Bong Joon-ho 'Mother' Tops Asian Film Awards + 'The Unbroken' Wins Japanese Academy Awards

Kim Hye-ja in Mother
Kim Hye-ja in Mother

Bong Joon-ho's unusual drama-thriller Mother received top honors at the 2010 Asian Film Awards. Hosted by model and veejay Lisa S., the event took place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on Monday evening.

Mother, the tale of a devoted mother who'll stop at nothing to prove her mentally handicapped son is innocent of a heinous crime, was chosen as the Best Picture of 2009. In the title role, South Korean superstar Kim Hye-ja was voted Best Actress, while Bong and Park Eun-kyo took home the award for Best Screenplay.

The Best Director was Lu Chuan for the historical Chinese drama City of Life and Death, about the Nanjing Massacre of 1937 during which hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians were killed by invading Japanese soldiers. City of Life and Death also earned Cao Yu the Best Cinematographer Award.

Wang Xueqi was voted Best Actor for his performance as an early 20th-century businessman who provides financial aid for Sun Yat-sen's revolutionary movement: which led to the formation of modern China: in Teddy Chan's Hong Kong-made actioner Bodyguards and Assassins.

Nicholas Tse won as Best Supporting Actor for his self-sacrificing rickshaw puller in the same movie. Out of its six nominations, those were the only two in which Bodyguards and Assassins came out on top.

The Best Newcomer was Ng Meng-hui for her wealthy teen having an illicit online relationship with a 23-year-old (Tien You Chui) in the psychological-social drama At the End of Daybreak. Ho Yuhang's South Korean-Malaysian-Hong Kong co-production also earned Wai Ying-hung (a.k.a. Kara Hui), playing the young man's working-class single mother, the Best Supporting Actress trophy.

The Asian Film Awards' first Best Costume Designer prize was presented by Donatella Versace to Christian Lacroix, Anne Dunsford and Wang Chia-Hui for Tsai Ming-liang's French-Taiwanese Face (above). Another Face victory: the movie was much praised for its look (though not for its storyline): was in the Best Production Designer category: the winners were Alain-Pascal Housiaux, Patrick Dechesne and Lee Tian-Jue.

The award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Cinema went to Chinese veteran Zhang Yimou, among whose credits are Raise the Red Lantern, To Live, and Hero, while Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“In a world that is fast disintegrating,” Bachchan declared, “I believe cinema is one medium that brings all of us together in love, in friendship, and in cooperation.”

John Woo received a special award for being the top-grossing filmmaker at the 2009 box office. Woo's Red Cliff is reportedly the highest-grossing Chinese production ever.

2010 Asian Film Awards Winners

Best Film: Mother (South Korea)

Best Dir.: Lu Chuan, City of Life and Death (China)

Best Actor: Wang Xueqi, Bodyguards and Assassins (Hong Kong/China)

Best Actress: Kim Hye-ja, Mother (South Korea)

Best Supporting Actor: Nicholas Tse, Bodyguards and Assassins (Hong Kong/China)

Best Supporting Actress: Wai Ying-hung, At the End of Daybreak (Malaysia/Hong Kong/South Korea)

Best Newcomer: Ng Meng Hui, At the End of Daybreak (Malaysia/Hong Kong/South Korea)

Best Screenwriter: Parl Eun-kyo, Bong Joon-ho, Mother (South Korea)

Best Cinematographer: Cao Yu, City of Life and Death (China)

Best Production Designer: Alain-Pascal Housiaux, Patrick Dechesne, Lee Tian-Jue, Face (Taiwan)

Best Composer: Lo Ta-Yu, Vengeance (Hong Kong)

Best Editor: Lee Chatametikool, Karaoke (Malaysia)

Best Visual Effects: Yi Zeon-hyoung, Thirst (South Korea)

Best Costume Designer: Christian Lacroix, Anne Dunsford, Wang Chia-Hui, Face (Taiwan)

Special Awards

Outstanding Contribution to Asian Cinema: Zhang Yimou

Asian Film Award for Lifetime Achievement: Amitabh Bachchan

Asian Film Award for 2009's Top-Grossing Film Dir.: John Woo

Photos: Mother (Magnolia Pictures); Face / Visage (Homegreen Films)

'The Unbroken' Tops Japanese Academy Awards

Setsuro Wakamatsu's drama The Unbroken was voted the best Japanese film of 2009 at the Japanese Academy Awards ceremony, which was held in Tokyo on March 5.

In the controversial drama, best actor winner Ken Watanabe plays an airline union leader fighting for stricter safety regulations following an air crash that left hundreds dead. Corporate corruption, however, gets in the way. The Unbroken was clearly inspired by the Japan Airlines flight 123 crash in 1985, the worst in Japan's aviation history.

Veteran cinematographer Daisaku Kimura (Tidal Wave, The Beast Shall Die) was voted best director for his directorial debut, The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones, which earned Teruyuki Kagawa the best supporting actor award for his role as a mountain guide. The tale of an attempt to climb a virgin peak in the early 1900s, The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones won a total of six awards, including best cinematography (also Kimura) and best score (Shinichirô Ikebe).

Takako Matsu won the best actress award for playing the title role in the period drama Villon's Wife, which chronicles the difficulties faced by the wife of a self-destructive writer (Tadanobu Asano).

For the second consecutive year, the best supporting actress was Kimiko Yo, this time for Dear Doctor. (Last year, Yo took home the award for her performance in the Academy Award-winning drama Departures.) Dear Doctor also won the best screenplay award for Miwa Nishikawa, the film's director-screenwriter and writer of the original novel. Dear Doctor tells the story of a village doctor (best actor nominee Tsurube Shofukutei) who is exposed as a con artist, though the locals don't seem too concerned about it.

The best animated feature was Mamoru Hosoda's Summer Wars, while Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino was voted the best foreign film.

Partial list of nominees & winners

Picture of the Year:
Villon's Wife (Kichitaro Negishi)
* The Unbroken (Setsuro Wakamatsu)
Zero Focus (Isshin Inudo)
The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones (Daisaku Kimura)
Dear Doctor (Miwa Nishikawa)

Outstanding Foreign Language Film
* Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood)
Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle)
The Changeling (Clint Eastwood)
The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky)
Red Cliff - Part 2 (John Woo)

Animation of the Year
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (Khara)
* Summer Wars (Mamoru Hosoda)
Doraemon (Shigeo Koshi)
Yona Yona Penguin (Rintaro)
Detective Conan: The Raven Chaser (Yasuichiro Yamamoto)

Director of the Year
Isshin Inudo (Zero Focus)
* Daisaku Kimura (The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones)
Kichitaro Negishi (Villon's Wife)
Miwa Nishikawa (Dear Doctor)
Setsuro Wakamatsu (The Unbroken)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Tadanobu Asano (Villon's Wife)
Tadanobu Asano (The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones)
Nao Omori (The Vulture)
Tsurube Shofukutei (Dear Doctor)
* Ken Watanabe (The Unbroken)

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Haruka Ayase (Oppai Volleyball)
Ryoko Hirosue (Zero Focus)
Du-na Bae (Airdoll)
* Takako Matsu (Villon's Wife)
Aoi Miyazaki (The Shonen Merikensack)

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Eita (Dear Doctor)
* Teruyuki Kagawa (The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones)
Masato Sakai (The Triumphant Return of General Rouge)
Tetsuji Tamayama (The Vulture)
Tomokazu Miura (The Unbroken)

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Tae Kimura (Zero Focus)
Kyoka Suzuki (The Unbroken)
Miki Nakatani (Zero Focus)
Shigeru Muroi (Villon's Wife)
* Kimiko Yo (Dear Doctor)

Screenplay of the Year
Isshin Inudo/Kenji Nakazono (Zero Focus)
Daisaku Kimura/Atsuo Kikuchi/Toshimasa Miyamura (The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones)
Yozo Tanaka (Villon's Wife)
Takuya Nishioka (The Unbroken)
* Miwa Nishikawa (Dear Doctor)

Outstanding Achievement in Music
* Shinichiro Ikebe (The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones)
Koji Ueno (Zero Focus)
Norihito Sumitomo (The Unbroken)
Shutoku Mukai (The Shonen Merikensack)
Takashi Yoshimatsu (Villon's Wife)

Special award from the chairman
Genken Nakaoka
Shuei Matsubayashi
Yoshiro Muraki

SXSW Film Festival Winners: Lena Dunhan, Guy Maddin

Writer-director Lena Dunhan's feature-film debut, Tiny Furniture was the jury prize winner for Best Narrative Feature at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, currently being held in Austin, TX. The film follows a young college grad (Dunham) who returns to her mother's TriBeCa home only to find herself mired in the same old routine. Jeff Malmberg's Marwencol was voted the Best Documentary Feature. Marwencol tells the story of a man who creates a miniature “fantasy” World War II town in his backyard in order to recover from a brain-damaging coma after he was badly beaten by five guys outside a bar.

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, Will Cannon's Brotherhood chronicles the emotional travails of a young man (Trevor Morgan) whose attempt to rob a convenience store – a last test before entering a college fraternity – goes terribly wrong. Jon Foster is also the in the cast.

Jim Bigham & Mark Moormann's For Once in My Life was the festivalgoers' choice for Best Documentary. The film focuses on the members of the Spirit of Goodwill Band, composed of mentally and physically handicapped individuals, as they get ready for “the concert of a lifetime.”

The 2010 edition of the SXSW Film Festival comes to a close on March 21.


Short Film Jury Awards


Winner: Cigarette Candy Director: Lauren Wolkstein

Runner Up: Teleglobal Dreamin' Director: Eric Flanagan


Winner: Quadrangle Director: Amy Grappell

Runner Up: White Lines and The Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug Director: Travis Senger


Winner: The Orange Director: Nick Fox-Gieg

Runner Up: One Square Mile of Earth Director: Jeff Drew


Winner: Night Mayor Director: Guy Maddin

Runner up: Kids Might Fly Director: Alex Taylor


Winner: Cinnamon Chasers, “Luv Deluxe” Director: Saman Keshavarz

Runner Up: Grizzly Bear, “Forest” Director: Allison Schulnik


Winner: Petting Sharks Director: Craig Elrod

Runner Up: The Big Bends Director: Jason William Marlow


Winner: Give the Dog a Bone Director: Edward Kelley

Runner Up: The Sleep Project Director: Whitney Bennett & Matthew Cunningham

SXSW Special Awards


Winner: Quadrangle Director: Amy Grappell

SXSW Chicken & Egg Emergent Narrative Woman Director Award

Winner: Lena Dunham for Tiny Furniture

Special Award – The Chicken & Egg Pictures “We Believe in You” Award Martha Stephens for Passenger Pigeons

SXSW Film Design Awards


Winner: Feeder Designer: Joseph Ernst

Runner Up: Amer Designer: Gilles Vranckx

Audience Award Winner: Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission Designer: Michael Anderson

Special Jury Award: Equestrian Sexual Response Designers: Martim Vian & Zeke Hawkins


Winner: Zombieland Designer: Ben Conrad

Runner Up: earthwork Designer: Stan Herd

Audience Award Winner: earthwork Designer: Stan Herd

Special Jury Award: Enter the Void Designer: Gaspar Noé and Tom Kam

Feature Film Audience Awards


Winner: For Once in My Life Director: Jim Bigham & Mark Moormann


Winner: Brotherhood Director: Will Canon


Feature Film Jury Awards


Winner: Marwencol Director: Jeff Malmberg

Runner-up: War Don Don Director: Rebecca Richman Cohen


Winner: Tiny Furniture Director: Lena Dunham

Special Jury Award – Best Ensemble: Myth of the American Sleepover Director: David Robert Mitchell

Special Jury Award – Best Individual Performance: Brian Hasenfus in Phillip the Fossil Director: Garth Donovan

'Don't Burn' Tops Vietnam's Golden Kite Awards

Veteran filmmaker Dang Nhat Minh's Don't Burn, adapted from the book Dang Thuy Tram's Diary, won six awards at Vietnam's 8th Golden Kite Awards, held at the Friendship Palace in Hanoi on Sunday, March 14.

Don't Burn won awards for Best Feature, Best Actress (newcomer Minh Huong), Best Director, Best Production Design, Best Sound Effects, and the Audience Award.

Don't Burn starts out in the spring of 2005, when an older woman living in Hanoi receives a diary. The diary chronicles the painful link between Vietnam and the United States as told by a young doctor (Huong) working at a National Liberation Front hospital from 1968 until her death two years later. Several months ago, Don't Burn won the Golden Lotus Award at the country's National Film Festival. It was also Vietnam's submission for the 2010 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

The Golden Kite's Best Actor winner was Trinh Hoi for his film debut, 14 Days, the story of a Vietnamese expatriate who spends his two-week vacation in his home country, which is vastly different from what he remembered.

Bui Thac Chuyen's Adrift, winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, received the Golden Kite for Best Cinematography (Ly Thai Dung).

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1 Comment to Bong Joon-ho 'Mother' Tops Asian Film Awards + 'The Unbroken' Wins Japanese Academy Awards

  1. Ben Wilson

    This lady is an example for the world to understand and remember frever. War is hell and Last Night I Dreamed of Peace shall live forever in our hearts and minds !! We love this lady who served her country so well.