‘Seediq Bale’ wins Golden Horse

'Simple Life' nabs helmer, actress, actor awards

BEIJING — Hong Kong and Taiwan dominated the Golden Horse Film Awards, the biggest Chinese-language kudofest, with Taiwan’s foreign-language Oscar entry, “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale,” winning best film, and Ann Hui’s “A Simple Life,” Hong Kong’s foreign-language entry, taking the awards for helmer, actress (Deanie Ip) and actor (Andy Lau).

“I am very happy to win — I hope I won’t have a stroke,” Hui said at a ceremony in Hsinchu, Northern Taiwan.

“A Simple Life” deals with the relationship between an ageing domestic helper, played by Ip, and her employer, played by Lau.

“I want to thank Andy Lau and Ann Hui for giving me this chance at this age,” said the 63-year-old Ip, who also won best actress at Venice in September for her role in the film.

Lau said the awards should be a rallying call for the Hong Kong film biz to emulate that of Taiwan, which is showing strong signs of revival.

The awards reflected the changing dynamic of the Chinese-language film biz. Of the 22 categories, 10 were won by five Hong Kong-Mainland China co-productions. Six Taiwanese films won in nine categories, while one Hong Kong film took home three awards.

Hui took the best helmer prize ahead of Wei Te-sheng, who had been hotly tipped for $24 million-budgeted “Seediq Bale,” the most expensive film in Taiwan’s history.

As well as best pic, the 4 1/2-hour “Seediq Bale” took several technical awards. Pic portrays the Wushe Incident, a 1930 uprising by aboriginal Seediq warriors against the Japanese when Taiwan was colonized.

Mainland Chinese helmer Jiang Wen had also been widely expected to sweep the awards, but in the end his “Let the Bullets Fly” took the cinematography and adapted screenplay awards.

The fest has two international awards. The Fipresci critics’ award went to Zhang Meng’s “The Piano in the Factory,” while the Netpac award went to Malaysian Dain Said’s “Bunohan.”

Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s martial arts drama “Wu Xia” took honors for choreography, visual effects and art direction.

The Golden Horse awards take place in self-ruled Taiwan and the jury is made up of Taiwanese, mainland Chinese and Hong Kong judges. They judge Chinese-language films from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and China, including Hong Kong and Macau. Films from Mainland China were first permitted to take part during the 1990s.

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