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Vesoul, a passion for Asia marked by faithfulness and revival

The 12th edition of Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema (Haute-Saône, Franche-Comté region) will be held from 31st January till 7th February 2006.
This is the oldest film festival in Europe entirely dedicated to Asian cinema,
from the Near East to the Far East.
72 films will be screened, out of which 37 are unreleased and about 20 are French, European or world premières.

Faithful to India : International Jury’s Chairman will be famous Indian director Buddhadeb Dasgupta (Uttara, A Tale of a Naughty Girl, Charachar,...) considered by film critics as the true heir of Satyajit Ray.

Faithful to Korea : 2006 is the year celebrating the 120th anniversary of the diplomatic relationships between France and Korea.This event will be celebrated through cinema in Vesoul where the Opening ceremony will introduce April Snow by Hur Jin-ho, a French première. This poignant drama was a big hit at the box office in Korea when released. The film will be introduced by International Jury member Jeon Soo-il, the promising French-speaking Korean director (Time Between Dog and Wolf, My Right to Ravage Myself, The Bird who Stops in the Air,...).

Faithful to the Chinese world : a Tribute of 13 films (from Fengkuei Boys to Three Times) will be given to Hou Hsiao-hsien who will attend the Festival. A Gold Cyclo Award will be presented to the great master of Taiwanese cinema for his contribution to cinema.

Faithful to Central Asia : a Focus on Uzbek cinema will be held with 10 rare films (from the sixties to recent times). Up to now, most of the retrospectives of Uzbek cinema held in the west had mainly introduced the Soviet period films. We wanted to give the French audience a chance to discover films from the post independence period. We therefore selected 6 films showing various trends of Uzbek cinema during the Soviet period between 1960 and 1990, and 4 very recent films reflecting today’s realities in Uzbekistan.
French premiere films such as Comrade Boykenzhaev (2002) and The Shepherd (2005) by Yousoup Razykov, Boys in the Sky (2002) by Zoulfikar Moussakov, and world première The Well (2003) by Touraniyaz Kalimenbetov will be screened.
As we thought it was very important to allow the French audience to discover Uzbek cinema, this will be the first retrospective of Uzbek films in France, after Nantes Festival of the 3 Continents’ programme in 1998.

Faithful to Iran : Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, a leading woman director in Iranian cinema will be twice represented in this 12th edition with her last feature film Gilaneh in competition (a French première), and her documentary film Under the Skin of the City part of the thematic section dedicated to women directors. She will attend the festival along with producer Jahangir Kosari and Fatemeh Motamed Arya, considered as one of the greatest Iranian actress by the critics.
Iranian well known director Abolfazl Jalili (whose film Abjad won Vesoul International Jury’s Grand price in 200) will faithfully come back to introduce his latest film Full or Empty, in competition.

A revival of cinema by women directors: such is the statement sustaining the thematic section with 22 films directed by women. Films by renown directors such as Hong Kong film-maker Ann Hui (The Song of Exile ), Indian director Aparna Sen whose film Mr and Mrs Iyer, a French première, will be screened for the Closing ceremony, Iranian film-maker Samira Makhmalbaf (At Five in the Afternoon) and Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu whose film Waiting for the Clouds will be a première (applauded by the critics considering her film as powerful as a film by Yilmaz Günez ). There will also be films by promising women directors such as Chinese Ning Ying (A taxi for Beijing), Iranian Niki Karimi (One Night ), Japanese Naomi Kawase, awarded the Gold Camera at Cannes Festival for her film Suzaku, Kazakh Guka Omarova (Shizo), Lebanese Danielle Arbid (In the Battle Fields), Mongolian Byambasuren Davaa (The Yellow Dog of Mongolia) or Pakistani Sabiha Sumar who was awarded the Gold Leopard at Locarno Festival for Kamosh Pani.

Revival : 17 unreleased films in competition: 9 feature films and 8 documentary films.
Apart of the films in competition already mentioned, we will also have A Father in Beijing by An Zhanjun (French première) and Grain in Ear by Zhang Lu, both from China, Nisshabd by Jahar Kanungo from India (French première), Joni's promise by Joko Anwar from Indonesia (European première), The Express of the Steppe by Amanzhol Aitouarov from Kazakhstan (world première), The Shepherd by Yousoup Razykov from Uzbekistan(French première) and Yolda by Erden Kiral, one of the masters of Turkish cinema and great friend of Yilmaz Günez.

Documentary films are gaining importance. It is a symbol of the revival of cinema.
Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema had understood this when the documentary section was initiated seven years ago.
This year, it will once more offer an encounter between directors from the west :
Alexandre Dereims,Khmer Rouge, a Case not to Forget (world première) ; Joseph Spaid, Kiran over Mongolia (French première ) and directors from the Near East and the Far East : Layth Abdulamir from Iraq, The Song of the Missing Ones (world première) ; Lê Thuân Anh from Vietnam, To Live in a City.
A special focus on documentaries directed by women will introduce among others, world famous Ditsi Carolino from Philippines with her film Bunso the Youngest (French première), Khadija al-Salami, the very first women film-maker in Yemen with her film A Stranger Within Her City (French première), Milka Assaf from Lebanon, a faithful friend of the Festival with her film Sri Lanka, Survivors of Tsunami. We will also have The Camp of the Forgotten Ones directed by Marie-Christine Courtés from France and My Linh Nguyen from Vietnam, a competition film probing into the painful history of the war of Indochina.
To better underline the revival of documentary films, a public round table will take place on the discussion : Documentary films, origins and revival of cinema, where guests, delegates and the audience will share their points of view guided by mediator Mrs Shahla Nahid, journalist for RFI. On Wednesday 1st February 2006 from 10 AM to 12 AM at the Bambouseraie, in front of the Majestic Theatre, Espaces des lumières.

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