HONG KONG - Our Time Will Come, Ann Hui's wartime drama, won Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday night, and Hui was honoured as Best Director for the sixth time.
The movie, about the little-known resistance movement of leftist guerillas in Hong Kong during the Second Sino-Japanese War, collected five prizes in total, including Best Art Direction, Best Score and a third Best Supporting Actress award for Deanie Ip.
And Sunday proved third time lucky for Louis Koo and Teresa Mo, who finally won Best Actor and Best Actress in their third attempts, said Ming Pao Daily News.
Koo's win, for his portrayal of a police negotiator looking for his missing daughter in Thailand in Paradox, was expected. So was Mo's, for her portrayal of a housewife taking care of an autistic son in Tomorrow Is Another Day.
On stage, Koo clenched his fists, sighed, and produced a note from his pocket, said Ming Pao. He said he had been reflecting on "how Hong Kong people are to make Hong Kong movies", especially when veteran director, writer and actor Chor Yuen was honoured with a lifetime achievement award earlier in the evening.
He remembered Chor giving him a piece of advice on the set of a TVB show, which "I have been learning from till today": "Remember to never give up on any scene, and any line of dialogue. Go over it once and again and yet again because you can't give up making a good movie."
Thanking his family, Koo, 47, also said: "I'm a full-grown adult who still lives with my family. Every morning my mother wakes me up. I can't not live with my family because a person needs his family's support, just as Hong Kong cinema needs everyone's support to do better."
Mo said she did not prepare a speech because she was afraid she would be disappointed again. She thanked her bosses; "everyone who voted for me"; close friends including actresses Ada Choi, Candice Yu and Margie Tsang; her two daughters; and her husband, director Tony Au.
Mo, 58, said of Au, 64: "He helped me a lot with this movie and gave me a lot of opinions. I know you're not satisfied, but I want to tell you, 'I got it,' and I promise to do better in future."
Hui, surprised to win Best Director again, said: "I don't want to be nominated again, my heart can't bear it."
The 70-year-old thanked her cast and crew, "especially guest actor Ray Lui, for supporting me in my wish to film Hong Kong history".
Besides Our Time Will Come, Wilson Yip's action thriller Paradox and Sylvia Chang's generational drama Love Education had come to the ceremony as strong contenders. In addition to Best Actor, Paradox won Best Action Choreography for Sammo Hung and Best Sound Design. Love Education won Best Screenplay for Chang.
The crime drama Chasing The Dragon went home with cinematography and editing awards.
Philip Keung was named Best Supporting Actor for the bomb disposal thriller Shock Wave. Theatre actor Ling Man Lung won Best New Performer for his role as the autistic son in Tomorrow Is Another Day and theatre actress Kearen Pang, Best New Director for an adaptation of her one-woman play 29+1.
In an emotional acceptance speech, Keung, 51, said: "It's really me. I've never had good luck. But in recent years, I've met many good people, prosperous people, so many that I was scared I would die."
He thanked a list of people, including his co-star Andy Lau, director Herman Yau, and his boss Louis Koo.
Chor, 83, made a rare public appearance on Sunday, accompanied by his wife, actress Nan Hong, and their young granddaughter, said Ming Pao. Despite rumours that he was suffering from a degenerative brain disease, he gave quite a speech.
"In being given this prize, I'm being forced to say, 'I am not worthy,'" said the director of Shaw movies such as Killer Clans (1976) and Death Duel (1977).
Recalling his ups and downs, he said: "I once broke the Hong Kong box office record. The company signed a new contract with me, increased my pay by 10 times, and made me the luckiest director.
"Ten years later, after shooting a few poorer films, I wanted to shoot Demi-Gods And Semi-Devils. On the opening day of the shoot, Mona Fong came to tear up the notice and tell me not to shoot. She said, 'Who let you shoot? Will you pay for the loss? Chor Yuen doesn't understand the art of film at all.' I then became the most embarassing director of Shaw Brothers Studio."
Life is made of cheers and tears, and he believes in constantly looking ahead, he said. "I'm so old that I'm no longer working. This time I've got my senior citizen card, and it should be okay to 'pay no mind to thousands of things in the world, but laugh quietly twice or thrice in an idle moment'."