Sun, Dec 14, 2003 - Page 17 News List

Best Picture Nominees

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Blind Shaft 盲井

Infernal Affairs (無間道)

Directed by Andrew Lau (劉偉強) and Alex Mak (麥兆輝)

Leading parallel lives, Ming and Yan are feeling increasingly trapped in their false surroundings. Ming would like to sever all ties with his illegal past and become a real cop. To do so would mean the elimination of Sam, the triad leader who sent him to the police academy to be a spy. For Yan, he is sick and tired of chopping people up in the name of justice and is striving to regain his real identity. Only one person can help him: Superintendent Wong, the man who recruited him as an undercover cop. Ming and Yan's paths finally cross each other one fateful evening. During a police attempt to topple Sam's drug deal, both sides realize there's a mole amongst themselves. A series of cat-and-mouse chases ensue, as each side competes to uncover their mole first. To make things even more chaotic, Ming is finally promoted to probationary inspector and is transferred to Internal Affairs. His first assignment is to uncover Sam's mole in the police department...

PTU

Directed by Jonnie To (杜琪鋒)

On a long and suspenseful evening, a group of young punks are causing trouble. The son of a gang leader is stabbed dead and a police officer loses his gun in a fight. Meanwhile, two PTU (Police Tactical Unit) teams are patrolling the harbor area and a gang leader is poised to avenge his dead son. All these elements are wrapped up in a final showdown -- a bullet-flying, blood-spraying fight.

The background to Johnnie To's first movie after The Mission (2000) follows a string of events that begins in a restaurant, when Lo, a jaded-looking police sergeant has a run-in with Ponytail, the son of notorious gangster boss Bald Head. Lo goes out to fight the punk friends of Ponytail, while Ponytail is mysteriously assassinated inside the eatery. Lo loses his gun during the scuffle.

To find the gun and not be reported to his superior, Lo has to find information on the dead Ponytail's cellphone. He steals the phone but this makes him a suspect in the investigation of Ponytail's death. A meeting of the various parties is set for 4am in the harbor area.

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (不散)

Directed by Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮)

This film is Tsai Ming-liang's elegy lamenting the close-down of a Taipei County cinema, which not coincidentally echoes the depressing state of Taiwan cinema.

In pouring rain, a young Japanese tourist enters a run-down cinema during its last day of operation. The signboard outside says "Now showing: Dragon Inn," which was a classic martial arts film of the 1960s.

Inside the theater are empty seats. The tourist is obviously not there to appreciate the classic movie, instead he is looking for sexual adventure, as this cinema has been used as a gay meeting spot. He has no luck with just the few unattractive and old men in the place. Strangely some of the old people resemble those martial actors in the movie.

The Missing (不見)

Directed by Lee Kang-sheng (李康生)

This film is Lee Kang-sheng's impressive debut feature and shows obvious potential. Though heavily influenced by his mentor Tsai Ming-liang -- especially in terms of the camera angles and narrative -- Lee presents his own message.

An elderly woman loses her grandson in a local park. She desperately looks for him around the park, listens to broadcast services, goes to the police station and even borrows the loudspeaker from street vendors to find the kid. Back home, she calls on her dead husband for help, but to no avail.

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