The second Australian Film Festival starts this weekend and movie fans can look on it as a warm-up for the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. Six quality films from Down Under will be showcased at the Changchun Cinema (長春戲院) in Taipei.
Ned Kelly, starring two budding Hollywood stars, Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom, will hold its Taiwan premiere at the festival. The film is, in a way, an Australian version of the Robin Hood story, a true tale about the life of 19th century Australian criminal-hero Ned Kelly. The cast includes Australia-based stars Geoffrey Rush and Naomi Watts.
Japanese Story is another film you should not miss. It swept last year's Australian Film Institute awards, with Toni Collette taking the best-actress award. The story tells of an encounter between a geologist and her Japanese client on a road trip. Stuck in the desert, the two people from differing cultural backgrounds and with opposing personalities fall for each other. But there is a twist toward the end of the trip.
This Saturday is also the start day of single ticket sales of the Golden Horse Film Festival. Be aware that holders of the rainbow package tickets have booked seats for many popular movies. So, tomorrow might be your last chance to get a seat for movies such as The Motorcycle Diaries, about the youth experiences of Che Guevara, Anything Else by Woody Allen, Coffee and Cigarettes by Jim Jarmusch, and Hou Hsiao-hsien's (侯孝賢) Cafe Lumiere. These movies, which usually have two screening sessions, have already sold out for one of them.
The 41st Golden Horse Awards (金馬獎) is to take place Dec. 4 in Taichung. The nominations were announced last week and fans of Andy Lau (劉德華) and Tony Leung (梁朝偉) are having the jitters again, as the two stars will battle once more for the best-actor title.
Like the scenario in the film Infernal Affairs (無間道), where Andy Lau battles with his rival character Tony Leung until the last minute of the movie, last year Leung took home the Golden Horse with only one vote in the last round.
This year, Lau was nominated for the film Infernal Affairs III (無間道III), where he plays a police spy driven insane by the fear of his true identity being revealed. Leung was nominated for 2046, playing a hedonistic writer in the 1960s. The duo will be competing against Jacky Chang (張學友) in Golden Chicken 2 and Duobuji for Kekexili.
Wang Kar Wai's (王家衛) romantic drama 2046 took the lead in the number of nominations, with eight award categories, including best picture, best actor and best actress categories and best cinematography.
For the best-picture category, 2046 will be battling with Chinese film Kekexili by Lu Chuan (陸川), a film about a mysterious murder in the remote Tibetan highlands. There will also be the Taiwanese drama The Moon also Rises (月光下我記得) by Lin Cheng-sheng (林正盛) and two Hong Kong action films ? Breaking News (大事件) by Johnnie To (杜琪峰) and One Nite in Mongkok(旺角黑夜) by Derek Yee (爾冬陞).
To the surprise of many, Wong Kar Wai himself was not nominated for the best director category. This auteur had received best director nominations for all his previous films, such as In the Mood For Love (花樣年華), Days of Being Wild (阿飛正傳) and Chungking Express (重慶森林).
Actress Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) was nominated for the nest actress category in 2046, where she plays a charming social butterfly falling for Tony Leung's character. It is Zhang's second Golden Horse nomination. She was the Best Actress nominee for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000.