Film fest highlights lives reflected in documentaries

Updated 2017-04-27 09:31:30 China Daily
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Documentary filmmaker Jin Xingzheng's Mama, featuring a woman (right) in her 80s who has long taken care of her mentally ill son (left), wins a top award at the first West Lake International Documentary Festival in Hangzhou.

Documentary filmmaker Jin Xingzheng's Mama, featuring a woman (right) in her 80s who has long taken care of her mentally ill son (left), wins a top award at the first West Lake International Documentary Festival in Hangzhou.

During a trek to the mountains of Hubei province, in 2015, documentary filmmaker Jin Xingzheng heard the story of a woman in her 80s who has long taken care of her mentally ill son.

The woman, Luo Changjie, has been injured several times due to her son's involuntary behavior but has never complained. Her selfless love touched Jin, and he made Mama.

The film has become the turning point in his career.

On Saturday, Mama won a top award at the first West Lake International Documentary Festival, which was held for three days in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province. The festival was jointly hosted by the Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television of the provincial government and the city's China Academy of Art.

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Poster of The Apology

Poster of The Apology

The festival selected the winners from a shortlist of 20 aspirants from eight countries and regions, including Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Lithuania and India.

The award winners include Crossing Road from Japan, The Apology (Canada), Burqa Boxers (India) and A Young Patriot (China).

Through the perspective of a survivor of the Akihabara massacre, allegedly a random mass murder in Tokyo in 2008, the Crossing Road tries to explore the killer's inner world.

Crossing Road's director Hayato Obiki says there's more freedom to shoot a documentary about the incident now than earlier, which is why he could retell it in a different way.

Following the personal journeys of three former "comfort women"-in China, South Korea and the Philippines-who were among the multitudes of women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese troops during World War II, Canadian director Tiffany Hsiung's documentary The Apology shows the victims' courage to face trauma and later seek justice.

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Indian director Alka Raghuram'sBurqa Boxerscenters on a group of young Muslim women striving for a better life by learning boxing.

Indian director Alka Raghuram'sBurqa Boxerscenters on a group of young Muslim women striving for a better life by learning boxing.

For most Chinese viewers, Indian director Alka Raghuram's Burqa Boxers led them to a lesser known world. Centering on a group of young Muslim women in a tiny club in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, the film displays their striving for a better life by learning boxing from Razia Shabnam, one of the first Indian female boxing coaches.

For Jin, the director of Mama, his film focuses on the universal topic of how to care for people with mental illnesses.

Another Chinese winner Du Haibin hopes his documentary A Young Patriot acts as a window to the many changes in China.

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