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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:24 pm    Post subject: Ang Lee's erotic spy thriller tipped to win Chinese-language

Ang Lee's erotic spy thriller tipped to win Chinese-language "Oscars"

10 hours ago

TAIPEI (AFP) Taiwanese director Ang Lee's erotic spy thriller "Lust, Caution" is tipped to win top honours at this year's Golden Horse Film Awards, considered the Chinese-language "Oscars," critics say.

"Lust, Caution" leads the race with 11 nods and a special outstanding Taiwanese filmaker of the year nomination for Lee at the 44th edition of the awards to be handed out in a glittering ceremony here on Saturday.

The film, called "Se, Jie" in Chinese, is competing against an immigrant drama set in Australia ("The Home Song Stories"), Hong Kong police thriller "Eye in the Sky," a black comedy set in rural China ("Getting Home") and a satire on Taiwan politics ("What on Earth Have I Done Wrong?") for best film.

"'Lust, Caution' is apparently the heavyweight in best film and best director categories as its production quality stands out among all competitors," said film critic Liang Liang.

Hong Kongers Yau Nai-hoi of "Eye in the Sky" and Derek Yee of gangster flick "Protege" will challenge Lee and Chinese director Jiang Wen of "The Sun Also Rises" for best director gong.

"I think Ang Lee has all the advantages as this is a Taiwanese film festival and Lee is very popular in Taiwan while the film is a hit here," said critic Steven Tu, adding however that Lee faced a strong challenge from Jiang.

"Lust, Caution" in September picked up the Golden Lion for best picture at the Venice Film Festival.

Lee, noted for blending elements from the East and West to depict characters struggling to fit into society and live up to family pressure, won the best director Oscar for his groundbreaking gay cowboy drama "Brokeback Mountain" in 2006.

Critic Liang noted that Singaporean films were also making a splash this year with Jack Neo's satire on government bureaucracy "Just Follow Law" earning three nods and director Royston Tan's comedy "881" also getting a nomination.

Singapore's Gurmit Singh from "Just Follow Law" is vying for best actor against big-name rivals Tony Leung Chiu-wei ("Lust, Caution") and Aaron Kwok ("The Detective") of Hong Kong and veteran Chinese comedian Zhao Benshan ("Getting Home").

Leung and Kwok are both eyeing an unprecedented third best actor gong but critics believe Leung has the edge for his performance as a powerful Japanese collaborator in "Lust, Caution," which is set in World War II Shanghai.

"Leung subtly portrays his character's dark sides and his desires for lust and love. I think he gives the role such depth although he has much less screen time than the female lead," Liang said.

Leung's Chinese co-star Tang Wei, who plays a resistance spy who seduces and plots to kill him, is up for best actress with critics predicting a tight race with Chinese-American veteran Joan Chen for her performance in "The Home Song Stories."

Chen also stars in "Lust, Caution" as Leung's sophisticated wife and the two women appeared in a number of scenes together.

Critic Liang favours Tang to walk off with the award as "Lust, Caution" centres around her character and as a novice she delivers an impressive performance in the film, which has earned adult certificates for its explicit sex scenes.

"Joan Chen no doubt is a good actress but I think her role as a nightclub singer and immigrant is too easy for her and the movie itself is somewhat stereotypical," echoed critic Tu.

"The Home Song Stories," which earned seven nods, depicts the troubled love life of Chen's character, who moved to Australia from Hong Kong with her two children. It is competing for a best foreign language film Oscar representing Australia next year.

Also vying for best actress crown are China's Li Bingbing in "The Knot" and Taiwan's Rene Liu in "Kidnap".

Critics point out that China replaced Hong Kong to dominate the spotlight this year in major categories, despite the controversial withdrawal of two widely-acclaimed Chinese films, both of which had been nominated for best director.

"Tuya's Marriage" and "Blind Mountain" were pulled from competition without any official explanation, while local media blamed political reasons due to lingering tensions between Taiwan and rival China.

Some 36 films will compete for top honours at this year's Golden Horse Film Awards, which are styled on the US Academy Awards but decided by a jury like at the Cannes film festival.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:25 pm    Post subject:

Ang Lee heads home as favourite at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards

10 hours ago

HONG KONG - Ang Lee has been treated like a rock star on his home island after winning Oscars for his kung fu hit "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and the gay romance "Brokeback Mountain."

The U.S.-based Taiwanese director is returning to another hero's welcome this weekend for the 44th Golden Horse Awards ceremony in Taipei Saturday, the Chinese-language equivalent of the Oscars. His spy thriller "Lust, Caution" is up for 11 prizes, including best director and best picture.

Lee's every move is closely watched by the Chinese-speaking world and his new film - about the sexually charged relationship between an undercover activist and the Japanese-allied spy chief in Second World War-era Shanghai - is no exception.

The movie was a box office hit both in Taiwan and mainland China and generated much discussion about its steamy sex scenes, which were cut in China. It also rekindled interest in famed writer Eileen Chang, who wrote the short story on which the movie was based.

At the Golden Horse Awards, "Lust, Caution" is up for best film and Lee is up for best director. Veteran Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai, who played the spy chief, is up for best actor and Chinese newcomer Tang Wei, who played the activist, was short listed for best actress.

The screen writers for "Lust, Caution," James Schamus and Wang Hui-ling, are also competing for best adapted screenplay.

In the best picture category, "Lust, Caution" is competing against Taiwanese director Niu Chen-zer's political satire "What on Earth Have I Done Wrong?!," Chinese director Zhang Yang's "Getting Home," and Tony Ayres' "The Home Song Stories."

Lee faces off with Chinese filmmaker Jiang Wen ("The Sun Also Rises"), Hong Kong's Derek Yee ("Protege") and Yau Nai-hoi ("Eye in the Sky") in the best director contest.

Leung and Tang are in a tough field in the best acting competitions.

Leung's biggest rival may be two-time Golden Horse best-actor winner and fellow Hong Konger Aaron Kwok, nominated for playing a dogged private investigator in "The Detective." Also competing are Chinese comedian Zhao Benshan, who played a Chinese worker who tries to carry his friend's corpse home in "Getting Home" and Gurmit Singh, who portrayed a government janitor who switches bodies with his hated female boss in the comedy "Just Follow Law."

Tang faces veterans Joan Chen and Rene Liu. Chen played a Hong Kong nightclub singer who moves to Australia in "The Home Song Stories" and Liu a police officer who investigates kidnappings in "Kidnap." The fourth nominee is Li Bingbing, nominated for "The Knot," a tearjerker about lovers separated by the political divisions between mainland China and Taiwan.

But all eyes are on Lee to see if "Lust, Caution" can become another success story, with the Golden Globe Awards and Oscars coming up. The film already won the top Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year.

This year's awards were overshadowed by the pullout of two Chinese movies - "Tuya's Marriage" and "Blind Mountain" - over a Chinese rule that bans movies with exclusive Chinese investment to compete at the Golden Horse Awards.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949 and remain separately ruled, but Beijing claims the self-ruled island as its territory and has threatened to retake it by force.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:28 pm    Post subject:

Ang Lee leads pack for Golden Horse awards

Wed Dec 5, 2007 11:17 PM EST

By Doug Young

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Ang Lee's steamy "Lust, Caution" is the odds-on favorite to clean up at the 2007 Taiwan Golden Horse Awards, the most coveted Chinese-language film prizes, in a year where China-Taiwan politics has played a controversial role.

Despite a low profile in the West, the Golden Horse is a star-studded occasion, with top talent from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China turning out each year for the red-carpet event in Taipei.

Lee's movie, his most prominent Chinese-language film since "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," has been nominated for 12 awards, including best film and best director, at a ceremony set for Saturday in his native Taiwan.

The movie, which won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival, is competing for best film with three lesser known titles. "The Home Song Stories," about a Hong Kong nightclub singer who emigrates to Australia, "Getting Home," about a Chinese migrant worker returning home after a sudden death, and "what on earth have i done wrong?!," a political comedy.

"Lust" has the advantage of far more publicity than any of its rivals, having screened for several months in Taiwan, said Lee Yun-fen of the Chinese Taipei Film Archive.

"It should have pretty strong chances because so many people have seen it," she said. "It's very persuasive."

The awards feature mostly films from Taiwan and Hong Kong. In addition to Lee, luminaries on this year's list include Hong Kong film stars Tony Leung and Aaron Kwok, and China-born Joan Chen, who burst on to the movie scene in Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor" in 1987.

Taiwan pop star Jay Chou is also up for outstanding Taiwanese filmmaker of the year for his directorial debut "Secret."

China, which has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, doesn't allow its movies to compete, though co-productions between Chinese and foreign houses are allowed.

Despite the ban, two mainland films, "Tuya's Marriage" and "Blind Mountain," were submitted by film makers this year, only to be forced to withdraw later, creating a gap in the nominee list that had to be hastily filled.

"This is a question of their policy," said a spokeswoman for the show. "'Tuya's Marriage' was entered at the film company's own request. In the end it was China that made them withdraw."

Organizers said they were hopeful that mainland productions might be allowed to participate next year.

Cultural exchanges have increased across the Taiwan Strait in the last decade, but political relations have been icy during the seven-year tenure of President Chen Shui-bian, whose Democratic Progressive Party favors independence.

"Lust, Caution," about a Chinese woman tasked with killing a Japanese collaborator in Shanghai during World War Two, has also been the subject of controversy, with some decrying it for being too long and others critical of its graphic sex scenes.

The film drew additional attention when China said it would cut some scenes before screening it there.
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