VENICE, Italy, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's Taiwan-based director Tsai Ming-liang won the new Grand Jury Prize for his film "Jiaoyou" (Stray Dogs) at the 70th Venice International Film Festival on Saturday.
When awarded the prize, given to a film that was particularly appreciated by the members of the international jury, the 55-year-old director earned warm applause from the audience of the festival's closing ceremony.
"I thank all the jury members and the public in Venice for slowing down their pace to watch my movie," he said referring to some slow framings, defined by many as almost paintings, that last for several minutes.
"Jiaoyou," which premiered on Thursday, tells the story of a disgraced man, Hsiao Kang (played by Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng,) who holds signboards for a living in Taipei's streets that are ever flowing with vehicles and pedestrians.
The only people in Hsiao Kang's life are his two children, and the single-parent family moves from one abandoned building to another until it is unexpectedly joined by a woman who might be the key to unlock the buried feelings that linger from the past.
In a press conference earlier this week, Tsai said that "Jiaoyou" might be his last movie, though he does not know what are "the destiny's plans" for him.
He said the movie took him three years to make, from scripting to editing, and he was constantly cutting away plots, structure, narrative and characters, while all that remained was Kang's face.
In one of the shots, he gave Kang a head of cabbage and asked to eat it in front of the camera, without giving him any instructions. "I watched him consume that head of cabbage with 20 years of his life ... we have worked together from 1991 to 2012, and all I can say is that his face is my cinema," he added.
A total of 55 films were screened this year in the official selection, of which 20 disputed for the top prize Golden Lion, at the world's oldest film festival which ran from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7 on the Lido seafront in the Italian water city.
The competition section had a jury of nine key film figures of various countries, including Chinese actor and director Jiang Wen. It was chaired by Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, one of the most respected directors in the history of cinema.