Hong Kong actress Carina Lau has seen Singapore film Ilo Ilo and says that its haul at the Golden Horse Awards was "well-deserved".
The domestic drama about a Filipina maid and a Singapore family was the surprise winner at the prestigious awards show in Taipei on Nov 23 when it walked away with four awards, including the biggest prize of the night for Best Feature Film.
In that category, Singaporean director Anthony Chen's film beat four major works by heavyweight directors: Jia Zhangke's A Touch Of Sin, Tsai Ming-liang's Stray Dogs, Johnnie To's Drug War, as well as Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster, in which Lau's husband Tony Leung Chiu Wai stars in.
Says the 47-year-old actress in Mandarin: "I had already heard very good things about Ilo Ilo before the Golden Horse, but I went to watch it after the awards. I was so surprised by how moving it was. It is such a small film and it's a simple story, but I was very touched by the end of it.
"It absolutely deserves all the recognition and encouragement that it has gotten so far."
Lau was in town for the store opening of fashion boutique Roger Vivier at Takashimaya Shopping Centre last Friday night.
She adds: "These days, film studios keep making big-budget, commercial films. It's getting harder and harder for smaller films like Ilo Ilo to stand out.
"So the fact that the director of Ilo Ilo managed to stick it out to the very end and deliver such a fantastic film - I think it's just great."
Asked if her husband was disappointed over his Golden Horse loss in the category for Best Actor, she quickly shakes her head.
Leung, 51, lost the award to Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng, 45, for Stray Dogs.
She says: "No, no, no, of course he is not disappointed at all. Lee Kang-sheng is an excellent actor and he has been around for more than 20 years. It's just that he has had quite a bit of bad luck, I think, when it comes to recognition with awards, so it's nice that he's getting this one now. I didn't see Stray Dogs, but I'm sure he was very good in it.