Hongkong critics rate 'Election' as best film

Johnny To's gunmen drama "Election" was named best film of 2005 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, and To also clinched best director honors for the film, the group said on its Web site Tuesday. Tony Leung Ka-fai was the best actor for his portrayal of a man secretly in love with a Shanghai beauty in "Everlasting Regret," said the critics, who plan to hand out the awards at a ceremony on February 22.

China's Zhou Xun was best actress for playing a movie star caught between her current and past loves in the musical "Perhaps Love," the critics said.

The best script writer prize went to Wong Jing, who penned the crime drama "Color of the Loyalty."

The critics group said in a statement that "Election" was "a ripe masterpiece in the Hong Kong-style mobster film genre." The movie follows the rivalry of two Hong Kong gang bosses angling for a top leadership spot.

The critics said Leung, also a best actor contender for "Election," offered "total control over his acting skills" and Zhou was noted for "fine eye expressions and rich body language."

In "Everlasting Regret," Leung "emits the tirelessness of an obsessional crush, whether it's a sentimental monologue or a caring eye expression," the critics said.

The critics honors for "Election" offer some measure of redemption for To, who missed out on the major prizes at the recent Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan, the Chinese-language equivalent of the Oscars.

Tsui Hark's kung fu epic "Seven Swords" didn't receive any top honors from the movie critics. But it was named one of the year's recommended films, as was "Initial D," the movie based on a Japanese comic book about street car racers that marked the first leading role for Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou.

The other recommended films are "Sha Po Lang," "Color of the Loyalty," "Home Sweet Home," "Crazy and the City," "Perhaps Love" and "Everlasting Regret.", reports the AP.

D.M.