Closing Dynasty by Lloyd Lee Choi, Xiaohui and His Cows by Xinying Lao, and The Quiet Migration by Malene Choi were awarded at the Berlin International Film Festival which took place from February 16 – 26, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.
Note: The list includes films made by Asian filmmakers.
Children‘s Jury Generation Kplus
Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film
To an adult onlooker she might seem lost among the towering New York skyscrapers, but seven-year-old Queenie has a clear goal: to get money. Hustling for donations, collecting bottles, impressing passers-by with her crafty salesmanship – she’ll do whatever it takes. Come evening, her mother asks if she worked hard at school. Through Queenie’s eyes, the world and her neighbourhood reveal a distinct truth, at odds with her parents’ well-meaning silence. (Berlinale 2023)
Jury’s Comment: An impressive film, both in terms of the settings and the emotions, with a great actress. We were compelled to think about poverty and wealth.
Generation Kplus International Jury
Except for mountain landscapes, magical rocks and a few other kids, the village where Xiaohui lives with his grandfather and two cows has nothing to offer. The nine-year-old sorely misses his parents who work in the city. When grandpa has to sell a calf, the clever grandson tries everything to prevent the separation of mother and child. A soulful cry for love in times of capitalism. (Berlinale 2023)
Jury’s Comment: Breath-taking cinematography, deeply charming characters and deft storytelling all come together in this poignant short. This is a story of love and chosen family. It’s also a story about survival, and honours the emotional hardships of its characters, both boy and cow.
FIPRESCI Jury Awards
Time passes by slowly on the family farm. Here, every task is predictable and every part of the day is determined by the needs of the animals and the course of nature. There is beauty and peace in this life, but when unspoken longings fill the silence, the stillness can become oppressive. For Carl, who has returned to the Danish countryside after finishing boarding school, this pressure builds slowly but surely. As an adopted child with South Korean roots, living in a predominantly white society constantly reminds him of how different he feels. His future here holds nothing new for him either. Although Carl is still searching for his place in life, his parents have no doubt that he will one day take over the farm.
In her autobiographically inspired feature-length film, Malene Choi gently blurs the line between the discernible outside world and the inner emotional world of the protagonist. The deeper we dive into Carl’s life, the more inexplicable events and apparitions begin to interfere with his otherwise completely realistically depicted daily routine. Visually powerful but at the same time intimate, Stille Liv explores notions of otherness and belonging. (Berlinale 2023)
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