HONG KONG - Ann Hui's The Golden Era, a biopic of acclaimed Chinese novelist Xiao Hong in the 1930s, won praise at the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday, scooping up five prizes including Best Film.
The three-hour drama stars Tang Wei as Xiao, whose short life battered by disease and political unrest was set against her literary success.
In the ceremony at the city's harbourside Cultural Centre, the film won Best Director for Hui, as well as Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume & Make Up Design.
Hui, 67, said on stage: "At my age, I'm very happy to be not dead, not sick and fed. But I'm being recognised for taking risks and being creative, and the meaning is deep. The film might not be perfect, but thank you for the encouragement."
She also thanked her stars, Tang and Feng Shaofeng, for going on the six-month journey of filming with her, said Ming Pao Daily News. "In the future, I would like to make a better movie," Hui added.
Overheard 3, the thriller that revolves around a controversial residential project in Hong Kong's rural New Territories, won three awards, including Best Actor for Lau Ching Wan and Best Supporting Actor for Kenneth Tsang. Lau stars in the film as a thuggish villager and Tsang, a wily rural leader.
Lau's prize was presented by Miriam Yeung and her five young female co-stars of the school drama Little Big Master. Yeung asked the girls to choose Best Actor and three of them picked Lau, even praising his looks.
A wet-eyed Lau said: "I thank them so much for letting me know there's a women's market for me. I thought they'd mistaken me for Louis Koo."
He also thanked his wife, actress Amy Kwok, who was in tears in the audience, said Ming Pao. "Whenever I take off in a spacecraft to the universe, when I go who knows where, you always find a way to bring me back to earth safely," he said.
When Tsang won Best Supporting Actor, he pointed heavenwards and said: "I thank Him for giving me health and hope He continues to support me."
Best Actress went to Vicki Zhao, who plays a kidnapper's wife in Peter Chan's Dearest. After beating rivals such as Tang (The Golden Era) and Charlene Choi (Sara), she said: "I didn't expect to win. I intended to go home and sleep."
But she added that she was proud to finally be able to thank Chan for giving her such a "beautiful" role.
The night proved to be prolific for Ivana Wong, who was named Best New Performer and Best Supporting Actress for her role as an eager prostitute in the sex comedy Golden Chickensss.
Wong thanked the producer and star, Sandra Ng, for letting her "join this colourful world".