painter’s view, have been long overlooked and forgotten” (Taipei Times).

“Every one of Liu’s paintings is a part of the whole, a frozen moment infused with his childhood memories and current existence. He confronts the objects in his painting from an honest, independent, and daring point of view. In these moments, he comes out of himself and his personality and expression penetrate the surface of the painting. Hometown Boy hopes to record this process” (Hou Hsiao-Hsien). 

The film, a co-production by Taiwan and China, also won in the Best Documentary category at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards last year.

Forty Taiwanese feature films, documentaries, short films and animated films competed for the grand prize.

Sources: China Post (23/07/2012)

ON THE WEB:

. “Hometown Boy Liu Xiaodong paints the changes in Jincheng” Want China Times (29/11/2011)

. “Hometown Boy chronicles Chinese painter’s rediscovery of his hometown” Vancouver Observer (30/03/2012)

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