Wang’s Film Wins Top San Sebastian Award

October 1, 2007 at 5:49 pm Leave a comment

Wayne Wang’s “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers” won the award for best film and its star, Henry O, took honors for best actor Saturday at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. The 58-year-old Wang, who may be best known for his 1990s films “The Joy Luck Club” and the critically acclaimed “Smoke,” based the screenplay for “Thousand Years” on Chinese writer’s Yiyun Li’s short stories about the lives of Chinese in China and in the United States.

The award for best director went to British filmmaker Nick Broomfield for “The Battle for Haditha” about the investigation into the 2005 killings of 24 civilians in the Iraqi city of Haditha by Marines the biggest criminal case against U.S. forces in Iraq.

John Sayles, a two-time Academy Award nominee for best writing, shared the award for best screenplay with Spain’s Gracia Querejeta.

Sayles, whose film “Honeydripper” is about a juke joint in 1950s Alabama, said he was delighted with the win, “especially as some of the members of the jury spoke languages different to English.”

Querejeta’s film, “Siete Mesas (de Billar Frances),” also captured the prize for best actress Blanca Portillo, who portrayed the widow of a pool hall owner.

Another war inspired film, “Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame,” by 18-year-old Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf, won the festival’s special prize, awarded by a jury presided over by novelist-director Paul Auster.

Makhmalbaf’s film focuses on a 6-year-old girl’s daily struggle to go to school and learn the alphabet in Bamiyan, the Afghan village where hardline Taliban militants demolished centuries-old Buddha statues in 2001.

Sixteen films vied for awards at the 10-day festival, which opened with David Cronenberg’s “Eastern Promises” and also showed the Demi Moore film “Flawless.”

Richard Gere and Swedish actress Liv Ullmann were honored with lifetime achievement awards.




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