Two political Hong Kong films win accolades at Taiwan Golden Horse Awards

  • Referred to as the ‘Chinese language Oscars’, this year’s ceremony is a rare film event to go ahead amid the Covid-19 pandemic
  • ‘Lost Course’ and ‘Night is Young’ address issues liable to rile Beijing
Agence France-Presse |
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Hongkonger Jill Li received the prize for best documentary at the 57th Golden Horse Awards in Taipei. Photo: Reuters

Two Hong Kong films won top prizes at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards on Saturday, as the island staged its largest film festival after successfully containing the coronavirus.

But the movies are likely to anger Beijing.

Lost Course and Night is Young won the best documentary and short film awards, respectively.

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Lost Course is set in Wukan, the southern Chinese village that became a symbol of resistance against corruption in 2011. Night is Young is about a taxi driver’s experiences during last year’s pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

“Being recognised by the Golden Horse really means a lot for a new director ... I also want to thank the villagers for accepting me so I was privileged to shoot and document them at close distance,” Hongkonger Jill Li told the audience as she received her best documentary award.

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Hong Kong director Kwok Zune did not collect his best short film statuette in person but in an acceptance speech read out by a representative, he declared, “May freedom belong to the people. Night is young, we keep on fighting. Save 12,” referring to 12 Hong Kong democracy activists being detained in China.

Hong Kong was rocked by months of massive and sometimes violent protests last year against increasing control from Beijing, which has since imposed a sweeping national security law on the city.

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Taiwanese director Chen Yu-hsun’s romantic comedy My Missing Valentine, which led the race with 11 nominations, was the night’s biggest winner taking five gongs including best film and best director.

Taiwan’s 81-year-old Chen Shu-fang, who has been in the industry for 63 years, claimed both best leading actress (Little Big Women) and best supporting actress (Dear Tenant).

The best actor category was the most diverse, with Taiwan’s Mo Tzu-yi defeating rivals including Singapore’s Mark Lee (Number 1) and Hong Kong’s Lam Ka-tung (Hand Rolled Cigarette) for Dear Tenant.

While many film festivals have been forced largely online or cancelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Golden Horse Awards – dubbed the Chinese-language “Oscars” – went ahead in Taiwan which has seen just 611 infections and seven deaths.

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