Chinese Filmmaker Jia Zhangke Awarded France’s Legion Of Honor

Jia Given Award In Paris For Contributions To World Cinema

Jia made his name with films like Platform and 24 City

Jia made his name with films like Platform and 24 City

France’s charm offensive in China continued this week, as “Sixth Generation” filmmaker Jia Zhangke was awarded the Legion of Honor (Légion d’honneur) — the highest honor awarded by the French government for outstanding contributions to France. Awarding the Legion of Honor to Jia is the latest in a rash of cultural and business exchanges undertaken by France in an effort to repair its image in China following last year’s anti-French protests.

Recently, French luxury organization Comite Colbert teamed up with Chinese Internet portal Sina to develop a site promoting French luxury brands in China, and earlier this month Chanel hosted its Metier d’Arts fashion show at the company’s new Shanghai boutique. Clearly, mending ties, if only on a cultural or business level, is high on the French agenda going into 2010.

As Xinhua writes on the award ceremony:

Jia, a Beijing Film Academy graduate, started directing movies in 1995. His early masterpiece “Pickpocket” (1997) was hailed by the leading French movie magazine “Cahiers du Cinema” as the one that showed the revival and vigor of Chinese films.

In the award ceremony, French Ambassador to China Herve Ladsous said Jia was an artist who promoted Chinese culture with his talent and hard work.

French directors, including Robert Bresson, Jean-Luc Godard and Leos Carax, are said to have deep influence on Jia’s filmmaking.

Jia’s documentary “Useless” was partly shot in France in 2006. He was the President of the Cinefondation & short films Jury of the 60th Cannes Film Festival.

During the ceremony, Qiao Chengwei, vice director of the Alliance francaise de Pekin, and Wang Lujiang, party secretary of the Beijing Language and Culture University, were also awarded the honor for their outstanding work in promoting French language study in China.

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