Jigme Trinley gives an acceptance speech.

Who Won What at FIRST International Film Festival 2022

A Tibetan genre film stood out from an arthouse-heavy lineup, being the most anticipated Tibetan film this year

3 0
9:31 AM HKT, Thu August 11, 2022 1 mins read

Director Jigme Trinley’s Tibetan genre film One and Four won the top awards — Best Narrative Feature and Best Director — at the closing ceremony of the 16th FIRST International Film Festival on August 4. The ceremony was held in the Qinghai Grand Theater and attended by China’s aspiring filmmakers as well as celebrities such as Zhang Ziyi, the chair of the jury.

Thanks to its superlative sound design, mise-en-scene, and art direction, One and Four is the 25-year-old filmmaker’s debut work and earned him the palm at this early stage in his career.

The film was unique at FIRST for being the only genre film (in this case, a combination of western and thriller) out of low-budget arthouse films featured at the festival, the biggest indie film event in China.

One and Four film crew

Jinpa (far left), Jigme Trinley (third from left), Pema Tseden (second from right), and the rest of the film crew make hand gestures of ‘one and four’ on the red carpet. Photo via Runjie Wang/RADII

In addition, Jinpa, a Tibetan actor who frequently stars in Tibetan-language films, such as Jinpa (director Pema Tseden, 2018) and Balloon (director, Pema Tseden, 2019), won the honor of Best Performance for his role in the film.

As RADII observes, the festival champions films that highlight “outlandish subjects” or “realistic aesthetics and avant-garde narratives,” and many of this year’s films demonstrate this positioning.

Gaey Wa’r (the title is the romanization of ‘young male flaneur’ in the Chongqing dialect of Chinese), the winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Best Artistic Originality awards, centers around a young henchman of a debt-collector who idles on the streets of a small town and sometimes gets involved in violent fights.

Gaey Wa’r is packed with sequences of conflict between the henchman and his father and sexual fantasies of a divorced woman. It exudes an intense Oedipus complex and screams of hormonal angst.

Gaey War

Meanwhile, the title of Best Documentary was awarded to Long Live The Soul, which highlights several ordinary content creators from Yiwu city in East China’s Zhejiang province. The film showcases the performative nature of the city, as it’s packed up with content creators doing videos to peddle small commodities.

Long Live The Soul

Other films that live up to the competition’s positioning included Virgin Blue, an avant-garde and intimate film that revolves around family, memory, and daydreaming and is infused with paranormal events. Virgin Blue was previously shown at New York Asian Film Festival, along with One and Four.

Considering the sociocultural extraneousness and economic underdevelopment of Xining, the capital of China’s Qinghai province and the festival’s home, FIRST manifests itself as the most important indie film scene in China.

Additionally, one thing worth highlighting is that most new films screened at FIRST are not licensed by the state’s top media watchdog — a rare leeway given to the festival. But One and Four is one of the few films with licensing, so we expect it to hit Chinese theaters in the not-so-distant future.

All photos courtesy of the festival, unless noted otherwise

Join the Conversation
Write comment

We assure you, this page will eventually load