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Chinese film 12 Citizens competes for main award in Rome

2014-10-22 10:07:36



Chinese film 12 Citizens in Rome

Actors, directors and movie fans are in Rome for the 9th Rome Film Festival. Chinese director Xu Ang is there for the world premiere of his latest movie, 12 Citizens. It is the only Chinese film to be nominated for a top award at the festival.

12 Citizens was inspired by the 1957 Hollywood classic Twelve Angry Men. A young man adopted by a rich family murders his real father. Then, in a virtual court case, a jury of 12 ordinary people discuss his guilt. Renowned theater director Xu Ang says the 12 characters were inspired by real acquaintances.

"The diversity of these characters represents my personal understanding of China, or to be more specific, the city of Beijing," Xu said. "These 12 people are based on people I have met. So the discrimination, conflict and argument in the film are probably real things I have experienced."

One of the jury is played by veteran actor He Bing. He says 12 Citizens is an attempt to bring an art-house style to mainstream Chinese cinema and that the film holds some lessons for us all.

"I believe everyone wants to communicate with others in a peaceful and friendly way, without getting into quarrels or fights," He said. "But in China, like everywhere else, if you go on an Internet forum, for example, people usually begin cursing each other after just a few words. This is really uncivil. This movie sends a message that we should talk nicely and not get angry."

Most of the film's actors are more experienced on stage than on screen. They include multi-award winning actor Han Tongsheng. The movie opens in Chinese theaters toward the end of the year.

The Rome Film Festival was founded in 2006. Its Best Film Award has yet to be won by a Chinese movie.

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