Director Tsai Ming-liang's (蔡明亮) new work "Rizi (日子, Days)" won the Teddy Special Jury Prize at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 28. Taiwan's Representative to Germany Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) relayed Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun's congratulatory message to Tsai expressing joy and pride on behalf of the people of Taiwan upon receiving the good news.
Minister Cheng remarked she was also elated that since spring of this year, Taiwanese films have been increasingly recognized at world festivals, such as director Chang Tso-chi's (張作驥) "Synapses (那個我最親愛的陌生人)" being shortlisted by the International Film Festival Rotterdam's Big Screen Competition. Director John Hsu's (徐漢強) “"Detention (返校)" was also screened in the Voices segment of the Rotterdam film festival.
This win for "Rizi" in Germany marks 15 years since Tsai's last best film nomination at Berlinale, in which "The Wayward Cloud (天邊一朵雲)" received a Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution in 2005. On behalf of Taiwan's unlimited innovation and creative energy, the nation and its people look forward to the continued growth in both in quality and quantity of Taiwanese films in the future, Cheng added.
"Rizi" is the story of a middle-aged man named Kang, who aches from loneliness and bodily pains. Kang encounters Non, a younger man, and they share an intimate interlude before returning once more to the humdrum of their daily lives. It is a classic Tsai production about suffering and solace.
In addition to the film being well-received internationally, it will also be awarded a cash prize of NT$500,000 by the Ministry of Culture for outstanding performance on the international film circuit in accordance to the"Regulations Governing International Film Awards and the Provision of Guidance to the Motion Picture Industry and Industry Professionals (電影事業及電影從業人參加國際影展獎勵輔導執行要點)."
The Ministry pointed out that in recent years, Taiwanese film creations have flourished and recurrently won accolades at international film festivals, which demonstrate that Taiwan has the ability to develop diverse types of film works.
The Ministry will continue to enhance and encourage Taiwanese film production by providing subsidies and financing to further strengthen script creation, match-making with studios, and talent cultivation. Moreover, the newly launched Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA, 文化內容策進院) will continue to work closely with international partners to develop and market Taiwanese films and to bring more Taiwanese films to the international stage.
The Teddys are the official awards for films on LGBT topics at Berlinale. Previous award winners from Taiwan include "Spider Lilies (刺青)" by director Zero Chou (周美玲) and "Small Talk (日常對話)" by documentary maker Huang Hui-chen (黃惠偵).
Upon receiving the award on stage, Tsai dedicated the honor to the "most open, liberal, and tolerant" Taiwan — the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage and celebrate marriage equality.