Japan’s Hamaguchi Ryusuke earned double honors on Thursday at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. His “Drive My Car” was named best film, while he shared the best screenplay award with the film’s co-writer Oe Takamasa.
The 14th APSA ceremony was held at the Home of the Arts in Queensland, Australia and gave prizes to ten films from eleven territories. The event also marked the official opening of the third Asia Pacific Screen Forum (Nov. 11-16, 2021) conference series.
The second place or Jury Grand Prizes were awarded jointly to Abdullah Mohammad Saad, director of Bangladesh drama “Rehana” (aka “Rehana Maryam Noor”) and to Leah Purcell for her debut feature “The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson.” “Rehana” lead Azmeri Haque Badhon was awarded the prize for the best performance by an actress.
Iran’s Asghar Farhadi was awarded achievement in directing prize for “A Hero” (aka “Ghahreman”) which the APSA jury called “an intimate epic.”
“Drive My Car” and “A Hero” were both launched at the Cannes Film Festival in July, where they respectively won the best screenplay award and the Grand Prix. “Rehana” had its premiere in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section.
The APSA jury hailed Hamaguchi. “In his potent drama of secrets and trauma, Ryusuke Hamaguchi x-rays his damaged characters, each haunted by their past, as he incisively explores ideas of love, desire, infidelity, guilt and atonement. The result is an indelible film of immense power,” it said.
The screenplay is adapted from a Murakami Haruki short story. The award for “Drive My Car” is Hamaguchi’s second at APSA. In 2016 he shared the same award with co-writers Nohara Tadashi and Takahashi Tomoyuki for “Happy Hour.”
The jury also paid tribute to Purcell’s all-round efforts. “Not just for her singular vision in writing, directing, producing and starring in the film but for the journey to bring this remarkable story, viewed through the lens of a First Nations woman to the screen in its entirety, in what is not only an artist’s total dedication to her craft but also a spirited act of courage and tenacity.”
Vietnamese film “Taste” was another double winner. It picked up the best cinematography award Nguyen Vinh Phuc, while the film’s director Le Bao received the Young Cinema Award in partnership with NETPAC and Griffith Film School.
Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2021 Winners
Best Feature Film
“Drive My Car” Dir. Hamaguchi Ryusuke (Japan)
Jury Grand Prize (joint winners)
Abdullah Mohammad Saad for “Rehana” (aka “Rehana Maryam Noor”) (Bangladesh, Qatar, Singapore)
Leah Purcell for “The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson” (Australia)
Best Youth Feature Film
“Moving On” (aka “Nam-mae-wui Yeo-reum-bam”) Dir. Yoon Dan-bi (Korea)
Best Animated Feature Film
“The Nose or The Conspiracy of Mavericks” (aka “Nos ili zagovor netakikh”)
Dir. Andrey Khrzhanovsky (Russia)
Best Documentary Feature Film
“Sabaya” Dir. Hogir Hirori.
Achievement in Directing
Asghar Farhadi for “A Hero” (aka “Ghahreman”) (Iran, France)
Hamaguchi Ryusuke, Oe Takamasa for “Drive My Car”
Achievement in Cinematography
Nguyen Vinh Phuc for “Taste” (aka “Vi”) (Vietnam, Singapore, France, Thailand, Germany)
Best Performance by an Actress
Azmeri Haque Badhoun in “Rehana” (aka “Rehana Maryam Noor”) (Bangladesh, Qatar, Singapore)
Best performance by an Actor
Merab Ninidze in “House Arrest” (aka “Delo”) (Russia)
Cultural Diversity Awards Under the Patronage of UNESCO
“Children of the Sun” (aka “Gaadi”) Dir. Prasanna Vithanage (Sri Lanka)
Young Cinema Award in Partnership With NETPAC and GFS
Le Bao for “Taste” (aka “Vi”) (Vietnam, Singapore, France, Thailand, Germany)
MPA APSA Academy Film Fund Recipients (four)
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (as producer) for “9 Temples to Heaven” (Thailand)
Gutierrez Mangansakan II (writer, director) for “The Spellcaster of Tamontaca”
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad (writer, director, producer) for “Red Mist Descending” (Iran)
Dea Kulumbegashvili (writer, director) for “Historia” (Georgia).