Asian Film Festival - Italia

21° edition – Winners – Prize

Winners – Prizes

The 21st edition of the Asian Film Festival ended in Rome, at the Cinema Farnese ArtHouse. During its eight days of full immersion in theatres with the best works of new cinema from the Far East, it registered a total sell-out and numerous consents in the various categories in and out of competition. “This edition,” declares artistic director Antonio Termenini, “confirms the exponential interest of the public and the press towards a courageous cinema that, although coming from cultures far away from the West, is able to communicate strong emotions and universal arguments reflected in the fears, habits and contexts that human beings face. This year in particular, we are proud of the constructive dialogue established by our jurors, which has led to the selection of unique works, all deserving of wide distribution in our country. And this is the best wish we can extend to their authors, producers and performers! Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and China are the countries of origin of the winning films and performers. Among the 17 works in competition, the main arguments focused on women, their difficulties in integrating into everyday social, religious and professional contexts, as well as particular attention was paid to the reflections of the individual’s fears on family and generational relations. The jury, chaired by Antonio Polito and composed of Christian Carmosino Mereu and Angelica Alemanno, gave the following verdict:


INSIDE THE YELLOW COCOON SHELL (Pham Thien An, Vietnam, 2023)

“A daring film that focuses on the theme of spirituality as the relationship between faith and earthly experience. The sequence plan loses its purely narrative connotations to become a metaphysical expression of the present. The off-screen expresses in itself the delicate boundary between immanent and transcendent, accompanying the audience towards a necessary return to the documentary specificity of filmic language. An exceptional synthesis of depth and directorial control for a first feature.”


RIPPLES (Naoko Ogigami, Giappone, 2023)

“With her sensitivity Naoko Ogigami succeeded in orchestrating with RIPPLES a balanced, credible and effective narrative, Iyashi-kei eiga: “capable of emotional healing”. The film restores to the audience, through an obsessive compulsive character, the ghost of our fears. Big themes such as abandonment, resentment, illness, death are transformed with a merciless, surreal look and sharp irony. The desire for revenge gives way to a liberating dance in the rain, the apotheosis of a work of admirable direction.”


Sofia Jane (MARYAM Dir. Badrul Hisham Ismail, Malesia, 2023)

“Sofia Jane is MARYAM. An exhausting ordeal for a character who alternates between impatience and endurance, frustration and courage, defiance and self-determination. Sofia Jane has no other shore than the dialectical confrontation with the other than herself: smiling is impossible, relaxing is forbidden; an intense performance capable of expressing both the inevitability of the present and the challenge of the future.”


Frederick Ming Zhong Lee (FISH MEMORIES Dir. Hung-I Chen,  Taiwan, 2023)

“Frederick Ming Zhong Lee impresses with his versatility and ability to give the protagonist of FISH MEMORIES an unusual charm. Elegant and empathetic, he presents his interpretive key in the role of friend, lover, brother, enemy. A performance without emphasis yet capable of expressing the widest range of emotions on the edge of ambiguity between good and evil, activity and passivity, beauty and horror.”


Ex Aequo

MARYAM (Badrul Hisham Ismail, Malesia, 2023, 107’)

“MARIAM is an original and courageous portrait of the complex of rules dictated by sharia law, capable of conditioning women’s free choice. A day made up of inescapable stages that leads the spectators and the protagonist towards a forced awareness and an unexpected choice of self-determination, through original, intrepid dialogues, as violent as bladed weapons.”

WOMEN FROM ROTE ISLAND (Jeremias Nyangoen, Indonesia, 2023, 106’)

“Powerful and unexpected in its telling of a true story as violent as it is common to all latitudes, that of gender violence. It expresses itself through an original gaze capable of restoring the local dimension of betrayed trust, violated space, revealed horror. A manifesto for the Indonesian feminist movement.”



Award assigned by the Unint students Jury

The students of UnInt’s Master in Audiovisual Translation coordinated by Prof. Antonio Falduto, as members of the jury for the Newcomers section, dedicated to debut works, decided to award the film:

THE CORD OF LIFE (Qiao Sixue,  Cina, 2023, 96’)

We are students in the Master’s program in Audiovisual Translation and as part of the jury for the Newcomers section we decided to award the film The Cord of Life. Director Sixue Qiao through the use of music and photography succeeds in transmitting deep emotions to the audience. As the story proceeds, Alus ‘’pop’’ music makes way for ‘’folk’’ melodies. The cloudy sky, which looms over the city and over the characters’ tragic situation, opens in bright colors peaking with a suggestive image at the end of the story. The director lets us travel through the vast and fascinating moors of her homeland, Mongolia, telling us the story of a love that transcends memory, defeats time and feeds on the power of nature, which like an unstoppable stream flows in the umbilical cord between mother and child, that thread of life that no hand can ever really break and no disease forget. For the complexity of the subject matter, the delicacy in the narrative, the beauty contained in the simplicity of the story, never trivial, never obvious. For the care taken in the choice of melodies that captivate the viewer, who is already enraptured by the breathtaking landscapes and the truth sought in the performance of the actors, the same ones who take him by the hand toward a heart-warming, yet necessary, emotional break that warms the heart and floods the eyes.

The award ceremony was attended by the representative of the Embassy of Indonesia and the Ambassador of Vietnam to Italy Hai Hung Duong. The award winners brought their greetings and expressed their personal thanks to the festival via video. The prizes were designed by artist Fabio Truffa. Finally, prizes were raffled off to festival subscribers, kindly offered by the Thai Tourist Board. Appointment for next year.