The 28th Hong Kong Film Awards - arguably the most prestigious of Hong Kong's three main film awards - were given out this week, and Best Film went to the martial arts biopic, Ip Man (叶问, pinyin: Yè Wèn). The film, directed by Wilson Yip and starring Donnie Yen in the title role, beat out the historical epic Red Cliff, the ghost story romance Painted Skin, the family drama The Way We Are, and Stephen Chow's sci-fi film CJ7. .
It was also a night when industry veterans trumped the younger stars in the acting categories. The acting prizes were split between The Way We Are and the crime thriller Beast Stalker. Veteran Hong Kong actress Bau Hei-Jing (鲍起静, pinyin: Bào Qǐjìng), who has appeared in a host of films since 1969, mainly in supporting roles, won the Best Actress award for her performance as a working mother in The Way We Are. Another veteran, Chan Lai-Wun, whose career dates back to 1966, won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of an elderly neighbour in the same film.
Best Actor went to Nick Cheung (张家辉, pinyin: Zhāng Jiāhuì) who played a sometimes menacing, sometimes sympathetic villain in Beast Stalker. Cheung has been dividing his 20-year working life between TV, movies and singing, and the award tops of what has been a pretty versatile career. (In the nineties he was better known for his comedy roles, before moving towards more dramatic ones). Another Beast Stalker actor, veteran character-role player Liu Kai-Chi (廖启智. pinyin: Liào Qǐzhì), was named Best Supporting Actor.
Best Director went to Ann Hui (许鞍华, pinyin: Xǔ Ānhuá), the director of The Way We Are. The 61 year-old Hui, who shot the film on HD video, has forged a critically acclaimed career out of simple, realistic docudramas like The Way We Are. This year's award is the third time she has taken the Best Director prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards; her previous wins were for Boat People in 1983 and Summer Snow in 1996. She also collected the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award for Best Director for The Way We Are earlier in the year.
The Hong Kong Film Awards also have a Best Asian Film category. This year it went to Assembly (集结号, pinyin: Jí jié hào), a war film from Mainland China that is set during the Chinese Civil War and Korean War. Assembly beat two other Mainland films, the biopic Forever Enthralled and the romantic comedy If You Are the One, Taiwan's box-office smash Cape No. 7, and the Japanese production Suspect X.