Venice closing film looks at Chinese generation gap

Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:12pm EDT
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By Hanna Rantala

VENICE (Reuters) - Changes in Chinese society are portrayed in a clash of generations in director Guan Hu's non-competition film at the Venice Film Festival, in which an aged hooligan regroups his old gang to rescue a son who is being held hostage by rich young people.

Guan's "Lao Pao Er" (Mr Six) will close the festival on Saturday. It will be shown after the gala awards ceremony, where the Golden Lion top prize is given to the best film chosen from among 21 in the main competition by a jury headed by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron.

"I was born in a traditional Beijing hutong (narrow street) and the problem is that China has been developing at great speed in the last 30 years and seen a great development as it sought to catch up with the West," Guan told Reuters in an interview.

"It’s been too fast and a lot of problems have arisen from that.

He said that by showing the hooligan, played by fellow director Feng Xiaogang, in a showdown with a group of rich young people, he sought to draw attention to changes he says have affected the entire country, not just Beijing.

"I wanted to describe these different groups of people, the people at the bottom of the society, the middle classes and on the top, the officials, and how they interact and the society functions," he said. "So, what I’m aiming at is a realism."

Feng, one of China's best-known directors, said he'd enjoyed being in front of the cameras for a change.

"Being an actor was nice because it’s simple, you are there, you’re in the scene and you just have to think about one thing and about getting it right.   Continued...