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‘Still Human,’ Banned Actor Anthony Wong Win Udine Festival Prizes

Hong Kong drama “Still Human” picked up top prizes at the 21st Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy at midnight on Sunday. It was a favorite of both critics and audience.

However, the film’s lead actor Anthony Wong, who was also the recipient of the festival’s Golden Mulberry award for outstanding achievement and winner of the Hong Kong Film Awards best actor in April for his role as a disabled man, said the success of “Still Human” has yet to bring him more film work. That’s because he showed support for democracy forces during the Umbrella Movement protests in 2014 and appears to be on some kind of banned list.

Directed by first-time director Oliver Chan, “Still Human” tells a heart-warming story of how a Filipina domestic helper (played by Crisel Consunji) and her disabled employer (Wong) overcome their conflicts and misunderstandings.

The film won the top Audience Award and the Black Dragon critics’ award. It was the first time that a Hong Kong film won Udine’s audience award since 2003 and crime thriller “Infernal Affairs,” which also stars Wong.

During the festival, which also showcased Wong’s 1985 big screen debut “My Name Ain’t Suzie,” Wong said he has been banned for five years from taking acting jobs relating to mainland China.

Wong said he did not regret his political comments, but he was scared. “I don’t know what is happening. I don’t have a way to ask anyone,” said the vocal actor. “Someone told me that I was not on the [black] list, but they still banned all my jobs. This kind of fear is white terror.”

Over the past five years, Wong has ventured into stage plays and TV, including U.K. crime series “Strangers” (AKA “White Dragon”). But he has no film work lined up since “Still Human.” “No one dares to call me,” he said.

Other audience awards went to Chinese black comedy “Dying to Survive,” and Korean blockbuster “Extreme Job.” The White Mulberry award for first film went to “Melancholic” by Japanese newcomer Tanaka Seiji.

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