BERLIN – China’s Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei won the best actor and best actress Silver Bears, respectively, on Saturday at the Berlin Film Festival.
Wang and Yong were honored for their portrayal of an aging married couple in “So Long, My Son,” a film by acclaimed Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai that made its international debut at the festival, which began on Feb. 7 and runs through Sunday.
In the picture, Liu Yaojun (Wang Jingchun) and Wang Liyun (Yong Mei) struggle to cope with the tragic death of their young son, who drowned while playing by a reservoir, according to the Berlinale’s Web site.
They find only loneliness and marginalization when they move to a big city, a situation made worse when their adopted son rejects them and decides to leave home.
The couple therefore opt to return to the place where their once-happy family life was shattered.
“In this family saga spanning three decades of Chinese history, the private and the political merge and the individual gets caught up in the gears of a society in the throes of constant change,” the synopsis reads.
The film is the latest critical success for Wang Xiaoshuai, who has won several other awards at prestigious film festivals.
Wang’s 2001 film, “Beijing Bicycle,” a movie about a youth’s search for a stolen bike, won the Berlinale’s Silver Bear Jury Grand Prix.
His 2005 film, “Shanghai Dreams,” which features China’s Third Front Movement as backdrop, was awarded the Cannes Film Festival’s Jury Prize, while his 2008 film “In Love We Trust” won the Berlinale’s Silver Bear for Best Screenplay.
Also Saturday, the Berlin Film Festival’s top award, the Golden Bear for Best Film, was conferred on the French-Israeli drama film “Synonymes” (Synonyms), directed by Nadav Lapid.
The Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize was awarded to “Grace a Dieu” (By the Grace of God), directed by François Ozon.
The prize for best director went to Germany’s Angela Schanelec for “Ich war zuhause, aber” (I Was at Home, But).
The Silver Bear for Best Screenplay went to Maurizio Braucci, Claudio Giovannesi and Roberto Saviano for “La paranza dei bambini” (Piranhas), a film directed by Claudio Giovannesi.
The Berlinale, founded in 1951, is considered one of the world’s three biggest film festivals along with Cannes and the Venice Film Festival.