The Golden Era tops Hong Kong Film Awards

HONG KONG (AFP) - The Golden Era, a biopic of an acclaimed Chinese writer in the 1930s, on Sunday won praise from the city's prestigious film academy, scooping five prizes including best movie at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

The three-hour drama tells the story of renowned novelist Xiao Hong, whose short life battered by disease and political unrest was set against her literary success.

In the ceremony at the southern Chinese city's harbourside Cultural Centre, the film snapped up the awards for best costume and make up, best cinematography and best art direction, as well as best director for Ann Hui On-wah.

"I am feeling very thankful. It wasn't an easy one to make. It took a lot of trial and error," Hui told reporters at backstage.

Thriller Overheard 3 also won three gongs at the glittering ceremony which, together with Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards, is one of the Chinese film industry's most prestigious events.

Overheard 3 revolves around a row between developers over a controversial residential project in one of Hong Kong's lesser-known rural towns.

The movie's star Sean Lau Ching-wan took home the best actor title.

"I want to thank every one who loves Hong Kong and Hong Kong movies," Lau, who played a villager-turned property tycoon in the film, said.

The best actress prize went to Chinese favourite Zhao Wei, who played a foster mother in "Dearest" - beating out compatriot Tang Wei, who was nominated for her role as Xiao Hong in "The Golden Era".

The night also proved to be prolific for Ivana Wong, who was named best new performer and best supporting actress for her role as a prostitute in Golden Chicken SSS.

Wong said: "When I am shooting the next movie I will feel the pressure."