‘A Melody to Remember’ and ‘Bakuman.’ top Far East Film Festival awards

'A Melody to Remember', winner of the Golden Mulberry at the Far East Film Festival 2016. — AFP pic‘A Melody to Remember’, winner of the Golden Mulberry at the Far East Film Festival 2016. — AFP pic

FLORENCE, May 3 — A tale of an abandoned children’s choir, South Korea’s A Melody to Remember won top prize at the 18th Far East Film Festival, with manga adapatation Bakuman. emerging as critics’ choice, while Sori: Voice from the Heart and The Mohican Comes Home were also praised as audience favorites.

Nestled between the Carnic Alps on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other, tucked away in the north-eastern corner of Italy, lies the cosy city of Udine.

Home to a cornucopia of attractive 14th– and 15th-century buildings — the main square, the Piazza della Libertà, accomodates a Venetian-style town hall and two period clock towers — there’s a Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, a 16th-century castle with mountain views, and a glut of gastronomic delights served up within the historic regional capital.

It’s also home to one of Europe’s most significant events in Asian film, the annual Far East Film Festival.

This year’s edition welcomed legend of Hong Kong cinema Sammo Hung, who accompanied action thriller The Bodyguard, for a first public screening outside of Asia.

As the film’s main character and director, screen icon Hung, a contemporary of the festival’s 2015 guest Jackie Chan, was presented with the FEFF’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Four other top awards were delivered during a closing ceremony which ran into the early hours of Sunday .

One of ten international premieres, South Korean war drama A Melody to Remember (“오빠 생각”), won first place in the FEFF’s Audience Awards ballot.

Second prize went to another Korean film for another international premiere, Sori: Voice from the Heart (“로봇, 소리”), while Japan’s two-time Tokyo Film Festival winner, Shuichi Okita, was in third place for redemption tale The Mohican Comes Home.

Hitoshi Ohne’s live-action manga adaptation Bakuman., already a favorite at the Japanese Academy Awards in March, won the critics’ prize.

Held between April 22 to 30, the FEFF showed 73 films across its nine-day span, with 27 features, shorts and classics from China and Hong Kong — including romantic drama Mountain Cry, road movie Lost in Hong Kong, and crime thriller The Dead End — plus 21 from Japan, 15 from South Korea, and additional representation from Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. — AFP-Relaxnews