The Assassin dominates Asian Film Award nominations

Port Of Call makes a splash for newcomer Jessie Li.

by Jennie Kermode

Shu Qi in The Assassin
Shu Qi in The Assassin

The nominations for this year's Asian Film Awards were revealed today, and Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin has taken a clear lead with Best Film and Best Director nominations as well as nod in several other categories, including Best Actress for Shu Qi. The actress, who plays a woman challenged to prove her mettle by killing her betrothed in the Taiwanese epic, has been nominated for a major award almost every year since 2005, when she won Best Actress at the Golden Horse Film Festival for her performance in Three Times. The Assassin may prove a controversial choice, attracting scorn from some critics after it premiered at Cannes last year, but Shu Qi has defended it vigorously and has received widespread praise for her acting in it.

Also making a big impression this year is Philip Yung's first film as both writer and director, Port Of Call, which has won him a Best Screenplay nomination while showcasing the talents of Kunming actress Jessi Li, who is up for Best Newcomer. There are also nominations for Mountains May Depart and Journey To The Shore, both of which are screening at the Glasgow Film Festival later this month.

This will be the 10th year that the awards have been held, which are open to any films produced and exhibited in Asia during the previous year. The winners will be presented with their prizes at a ceremony in Macao on 17 March.

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