“The Falls,” Taiwan’s Oscar contender and a timely drama about the trauma of home quarantine, emerged as the unsurprising winner at the Golden Horse Film Awards in Taipei on Saturday.
And, in a bold decision that has the potential to enrage Mainland Chinese authorities, the prize for best documentary feature was awarded to “Revolution of Our Times.” The film chronicles the brutality of the political crackdown on the streets of Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020.
“The Falls,” which debuted at the Venice Film Festival in September, tells the tale of a mother and daughter cooped up in an apartment during a quarantine. It is directed by Chung Mong-hong, who previously directed “Parking” and “A Sun.”
At the award ceremony “The Falls” earned four prizes, including best narrative feature, best original screenplay, best actress and best original score.
The Golden Horse Film Awards are in their 58th edition and for many years had been considered as the premium prize event for Chinese-language cinema, spanning all dialects and origins. For the last three editions, however, it has been boycotted by mainland Chinese films and filmmakers on the orders of the film industry authorities, and by many from Hong Kong.
The boycott followed a speech in favor of Taiwan’s independence by a documentary prize winner in 2018. This so enraged mainland Chinese authorities that mainland attendees at the ceremony received text messaged ordering them not to attend the post-awards parties and to return home with maximum haste. Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949, is democratically-run and calls itself the Republic of China. Mainland China, properly called The People’s Republic of China, considers Taiwan to be a rebellious province with which it will ultimately be united, by force if necessary.
“Revolution of Our Times” takes its title from a popular slogan promoting Hong Kong’s independence from China. The film, which premiered as a surprise, late addition at the Cannes Film Festival in July, charts the course of protests and police response as they both turn violent. It ends with Beijing imposing a National Security Law in Hong Kong.
It was directed by Kiwi Chow, who was previously one of the co-directors of “Ten Years.” Chow has daringly decided to stay in Hong Kong since the release of “Revolution,” but, in order to give himself some legal leeway in case of arrest, has sold off all rights and materials related to the film.
Another Hong Kong film “Drifting” had headed the nominations prior to the event. But it came away with only one award.
2021 Golden Horse Film Awards Winners
Best Narrative Feature
“The Falls” dir. Chung Mong-hong.
Best Documentary Feature
“Revolution of Our Times” dir. Kiwi Chow, Hongkongers.
Best Live-Action Short Film
“Good Day” dir. Zhang Zhi-teng.
Best Documentary Short Film
“In Their Teens” dir. Lin Yu-en.
Best Animated Short Film
“The Magical Tracing” Wu De-chuen.
Clara Law for “Drifting Petals”.
Best Leading Actor
Chang Chen in “The Soul”.
Best Leading Actress
Alyssa Chia in “The Falls”.
Best Supporting Actor
Lee Kuan-ting in “Trick or Treat”.
Best Supporting Actress
Wang Yu-xuan in “Goddamned Asura”.
Best New Director
Fiona Roan Feng-i for “American Girl”.
Best New Performer
Caitlin Fang in “American Girl”.
Best Original Screenplay
Chung Mong-hong and Chang Yaosheng for “The Falls”.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Jun Li for “Drifting”.
Giorgos Valsamis for “American Girl”.
Best Visual Effects
ArChin Yen for “Till We Meet Again”.
Best Art Direction
Huang Mei-Chin, Liang Shuo-lin and Liao Hui-li for “The Soul”.
Best Make-up and Costume Design
Singing Lin, Hsiao Pai-chen and Liu Hsien-chia for “Till We Meet Again”.
Best Action Cinematography
Chan Man-fai, Chu Ke-feng, Feng Ren-zhi for “Nezha”.
Best Original Score
Lu Luming for “The Falls”.
Best Original Song
“I Missed You” (composed, written, performed by Eve Ai)
Best Film Editing
Shieh Meng-ju for “The Soul”.
Best Sound Effects
R.T. Kao and Chu Shih-yi for “Till We Meet Again”.
Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year
Audience Choice Award
Lifetime Achievement Award (2)