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HomeEntertainmentItaly’s Far East Film Festival: Malaysian Drama ‘Abang Adik’ Sweeps Top Prizes

Italy’s Far East Film Festival: Malaysian Drama ‘Abang Adik’ Sweeps Top Prizes


Held annually in the picturesque northern Italian town of Udine, the pioneering Far East Film Festival (FEFF) continued to make history this year with its 25th anniversary. At the closing ceremony on Sunday, Malaysian drama Abang Adikwritten and directed by first feature filmmaker Jin Ong, earned a clean sheet of top awards, marking the first time a film from the Southeast Asian nation took top honors at the Specialty Festival.

Abang Adik won FEFF’s first-place Golden Mulberry audience award, as well as the Black Dragon critics’ award and the White Mulberry Award for Best First Feature. An accomplished figure in the Malaysian entertainment industry, Ong has spent many years working in the music business and film and TV production (he has produced well-received films such as Shuttle life, 2017; And Miss Andy, 2020; among others), but Abang Adik is his first film as a writer and director. The film highlights the world of some of Kuala Lumpur’s most underprivileged residents, following the lead of Abang and Adi, two undocumented adult orphans. While the older brother, a deaf and mute (played by Taiwanese actor and model Wu Kang-Ren), has come to terms with a life of poverty, his younger sibling (Malaysian actor Jack Tan) is burning with indignation at their plight. A brutal accident then upsets the fragile balance of their relationship.

After a fully digital pandemic edition in 2020, a hybrid edition in 2021 and an “almost-back-to-normal” festival in 2022, FEFF had a lot to celebrate in 2023. of guests from the film world to Udine to celebrate Asian cinema. According to the organisers, FEFF 2023 attracted 60,000 spectators with the largest line-up ever: 78 titles from 14 countries, with 9 world, 13 international, 14 European and 23 Italian premieres. And some 200 guests of honor attended the festival, including directors, actors, producers and other film talent.

Other FEFF winners this year included Korean director Chang Hang-jun’s sports drama bounce, which won the second place audience award. Third place went to Japan for Suzuki Masayuki’s heartwarming comedy Yado, a love letter to Japan’s traditional bathhouses. The jury for the Best First Feature Film Award also gave a special mention to Hong Kong drama Lost love by Ka Sing-fung. The award for the best screenplay went to Fu Tien-Yu from Taiwan for the Day off, a sweet drama about the life of a hairdresser, which she also directed. And the Purple Mulberry Award, selected by users of MYmovies, Italy’s leading movie fan platform, went to Janchivdorj Sengedorj’s Mongolian comedy. The sales girl.

One of the undeniable highlights of the 25th FEFF was the awarding of the ‘Lifetime Achievement Honor’ to legendary Japanese actress Baisho Chieko. Baisho accepted her honor at the FEFF ceremony in an elegant tulle dress and thanked the audience by breaking into an impromptu song.

In a career dating back to the 1960s, Baisho starred in dozens of Yoji Yamada’s beloved Tora-san movies and also served as the inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki’s lead character Howl’s moving castle, among many other cinematic milestones. Just last year, she received critical acclaim for her heartbreaking role in Chie Hayakawa’s dystopian social drama. subscription 75, who competed at Cannes in Un Certain Regard. That film actually got its first support from FEFF’s industry program, Focus Asia, where Hayakawa participated with her pitch for subscription 75 in 2019. As FEFF marks its 25th anniversary, the organizers have noted that the event’s positive role as a platform and incubator for the Asian and European film industry is being expanded – through the Focus Asia initiative, the All Genres Project Market and the Ties That Bind workshop program and other supporting events – as key priorities for the future of the festival.

“It goes without saying that we are happy to have been able to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the FEFF without the constraints and worries of the past three years,” the festival’s two directors, Sabrina Baracetti and Thomas Bertacche, said in a joint statement. . rack. “And on the wave of these very positive results, we feel it is essential to invite the institutions to reflect. We believe that given the long journey it has taken to get to where it is today, the festival deserves to continue to see its growth potential bear fruit: are government agencies ready to support FEFF with more money and to form into a real hub connecting the East and West? Will FEFF’s future remain that of a major international film festival, or can the network of more than twenty years of relationships be developed into something more comprehensive?”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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