Awards joy for South Koreans

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2011, 12:00am

It was another big year for Korean films at the Asian Film Awards, with South Korean productions taking five of the 14 awards.

There were no big sweeps by any single film and a few surprises in the major award categories. Accompanying the glitz and glamour at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, there was also an overwhelming message of support and compassion for the people of Japan and other disaster-torn areas.

South Korean director Lee Chang-dong took home the best director award for Poetry, about a woman in her 60s who discovers a love of writing verse while struggling with Alzheimer's disease.

Thailand's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives beat the mainland's Aftershock, Japan's Confessions and Hong Kong-mainland collaboration Let The Bullets Fly - the top three overall nominees - to take the best film accolade.

Perhaps the biggest shock of the evening was that Confessions, nominated in six categories, won nothing.

However, director Tetsuya Nakashima said: 'While I was never confident about winning this evening, to even be considered among all the great directors here tonight is enough for me. The mood at home is sombre, but we are determined to rebuild the country, and so I thank everyone here for their kindness and support.'

The best actor award went to Korea's Ha Jung-woo for his role in The Yellow Sea,while the mainland's Xu Fan picked up best actress for her performance in Aftershock.

There was joy for Hong Kong in the best supporting actor category, won by Sammo Hung for Ip Man 2.

Director Doze Niu had the pleasure of presenting best newcomer to Mark Chao Yu-ting for his performance in Niu's Monga, about the a young gang in 1980's Taiwan.

The top-grossing film award went, without surprise, to the mainland's Aftershock, which topped the domestic box office last year.

During his acceptance speech, director Feng invited chairman of the China Film Makers' Association Li Qiankuan to present a cheque for 500,000 yuan (HK$593,000) to Tom Yoda, director of the Tokyo Film Festival, for disaster relief.

Hong Kong producer Raymond Chow, who began his career in 1958 at Shaw Brothers then founded Golden Harvest in 1970, was honoured with a lifetime achievement award.