Focus on divided China at 60th Berlin film festival

Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:28am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - The 60th Berlin film festival opened on Thursday with the moving story of an elderly Chinese couple reunited decades after civil war forced them apart.

The premiere of "Apart Together" kicks off 10 days of screenings, publicity and star-studded glamour at the cinema showcase, which hopes for a strong showing in a big anniversary year after the lukewarm critical reception of recent editions.

Director Wang Quan'an's Apart Together comes three years after he won the best picture Golden Bear for "Tuya's Marriage," and he said political divisions between China and Taiwan were no wider than those of time and distance.

He also told reporters after a press screening and before the red carpet world premiere that his aim was to paint the broader picture through ordinary people's lives.

"When I shoot a film I'm not particularly influenced by external circumstances," he said, speaking through an interpreter.

"What is important to me is the life of the common people and their emotions. It's a tragedy our country is divided. Of course it's a tragedy for any country that is divided.

"We know about this from history. What's interesting about this film is that it focuses on some of the details of this -- it puts the spotlight on that and that is very important."

In the movie, aging former National People's Party soldier Lui Yansheng is finally able to travel to mainland China from Taiwan, where he was forced to flee in 1949 following civil war against the Communists.   Continued...