China’s ‘Mystery’ vies for Golden Horse film award

November 24, 2012 • Entertainment

FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2010, Taiwanese [auth] director Niu Chen Zer smiles during a media event announcing his film “Monga” in Taipei, Taiwan. Golden Horse-nominated director Niu said he gets tremendous joy doing work he loves and he’s found a new way to share it with the world. His company, Honto Productions, is joining with another Taiwan-based film company, Atom Cinema, to release eight television and film projects over three years. China’s Huayi Brothers will be an investment and distribution partner in the collaboration announced Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A dark melodrama by an oft-censored Chinese director heads entries in the best film category at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film festival, catapulting mainland cinema to center stage at the event considered the Chinese-language Oscars.

Lou Ye’s “Mystery” tells the story of a mild-mannered woman who mounts a radical revenge after uncovering her husband’s infidelity.

Aside from best picture award, Lou is also up for best director and Hao Lei, “Mystery”’s female protagonist, is a candidate for best actress.

Lou’s films, which have long focused on sensitive subjects like sex, violence and politics, have repeatedly been censored by China’s cultural authorities. He was prohibited from filmmaking for five years after submitting “Summer Palace” — about a generation’s awakening and disillusionment — to the Cannes Film Festival without government approval in 2006.

“Mystery” is seen as marking Lou’s entry into the commercial mainstream after years on the social and artistic edge, though his Chinese microblog says that censors asked him — and he agreed — to delete some violent scenes from the film.

In the best picture category, “Mystery” faces tough competition from Hong Kong director Johnnie To’s “Life Without Principle,” a movie about ordinary citizens caught in the fallout of the global financial meltdown. To is also up for best director, while veteran actor Lau Ching Wan, who portrays a triad thug seeking to recover money lost in a loan shark scheme is seen as a hot contender for best actor.

Taiwan-made “Gf-Bf” has seven nominations, including for film and director. Its best shot may be in the best actor category, where Joseph Chang portrays a gay man in a romantic triangle involving three former high-school classmates.

Also competing for the best film award are China’s “Beijing Blues,” about plainclothes crime-hunters, and “The Bullet Vanishes,” a Hong Kong-China co-production about a detective investigating a series of murders in Shanghai of the 1930s.

The awards ceremony is Saturday evening.

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