Taiwan's entertainment industry geared up Sunday for the annual Golden Horse Awards the Chinese-speaking world's equivalent to the Oscars with films from Taiwan and Hong Kong battling for top honors.
The awards are to be presented at a gala ceremony in the northern port city of Keelung Sunday night, and online punters are putting their money on the Hong Kong gangster film "Election," and "Three Times," a Taiwanese romance, to come out on top.
The films' cachet is underscored by their success in combining art house sensibility with commercial appeal.
"Election" is a tightly written crime thriller about a feud between two gangsters who both aspire to lead the gang.
Spooky Chinese gang rituals add to the intrigue. A brilliant ensemble cast offers a colorful assortment of characters. Director Johnny To skillfully juxtaposes the theme of honor with ruthless and cunning power plays.
"Three Times" is a sensual examination of three love affairs in three different eras. Actress Shu Qi shows her versatility, playing a sweet pool hall hostess indulging in puppy love, a restrained courtesan, and a hedonistic rock singer who cheats on her female lover with a male photographer.
Another strong contender for best picture is Feng Xiaogang's "A World Without Thieves," starring Hong Kong star Andy Lau. It's about thieves who vie for a country boy's cash on a train traveling through China's frontier.
Shu's performance in "Three Times" makes her a heavy favorite for best actress. Hong Kong singer Miriam Yeung is also a candidate for her portrayal of a beer promoter who falls for her business partner in "Drink, Drank, Drunk."
But Taiwanese actress Michelle Krusiec could surprise with her performance as a Chinese-American lesbian who juggles the demands of her girlfriend and widowed mother in the Will Smith-co-produced "Saving Face."
The American-reared Krusiec is all the more impressive because the tomboy nature of her character is completely at odds with her glamorous female personna, reported AP. P.T.
Many in Russia reacted painfully to the disappearance of private military company Wagner from the information field