‘Palace’ wins Barcelona prize

Pic centers on Tiananmen protest

BARCELONA — “Summer Palace,” helmed by banned Chinese helmer Lou Ye (“Suzhou River,” “Purple Butterfly”), nabbed the Golden Durian at the 9th Barcelona Asian Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

Toplined by Hao Lei and Guo Xiaodong, “Palace” interweaves an erotic — and sexually explicit — love story with the events at Tiananmen Square in the summer of 1989, climaxing with the historic massacre.

The French-Chinese co-production world preemed at Cannes last year prompting China’s Film Bureau to ban Lou from making and distributing his films in China for five years.

Chinese authorities alleged that the film did not have sufficient image and sound quality, Lou told the press. Its explosive cocktail of sex and politics was probably not to the authorities’ liking either.

BAFF special mentions went to Pu Jian’s “The Exam” and Hitoshi Yakazi’s “Strawberry Shortcakes.”

Audience gong went to “Getting Home.” Helmed by China’s Zhang Yang (“Sunflower”), the contempo occasional comedic vignette of rural China, also took the Golden Alexander at the Thessaloniki Film Festival.

Taking place in Barcelona, BAFF showcased north of 60 Asian pics.

Admissions came in at 22,000. The 2008 edition have a special focus on Hong Kong cinema.

Fest ran April 27 – May 6.

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