Chinese ‘Palace’ takes Slovak crown

LJUBLJANA — Slovenia’s major film event, the Ljubljana Intl. Film Festival, awarded its sponsor’s prize to the Chinese film “East Palace, West Palace,” directed by Zhang Yuan. The director, who is under house arrest, was unable to pick up the prize in person, fest director Jelka Stergl said.

Stergl has guided the event since the first edition eight years ago, when a dozen films were screened. This year, 15,000 viewers saw 64 films.

The event, previously known as Film Art Fest, has been expanding yearly to fill two weeks of screenings in six salles. Wrapping Sunday, LIFF offered three special sections: A tribute to Mike Leigh; recent “overlooked” films; and a selection of new films from the former Yugoslav countries.

The fest opened with the premiere of Slovenian film “Stereotip,” a debut feature by Damjan Kozole. It was the first use of a local film to kick off the event, a nod to the rising popularity of national films with the home audiences. The top grosser of the past year was another young Slovene movie, “Outsider,” with 90,000 admissions.

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