Get reel: And the award goes to ...

Yvonne Teh, Film Editor

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 10:39pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 10:39pm

Hong Kong film followers will be zooming in on this year's Golden Horse Awards ceremony on November 23. With 11 nominations (including those for best feature film, best director, best leading actor and best leading actress), Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster is the early front runner in this race for Chinese-language cinema honours.

The film has already been named as Hong Kong's nominee for next year's best foreign language film Oscar, and it was a big box office success here and on the mainland. So any prizes that the visually stylish martial arts drama garners over the course of the upcoming awards season will just be the icing on the cake for its filmmaker, whose works have hitherto been critically acclaimed, but commercially unpopular.

Another Wong Kar-wai film in the spotlight this month - under the auspices of the "A Tribute to 35mm Film" programme co-presented by the Broadway, Palace and AMC cinemas - is Days of Being Wild.

A commercial flop upon its release in 1990, it reportedly failed to take even one-fifth of its budget, and could have brought the Shanghai-born auteur's directorial career to a premature end.

But this drama about disaffected youth, which has been described as the Cantonese version of Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause, went on to win Wong his first major directorial prizes at the Golden Horse Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards. Days of Being Wild also was named best film, and its lead actor Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, cinematographer Christopher Doyle and art director William Chang Suk-ping won in their categories at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Far more people have probably seen The Grandmaster over the course of just one year than have viewed Days of Being Wild in the 23 years since its original release. But Wong's earlier work is the more beloved among those who have viewed both films.

One reason is the cast: Andy Lau Tak-wah, Jacky Cheung Hok-yau , Maggie Cheung Man-yuk, Leslie Cheung, Carina Lau Ka-ling and veteran singer-actress Rebecca Pan Di-hua. And while Tony Leung Chiu-wai's role in the film was small, it marked the beginning of a very fruitful collaboration with the filmmaker that has continued through to The Grandmaster.