Chinese director Wang Bing won the Golden Leopard (Pardo d’Oro) trophy for the documentary Mrs. Fang. Photo: AFP

Chinese documentary Mrs. Fang wins top prize at Locarno film festival

Director Wang Bing’s story of a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s who is brought home to spend her final days with her family takes the Golden Leopard award at the Swiss film festival

Mrs. Fang, Chinese director Wang Bing’s documentary about a family waiting to say goodbye to their elderly Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, scooped the top prize at the Locarno film festival in Switzerland Saturday.

The film tells the moving end-of-life story of Fang Xiuying, a farmer who has been struggling with the disease for eight years. After a stay at a nursing home, her family brings her home, and the film focuses on their final days together before her death in 2016.

Wang’s moving documentary Mrs. Fang impressed the judges at Locarno. Photo: AP
Wang Bing counts among China’s foremost documentary film makers, and has previously served on the Locarno jury.

Now in its 70th year, the Locarno festival takes place every summer in the picturesque Swiss town on the shores of Lake Maggiore.

The runner-up Special Jury Prize went to Brazilian horror film As Boas Maeiras (Good Manners) by directors Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas, which starts off with a woman hiring a maid to help with the housework before the story takes an unexpected, blood-drenched turn.

A still from the documentary.
France’s F. J. Ossang meanwhile won best director for film noir 9 Fingers, the organisers said.

French star Isabelle Huppert was named best actress for her role as Mrs. Hyde in French director Serge Bozon’s film of the same name.

And Danish actor Elliott Crosset Hove took home the best actor award for his role in Icelandic director Hlynur Palmason’s debut film Winter Brothers.