'The Wild Goose Lake' given Dirty Ashtray Award for excessive smoking shots

The Chinese film "The Wild Goose Lake" by Golden Bear winning director Diao Yinan was recently given another "award", the Dirty Ashtray Award, for excessive smoking shots.

A 2019 television series "Anti-terrorist Swat III" was given the same award for the TV category.

The "awards" were announced by the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control on Thursday, as it released a monitoring report on the smoking shots in Chinese films and television series.

The so-called awards were elected by the association with the hope of minimizing smoking shots in films and TV series, which were usually imitated by adolescents. The awards this year were announced only days ahead of the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, and this year, the campaign will be focused on protecting the younger generation.

Crew of the film "The Wild Goose Lake" at the 72nd international film festival, Cannes, France, May 18, 2019. /AP

Crew of the film "The Wild Goose Lake" at the 72nd international film festival, Cannes, France, May 18, 2019. /AP

According to the report by the association, out of 30 films selected for monitoring, 22 have smoking shots, accounting for 73 percent, and the smoking shots total 389. Out of the 30 television series, 18 are with smoking shots, totaling 1,062.

But there are some films and television series that were awarded for having no smoking shots at all, including some hit ones such as "The Climbers".

According to the latest report, the association started such monitoring since 2007, and the smoking shots in films and TV series have respectively dropped by 15.5 percent and 33 percent.

Experts joining in the smoking control campaign expressed hope that films and television series could take into consideration the health of the adolescent and limit unnecessary smoking shots.

A sign of "No Smoking" on the wall /VCG

A sign of "No Smoking" on the wall /VCG

Liao Wenke, deputy head of the association, said that the decreasing scale of smoking shots in films and television dramas is far from enough. He suggested that all the smoking shots with no contribution to the development of the scenario and the creation of the characters should be removed.

Hu Dayi, head of the association, said that with the world wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical studies proved among the confirmed COVID-19 patients, a smoker has a much higher risk of developing into a dangerous or critical situation. Therefore, he recommended that controlling the tobacco at such a time is also an effective way of battling the pandemic.

The Dirty Ashtray Awards award was first launched in 2011, and none of the awards have ever been claimed. However, the association noted that they would continue to award it as a reminder for the directors and actors so that smoking control could become an awareness for them during their artistic creation. 

Cover image: VCG file photo