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ViuTV's Margaret and David series returns with third installment

  March 22, 2024  
Hong Kong rising movie stars Fish Liew (A Guilty Conscience) and Chan Charm Man (Table For Six) lead ViuTV's new drama Tie, the third installment of the hit Margaret and David series. NFMT, the author of the same-titled original novel, works as the producer and scriptwriter of the romance drama.

Helmed by A Light Never Goes Out director Anastasia Tsang, Margaret and David - Tie stars Fish Liew as Margaret and Chan Charm Man as David, an ex-couple bound by lingering feelings and tangled relationships as they bond with new flames played by Taiwan actor Fu Meng Po (Day Off) and Michelle Wai (Ready o/r Knot). The cast of the romance drama also includes Chung Suet Ying (The Lyricist Wannabe), Phoebus Ng (I SWIM), Lo Chun Yip (Time Still Turns The Pages) and Rachel Leung (In Broad Daylight).

Margaret and David - Tie is set to premiere on March 25 on ViuTV.

Text / Violet

The Boy and the Heron and Godzilla Minus One win at Oscars

  March 12, 2024  
Two Japanese films walked away with Oscars at the 96th Academy Awards held on March 10, 2024.

Miyazaki Hayao's period fantasy The Boy and the Heron won Best Animated Feature, marking the legendary animation director's second Oscar win following Spirited Away in 2002. A meditation on life, death and loss, The Boy and the Heron follows a grieving boy's haunting journey into another world. The Boy and the Heron and Spirited Away are the only two hand-drawn animation films to have won Best Animated Feature since the award category's inception in 2001.

Yamazaki Takashi's Godzilla Minus One beat out Hollywood films with far bigger budgets to win Best Visual Effects, marking the first time a Japanese film has won in this category. It is also the first Oscar win for the 70-year-old Godzilla franchise. A reimagining of the rise of the original Godzilla in postwar Japan, Godzilla Minus One previously swept eight prizes at the 47th Japan Academy Film Prize.

Text / Sanwei

Evil Does Not Exist takes top prize at 17th Asian Film Awards

  March 10, 2024  
The 17th Asian Film Awards was held in Hong Kong on March 10, 2024. Hamaguchi Ryusuke's Evil Does Not Exist won Best Film, marking the director's second work to win the top prize following last year's Drive My Car. Japanese auteur Kore-eda Hirokazu also won Best Director for the second consecutive year – and third time ever – with Monster.

Following wins at the Cannes Film Festival and Japan Academy Film Prize, Yakusho Koji picked up another Best Actor for his role as a Tokyo toilet cleaner in Perfect Days. Chinese actress Jiang Qinqin won Best Actress for her performance as a mother who gets duped into a fraud scheme in Dwelling by the West Lake

Hong Kong actress Rachel Leung from In Broad Daylight was named Best Supporting Actress, while Park Hoon was named Best Supporting Actor for Korean historical drama 12:12 The Day, which also picked up Best Editing. Mongolian actor Tergel Bold-Erdene from City of Wind won Best Newcomer, and Hong Kong filmmaker Nick Cheuk won Best New Director for Time Still Turns the Pages.

Late Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden's posthumous work Snow Leopard was recognized for Best Screenplay as well as Best Cinematography. Hong Kong film The Goldfinger (Best Production Design, Best Costume Design) and Japanese film Godzilla Minus One (Best Visual Effects, Best Sound) both received two technical prizes. Ishibashi Eiko, who won Best Original Music last year for Drive My Car, took the prize again this year for Evil Does Not Exist.

Legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and his period blockbuster Full River Red was also the Highest-Grossing Asian Film of 2023. Korean actress Lee Young Ae and Japanese actor Suzuki Ryohei were recognized with this year's Excellence in Asian Cinema Awards. Popular Chinese actress Zhao Liying received the AFA Next Generation Award, and new-generation Thai actor Win Metawin Opas-iamkajorn received the AFA Rising Star Award.

Text / Sanwei

Godzilla Minus One wins Best Film at 47th Japan Academy Film Prize

  March 10, 2024  
Godzilla Minus One swept eight prizes at the 47th Japan Academy Film Prize held on March 8, 2024. Reimagining the rise of the original Godzilla in postwar Japan, Yamazaki Takashi's kaiju blockbuster garnered Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Lighting Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Recording, Best Film Editing and a second consecutive Best Supporting Actress for Ando Sakura, who also won her third Japan Academy Best Actress trophy for Monster.

German filmmaker Wim Wenders was named Best Director for Perfect Days, a drama about the simple life of a Tokyo toilet cleaner played by Yakusho Koji, who won Best Actor for the fourth time. Best Supporting Actor went to Isomura Hayatao for his performance in Ishii Yuya's The Moon.

Miyazaki Hayao's The Boy and the Hero was awarded Animation of the Year. Jazz anime film Blue Giant won for Best Music.

Newcomer of the Year prizes were presented to Aina the End (Kyrie), Hara Nanoka (Don't Call It Mystery), Sakurada Hiyori (Our Secret Diary), Fukuhara Haruka (Till We Meet Again on the Lily Hill), Somegoro Ichikawa VIII (The Legend and Butterfly), Takahashi Fumiya (Our Secret Diary) and Monster's Hiiragi Hinata and Kurokawa Soya.

Text / Sanwei

Netflix's live-action City Hunter premieres in April 2024

  February 26, 2024  
Netflix's live-action City Hunter film based on Hojo Tsukasa's iconic manga will be released worldwide in April 2024. City Hunter follows the exploits of Saeba Ryo, a skirt-chasing but highly skilled private detective who takes on various cases in Tokyo.

Suzuki Ryohei takes on the role of protagonist Saeba Ryo in City Hunter, which is set in modern-day Shinjuku. Ando Masanobu plays Ryo's partner Makimura Hideyuki, and Morita Misato plays Makimura Kaori, Hideyuki's younger sister who becomes Ryo's partner after Hideyuki is killed. Kimura Tae also appears in the film directed by Sato Yuichi (Strawberry Night) and written by Mishima Tatsuro (Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead).

There have been multiple Japanese anime adaptations of City Hunter as well as a 1993 live-action Hong Kong film starring Jackie Chan, but Netflix's new film is the first Japanese live-action adaptation.

City Hunter will start streaming globally on Netflix on April 25.

Text / Sanwei

Matsuzaka Tori & Yakusho Koji star in Yuki no Hana adaptation

  February 24, 2024  
Matsuzaka Tori, Yakusho Koji and Yoshine Kyoko will co-star in veteran filmmaker Koizumi Takashi's adaptation of Yoshimura Akira's novel Yuki no Hana. Published in 1988, Yuki no Hana ("Snow Flower") is set in the late Edo period and depicts the true story of physician Kasahara Ryosaku (1809-1880) who fought against smallpox, which claimed many lives at the time.

Matsuzaka Tori plays Kasahara Ryosaku, a town doctor from Fukui domain who learns that a reliable method of preventing smallpox has been introduced from a foreign country. He asks Hino Teisai (Yakusho Koji), a Dutch doctor in Kyoto, to teach him the method, and uses his own money to bring smallpox vaccines to Fukui. Despite facing various difficulties and risks, Kasahara persists in fighting against the disease with the support of his wife, Chiho (Yoshine Kyoko).

Yuki no Hana will be released in Japan on January 24, 2025.

Text / Sanwei

NCT Dream, Seventeen, IVE & Stray Kids win at 31st Hanteo Music Awards

  February 19, 2024  
The 31st Hanteo Music Awards 2023 was held on February 17-18 at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul. NCT Dream (Best Artist), Seventeen (Best Album, FML), IVE (Best Song, I AM) and Stray Kids (Best Performance) were honored with Grand Prizes at the ceremony.

Winners of Bonsang – Artist of the Year include aespa, ATEEZ, ENHYPEN, (G)I-DLE, IVE, Jimin, Jung Kook, LE SSERAFIM, NCT 127, NCT Dream, NewJeans, Seventeen, Stray Kids, TXT, V and ZEROBASEONE, who also took home the Rookie of the Year award alongside tripleS. Trot stars Lee Chan Won and Lim Young Woong won the Post Generation Award and WhosFandom Award respectively, while TEMPEST and VIVIZ walked off with the Emerging Artist Awards.

Global Artist Awards were presented to Jimin (Oceania and South America), TXT (Asia and North America) and V (Africa and Europe). Special Awards went to Parc Jae Jung (Ballad), Xdinary Heroes (Band), B.I (Hip-hop), Young Tak (Trot) and PLAVE (Virtual Artist). aespa was named Best Trend Leader and Global Generation Icon, while NMIXX and KISS OF LIFE were recognized as Global Outstanding Artist and Global Rising Artist respectively. Billlie and VANNER were the Hanteo Choice K-pop Female and Male Artists.

RIIZE won Next Worldwide Artist award, while ATEEZ walked away with Top Global Performer. VIVIZ received Popular Performance Group, and Kep1er came away with the Popular Global Group award. Daybreak and Jeong Dong Won collected Popular Band Artist and Popular Solo Artist, respectively. YB was hailed as Legend Rock Icon. Other award recipients include LUCY (Favorite Band Performance), Kim Jae Hwan (Favorite Vocal Performance), Libelante (Favorite Crossover Group), 8TURN (Blooming Performance Group) and JUST B (Blooming Star).

Text / Violet

In Broad Daylight leads 42nd Hong Kong Film Awards nominations

  February 8, 2024  
Nominations for the 42nd Hong Kong Film Awards have been announced. Lawrence Kan's In Broad Daylight, based on true events concerning shocking wrongdoings at a residential care home for persons with disabilities, leads with 16 nominations across nearly every category. Nick Cheuk's family drama Time Still Turns the Pages and Felix Chong's crime drama The Goldfinger follow with 12 nominations, while Soi Cheang's crime thriller Mad Fate and Jack Ng's courtroom blockbuster A Guilty Conscience both garnered 10 nominations.

In Broad Daylight, Time Still Turns the Pages, The Goldfinger, Mad Fate and A Guilty Conscience are all nominated for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Lawrence Kan, Nick Cheuk and Jack Ng are also in the Best New Director category along with Sasha Chuk (Fly Me to The Moon) and Jonathan Li (Dust to Dust).

HKFA regular Tony Leung (The Goldfinger) is joined in the Best Actor race by Bowie Lam (In Broad Daylight), Lo Chun Yip (Time Still Turns The Pages), Dayo Wong (A Guilty Conscience) and Da Peng (Dust to Dust). Singer Kay Tse (Band Four), Michelle Wai (Ready O/R Rot), Jennifer Yu (In Broad Daylight), Louise Wong (A Guilty Conscience) and Chung Suet Ying (The Lyricist Wannabe) are nominated for Best Actress. Kay Tse also received a nod in the Best Original Film Song category.

Best Supporting Actor nominations went to David Chiang (In Broad Daylight), Sean Wong (Time Still Turns The Pages), Jiro Lee (Over My Dead Body), Wu Kang Ren (Fly Me To The Moon) and Tse Kwan Ho (A Guilty Conscience). A Guilty Conscience's Renci Yeung and Fish Liew are both nominated for Best Supporting Actress alongside Elaine Jin (Ready O/R Rot), Rachel Leung (In Broad Daylight) and Rosa Maria Velasco (Time Still Turns The Pages). The nominees for Best New Performer are Ng Ping (Say I Do To Me), Rondi Chan (Band Four), Hui Yuet Sheung (In Broad Daylight), Curtis Ho (Time Still Turns The Pages) and Yoyo Tse (Fly Me To The Moon), who previously won Best New Performer at the Golden Horse Film Awards.

Among the technical categories, Best Action Choreography nods went to Mad Fate (Wong Wai Leung), Donnie Yen's Sakra (Kenji Tanigaki, Yan Hwa), Herman Yau's The White Storm 3: Heaven or Hell (Li Chung Chi), Jason Kwan's I Did It My Way (Chin Ka Lok) and Dante Lam's Bursting Point (Tung Wai), which is also nominated for Best Sound Design and Best Visual Effects. Nate Ki's horror film Back Home received two nods for Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects.

The 42nd Hong Kong Film Awards presentation ceremony will be held on April 14.

Text / Sanwei

30th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards

  January 15, 2024  
The winners of the 30th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards were announced on January 15. Soi Cheang's crime thriller Mad Fate starring Gordon Lam and MIRROR's Lokman Yeung was selected the Best Film of 2023.

Jonathan Li won Best Director for the crime film Dust to Dust. Taiwan actor Wu Kang Ren, who recently won Best Actor at the Golden Horse Awards for Abang Adik, wins another Best Actor, this time for his performance in Fly Me to the Moon which also earned the Best Screenplay prize for writer-director Sasha Chuk. Jennifer Yu was named Best Actress for her role in Lawrence Kan's In Broad Daylight.

Eight films received special mention as recommended films of merit: Dust to Dust, Fly Me to the Moon, In Broad Daylight, Nick Cheuk's Time Still Turns the Pages, Felix Chong's The Goldfinger, Dora Choi and Haider Kikabhoy's documentary To Be Continued, Ann Hui's documentary Elegies and Norris Wong's The Lyricist Wannabe.

Text / Sanwei

12.12: The Day and Evil Does Not Exist lead 17th Asian Film Awards Nominations

  January 12, 2024  
Nominations for the 17th Asian Film Awards were announced at a press conference held in Hong Kong on January 12, 2024. It was also revealed that this year's award ceremony will be held on March 10 at the Xiqu Centre of the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. Japanese director Kurosara Kiyoshi will serve as the Jury President and lead a panel of judges to decide on this year's winners. Taiwanese actor Liu Kuan Ting, Thai actor Mario Maurer, Japanese actor Miyazawa Hio and Hong Kong actor Will Or have been selected as this year's Youth Ambassadors.

35 films from 24 countries and region have been shortlisted to compete for 16 awards. Korean film 12.12: The Days and Japanese film Evil Does Not Exist are both nominated in six categories, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. 12.12: The Days is also nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, while Evil Does Not Exist is up for Best Screenplay and Best Original Music as well. They will compete with Paradise, Perfect Days and Snow Leopard for Best Film. Kim Sung Soo (12.12: The Day), Hamaguchi Ryusuke (Evil Does Not Exist) and Prasanna Vithanage (Paradise) will compete with Gu Xiaogang (Dwelling by the West Lake) and last year's winner Kore-eda Hirokazu (Monster) for Best Director.

Hong Kong films Time Still Turns the Pages and The Goldfinger each receive three nominations. Tony Leung Chiu Wai (The Goldfinger), last year's AFA Best Actor winner, is shortlisted for the award again along with 12.12: The Day's Hwang Jung Min, Full River Red's Shen Teng, Perfect Days' Yakusho Koji and Abang Adik's Wu Kang Ren, who recently won Best Actor at the Golden Horse Awards. Trouble Girl's Audrey Lin, who was crowned Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards, is up for the title at the AFA again with Dwelling by the West Lake's Jiang Qinqin, Sleep's Jung Yu Mi, The Breaking Ice's Zhou Dongyu, and Yoko's Kikuchi Rinko.

Visit the Asian Film Awards official website for full list of nominations.

Text / Violet

Hins Cheung, Panther Chan & MIRROR win at Ultimate Song Chart Awards 2023

  January 2, 2024  
Hong Kong's Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation 2023 was held on January 1 at the AsiaWorld-Expo. Panther Chan was the biggest winner of the night with four major awards, including Ultimate Female Singer – Gold, Favorite Female Singer, Ultimate Singer-songwriter – Silver, and Top Song of the Year ("Bungee Gum"). Hins Cheung took home the Ultimate Top Song of the Year with "Imaginary Fairground," as well as the Favorite Male Singer trophy again after ten years. MIRROR was crowned Favorite Group for the third consecutive year, and member Keung To received the Favorite Song of the Year award again with "The Ocean," which was selected as one of the ten Top Songs of the Year as well.

The rest of the Top Song of the Year winners include Gin Lee's Dum Dum. RubberBand's "Let's Take a Walk," Lolly Talk's "Set a Fire," On Chan's "Still You Still Me," MC Cheung Tinfu's "The One For U," Jay Fung's "Yes, I Know I Know," and Gigi Yim's Little Magic. Jason Chan's in Rhythm was named Ultimate Album of the Year.

Terence Lam again came first in Ultimate Male Singer and Ultimate Singer-songwriter categories as the Gold winner, along with the Ultimate Composer award. MC Cheung Tinfu was presented Ultimate Male Singer – Silver, while MIRROR's Ian Chan received Ultimate Singer-songwriter – Bronze for the second year in a row, alongside his first-ever Ultimate Male Singer – Bronze award. Gin Lee and Serrini picked up Ultimate Female Singer – Silver and Bronze. Dear Jane, Lolly Talk and COLLAR were recognized as Ultimate Group – Gold, Silver and Bronze, respectively.

Jeffrey Ngai, COLLAR's Marf and Beanies were the Gold winners of the Ultimate Male, Female and Group Newcomers, respectively. Other recipients of the Ultimate Newcomers award include Felix Lam, P1X3L's Marco Ip, Nancy Kwai, sica, XiX and N9. Wyman Wong collected his tenth Ultimate Lyricist trophy. Edward Chan walked away with Ultimate Music Producer award, and Ultimate Music Arranger went to Nick Wong.

Text / Violet

Kingdom 4 returns in summer 2024

  December 16, 2023  
The Japanese Kingdom film series returns with its fourth installment Kingdom: Daishogun no Kikan in summer 2024. Based on Haru Yasuhisa's manga, the period war epic series reimagining the history of China's ancient Warring States period began in 2019 with the first Kingdom, and was followed with two sequels in 2022 and 2023. Like past entries, Kingdom 4 is directed by Sato Shinsuke and written by Kuroiwa Tsutomu.

Yamazaki Kento continues to star in the leading role of young warrior Shin who assists Yoshizawa Ryo’s King Eisei (Qin Shi Huang). Kikkawa Koji joins the franchise as their strongest enemy Houken, and Oguri Shun as mysterious strategist Riboku. Other regular cast members of the film series including Nana Seino, Tamaki Hiroshi, Osawa Takao, Sato Koichi, Nagasawa Masami, Yamada Yuki and Yamamoto Koji reprise their roles.

Kingdom 4 will be released in Japan on July 12, 2024.

Text / Sanwei

NewJeans, IVE & NCT Dream win Daesang at 15th Melon Music Awards

  December 6, 2023  
The 15th Melon Music Awards (MMA) was held on December 2. Following wins at MAMA 2023, NewJeans again took home two Grand Prizes – Artist of the Year and Song of the Year (Ditto) – alongside Top 10 Artist, Millions Top 10 Artist (Get Up) and Best Female Group awards. IVE's first album I've IVE and NCT Dream were crowned Album of the Year and Record of the Year, respectively, and they both also made it to Top 10 Artist and Millions Top 10 Artist (I've IVE and ISTJ). NCT Dream received the Best Male Group award as well.

Besides the aforementioned groups, (G)I-DLE (I feel), aespa (My World), Jung Kook (Seven feat. Latto), LE SSERAFIM (UNFORGIVEN), Lim Young Woong (Do or Die) and Seventeen (FML) all grabbed both Top 10 Artist and Millions Top 10 Artist titles. The last spots in Top 10 Artist and Millions Top 10 Artist went, respectively, to BTS and Seventeen's subunit BSS (Second Wind). Jung Kook walked away with Best Male Solo Award and Hot Trend Award, and BTS came first in Kakao Favorite Star Award. Lee Young Ji collected the Best Female Solo trophy, while RIIZE and ZEROBASEONE were named New Artists of the Year. Charlie Puth was recognized as Best Pop Artist. Lim Jae Hyun picked up Best OST for Heaven (2023), and Silica Gel's Tik Tak Tok (feat. So!YoON! attained Best Music Style.

SHINee's SHINee World VI: Perfect Illumination was hailed as Stage of the Year. aespa came away with Global Artist award, as well as Best Female and Male Performance awards with Seventeen. STAYC's Bubble was the winner of Music Video of the Year. Ryan Jhun carried off the Songwriter Award. Rookie groups BOYNEXTDOOR and KISS OF LIFE were presented the Global Rising Artist and 1theK Global Icon awards, respectively. J-pop Favorite Artist went to singer-songwriter imase.

Text / Violet

NewJeans, Seventeen & BTS win Grand Prize at 2023 MAMA Awards

  November 30, 2023  
The 2023 MAMA Awards was held on November 28 and 29 at the Tokyo Dome. NewJeans swept two Grand Prizes – Artist of the Year and Song of the Year (Ditto) – along with Best Female Group and Best Female Group Dance Performance. Seventeen won their first MAMA Daesang with FML (Album of the Year), as well as Best Male Group, Best Male Group Dance Performance (Super), Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10 and Culture and Style award. BTS was named Worldwide Icon of the Year for the sixth consecutive year.

Besides Worldwide Icon of the Year, BTS also received Best OST (The Planet), Best Male Artist (Jimin), Best Male Solo Dance Performance (Jung Kook, Seven), Best Rap & Hip-Hop Performance (Agust D, People Pt. 2 feat. IU), Best Collaboration (Jung Kook, Seven) and Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10.

BLACKPINK's Ji Soo attained Best Female Artist, Best Female Solo Dance Performance (Flower) and Best Music Video (Flower). ZEROBASEONE was recognized as Best New Artist alongside tripleS, and they also walked away with Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10, plus Favorite New Artist with RIIZE. Winners of Best Solo and Group Vocal Performances were Parc Jae Jung (Let's Break Up) and AKMU (Love Lee), respectively.

TVXQ was recognized with the Inspiring Achievement award at the ceremony. The rest of Worldwide Fans' Choice Top 10 went to ATEEZ, ENHYPEN, Lim Young Woong, NCT Dream, Stray Kids, TXT and Twice.

Yoshiki was hailed as Favorite International Artist, while Favorite Asian Male and Female Groups went to INI and Kep1er. Treasure and LE SSERAFIM collected Favorite Male and Female Group Performances, and ATEEZ and (G)I-DLE picked up the Favorite Global Performer trophies. The cast of Street Woman Fighter 2 walked away with the Culture and Style award, and Treasure carried off the Neo Flip Artist Award.

Text / Violet

Smugglers wins Best Film at 44th Blue Dragon Film Awards

  November 28, 2023  
The 44th Blue Dragon Film Awards was held on November 24. Crime film Smugglers swept four trophies, including Best Film, Best Supporting Actor for Jo In Sung, Best New Actress for Go Min So, and Best Music. Disaster thriller Concrete Utopia followed with three wins including Best Director for Um Tae Hwa, Best Actor for Lee Byung Hun and Popular Star Award for Park Bo Young.

Sleep's Jung Yu Mi and Cobweb's Jeon Yeo Been were named Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Hong Xa Bin, from writer-director Kim Chang Hoon's feature debut Hopeless, received the Best New Actor award.

Next Sohee's writer Jung Ju Ri was presented Best Screenplay. The Night Owl won three prizes: Best New Director (Ahn Tae Jin), Best Editing (Kim Sun Min) and Best Cinematography and Lighting. Best Art Direction went to Cobweb, Technical Award – VFX to The Moon, and Best Short Film to Ghwa the Last Name.

Besides Park Bo Young, other Popular Star Award winners include Song Joong Ki, Jo In Sung and Kim Seon Ho. Following The Roundup last year, the crime action series' third installment, The Roundup: No Way Out, was again selected for this year's Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Film. Kim Hye Soo, who announced that this year would be her last time hosting the Blue Dragon Film Awards ceremony after doing so for 30 years, was presented the Special Achievement Award.

Text / Violet

Fukushi Sota & Matsumoto Marika in The Women in the Lakes adaptation

  November 28, 2023  
Akutagawa Prize-winning writer Yoshida Shuichi's 2020 novel Mizumi no Onnatachi is being adapted into the live-action film The Women in the Lakes starring Fukushi Sota and Matsumoto Marika. Many of Yoshida's works have been turned into film, including Rage, Villain, Parade and The Sun Does Not Move. The Women in the Lakes is helmed by Omori Tatsushi who directed the 2013 film adaptation of Yoshida's The Ravine of Goodbye.

The Women in the Lakes is set in the wake of the murder of a 100-year-old man at a nursing home near Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. Fukushi Sota plays detective Hamanaka Keisuke who is investigating the mystery, while Matsumoto Marika portrays Toyota Kayo, a caregiver and suspect in the case. Other cast members include Asano Tadanobu as aggressive veteran detective Isami, Fukuchi Momoko as a weekly magazine reporter chasing after the truth, Zaizen Naomi as another caregiver at the nursing home, and Mita Yoshiko as the mysterious wife of the murder victim.

The Women in the Lakes will be released in Japan in May 2024.

Text / Sanwei

Wu Kang Ren & Audrey Lin win Best Actor & Actress at Golden Horse Awards

  November 27, 2023  
Taiwan's 60th Golden Horse Film Awards was held on November 25 in Taipei. Huang Ji and Otsuka Ryuji's drama Stonewalling about a young woman navigating an unplanned pregnancy won Best Narrative Feature as well as Best Editing. Hsiao Ya Chuan was named Best Director for Old Fox, a family drama set in the 1980s. Old Fox also garnered Best Makeup & Costume Design, Best Original Film Score and Best Supporting Actor for veteran Akio Chen.

Wu Kang Ren, a regular of the Golden Bell Awards, won his first Golden Horse Best Actor for his performance as an undocumented deaf man in the Malaysian social drama Abang Adik. 12-year-old Audrey Lin made history as the youngest ever Best Actress winner for her role as a girl with ADHD in Trouble Girl.

Day Off's Beatrice Fang won Best Supporting Actress. Time Still Turns the Pages director Nick Cheuk received Best New Director while Fly Me to the Moon's Yoyo Tse won the Best New Performer award. The Mountain is Coming was recognized for Best Original Screenplay, and Marry My Dead Body for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Medical drama Eye of the Storm received two awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction. Fish Memories (Best Cinematography), Snow in Midsummer (Best Sound Effects) and The Pig, the Snake and the Pigeon (Best Action Choreography) received technical prizes. "The Usual" from Day Off performed by Hung Pei Yu won Best Original Film Song.

Best Documentary went to Wang Bing's Youth, and Best Animated Feature to Chiu Liu Wei's Pigsy. Best Short Film prizes were given to Before the Box Gets Emptied (Live-Action), The Memo (Documentary) and Monsoon Blue (Animated).

Producer Lin Shih Ken was recognized as the Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year. Legendary actress Brigitte Lin and cinematographer Chen Kun Hou were the recipients of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Text / Sanwei

Concrete Utopia and Moving win at 59th Grand Bell Awards

  November 20, 2023  
Concrete Utopia was the biggest winner of Korea's 59th Grand Bell Awards held on November 15. The disaster thriller garnered six trophies including Best Film, Best Actor (Lee Byung Hun), Best Supporting Actress (Kim Sun Young), Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound.

Ryoo Seung Wan was recognized as Best Director for Smugglers, while Green House's Kim Seo Hyung and Cobweb's Oh Jung Se walked away with Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor awards respectively. Best New Actor and Best New Actress went to The Childe's Kim Seon Ho and Next Sohee's Kim Si Eun. The Night Owl's Ahn Tae Jin was awarded with Best New Director, as well as Best Screenplay alongside Hyun Eun Mi.

Four new categories were added this year for TV series released on streaming platforms. Disney+ sci-fi hit Moving was named Best Series, and female lead Han Hyo Joo took home Best Actress in a Series award. Big Bet's director Kang Yoon Sung and lead Choi Min Suk received Best Director and Best Actor in a Series, respectively.

Technical prizes were awarded to Phantom (Best Music), Smugglers (Best Cinematography), Killing Romance (Best Costume Design) and The Night Owl (Best Film Editing). Soup and Ideology received the Documentary Award. Daejong's Attention Award for Work went to Ka Sung Moon's Dream Palace, for Actor to Jung Sung Hwa (Hero), and for Director to Park Jae Beom (Mother's Land: Grisha, Master of the Forest). Jang Mi Hee was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Text / Violet

Creation of the Gods I and Tony Leung win at Golden Rooster Awards

  November 7, 2023  
China's 36th Golden Rooster Awards were held in Xiamen on November 4. Wuershan's costume fantasy epic Creation of the Gods I: Kingdom of Storms, the first in a planned trilogy of films based on Investiture of the Gods, won Best Picture as well as Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actor for veteran Li Xuejian.

Cheng Er was named Best Director for the espionage thriller Hidden Blade, and lead Tony Leung won Best Actor. Tony Leung is now the first actor to have Best Actor trophies from the three major Chinese film awards – Golden Horse, Golden Rooster and Hong Kong Film Awards. Hidden Blade was also recognized for Best Editing. Best Actress went to Off the Stage's He Saifei, and Best Supporting Actress to Ripples of Life's Huang Miyi.

Kong Dashan's Journey to the West won Best Screenplay. Sci-fi epic Wandering Earth 2 took the Jury Prize as well as Best Sound. Technical prizes were also given to Home Coming (Best Art Direction) and Pathfinder (Best Music).

Animated historical drama Chang'an was selected as the Best Art Film. Liu Xiaoshi's aerial action film Born to Fly was named the Best Directorial Debut, while Chen Guoxing and Lhapal Gyal's Kong and Jigme was the Best Low-Budget Feature. Veteran actor Da Shichang and director Zhai Junjie were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Text / Sanwei

Lee Dong Wook & Lim Soo Jung's romcom Single in Seoul opens on November 29

  October 31, 2023  
Lee Dong Wook (A Year-End Medley) and Lim Soo Jung (Cobweb) partner up in Red Carpet director Park Bum Soo's romantic comedy Single in Seoul. Besides the two leads, the Korean film also includes Esom (Kill Boksoon), Jang Hyun Sung (Steel Rain), Kim Ji Young (2037), Lee Mi Do (Night of the Undead) and Lee Sang Yi (Bloodhounds) in the cast.

Single in Seoul portrays single lives and moments that easily resonate with audiences. Influencer Young Ho (Lee Dong Wook) enjoys eating alone and doing whatever he wants without having to consider others' opinions. Hyun Jin (Lim Soo Jung) is an editor who is single but never wants to be alone. The two cross paths while working as writer and editor on the "Single in the City" essay series.

Single in Seoul will be released in Korea cinemas on November 29.

Text / Violet

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