China's 'Mystery' vies for Golden Horse film award

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 2:53pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 5:11pm

A dark melodrama by a controversial Chinese director heads the entries in the best film category at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film festival — the Chinese-language Oscars — catapulting the mainland cinema to centre stage at the event.

Lou Ye’s “Mystery” tells the story of a mild-mannered woman who mounts a radical revenge after uncovering her husband’s infidelity.

Aside from best picture award at Saturday’s ceremony, Lou is also up for best director and female protagonist Hao Lei is a candidate for best actress.

Lou’s films have long focused on sensitive subjects like sex, violence and politics and have repeatedly been censored by China’s cultural authorities. He was prohibited from filmmaking for five years after submitting “Summer Palace” to the Cannes festival without government approval in 2006.

Earlier in the week, Taiwanese actress Ivy Chen said she was hardly able to contain her excitement when she found out she had received her first Golden Horse nomination.

“When I heard the news, I wanted to scream,” the 30-year-old star said. “However, I was filming at the time. The camera was still rolling outside, so I held it inside for two minutes.”

Chen was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in the box office hit “Love,” in which she plays a lost, young girl who becomes impregnated by her best friend’s boyfriend. Taiwanese actress Amber Kuo, who plays Chen’s best friend in the film, was also nominated in the supporting actress category.

While Kuo, 26, and Chen are of similar age and often vie for the same roles with their girl-next-door looks, there did not seem to be much competitiveness between the two on the set of “Love.” Chen, in fact, credits Kuo for helping her get into character.

“When I’m next to Amber Kuo, I automatically become insignificant,” Chen said. “I feed off of her energy.”

As Chen looks forward to Saturday’s ceremony in the Taiwanese city of Ilan for the Golden Horse Awards, which honor Putonghua-language films, she said she would probably control her diet to get ready to show off her best asset — “My face,” she said with a giggle.