The fourth Asian Film Awards were announced last night in Hong Kong, with Joon-ho Bong’s “Mother” taking top honors. The film – which follows a mother who desperately searches for the killer that framed her son for their murder – won best film, best actress for Kim Hye-ja, and best screenplay.
Another major winner was Lu Chaun’s “City of Life and Death,” which was recently the source of controversy Stateside when it was pulled from theatrical release and withdrawn by China from the Palm Springs International Film Festival. “Life” is an epic tale of the defiance of citizens who survived the 1937 Japanese occupation of the Republic of China’s capital, Nanjing. The Chinese soldiers, civilians, women and children, along with American and European sympathizers — based on real personalities — fight to resist and survive when it could have been much easier for them to accept defeat or death.
Presented by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, the Asian Film Awards have previously feted Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Tokyo Sonata,” Chang-dong Lee’s “Secret Sunshine,” and “Mother” director Joon ho-Bong’s “The Host” as best film of the year.
The complete list of winners:
Best film: “Mother”
Best director: Lu Chuan, “City of Life and Death”
Best actor: Wang Xueqi, “Bodyguards and Assassins”
Best actress: Kim Hye-ja, “Mother”
Best supporting actor: Nicholas Tse, “Bodyguards and Assassins”
Best supporting actress: Wai Ying-hung, “At the End of Daybreak”
Best newcomer: Ng Meng Hui, “At the End of Daybreak”
Best screenwriter: Bong Joon-ho, Park Eun-kyo, “Mother”
Best cinematographer: Cao Yu, “City of Life and Death”
Best production designer: Alain-Pascal Housiaux, Patrick Dechesne, Lee Tian-jue, “Face”
Best composer: Lo Ta-yu, “Vengeance”
Best editor: Lee Chatametikool, “Karaoke”
Best visual effects: Yi Zeon-hyung, “Thirst”
Best costume designer: Tina Kalivas, Vaughan Alexander, “Goemon”
Lifetime achievement award: Amitabh Bachchan
Outstanding contribution to Asian film: Zhang Yimou
2009 top-grossing director: John Woo, “Red Cliff II”