Asian Film Awards: ‘Shoplifters’ Named Best Film, Lee Chang-dong Wins Best Director

Lee Chang Dong, AFA 2019 - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Asia Film Awards

Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s martial arts epic ‘Shadow’ tops the awards list with four technical wins.

Shadow, by China’s fifth generation heavyweight Zhang Yimou, topped the list of victors at the 13th Asian Film Awards (AFA) with four wins, all in the technical categories.

The awards were otherwise rather evenly distributed with no clean sweep.

The visually stunning martial arts epic Shadow won best cinematography, costume design, production design and sound.

Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Cannes winner Shoplifters took home the best film award. South Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award this year, was named best director with Burning.

The best actor award went to Japanese thespian Koji Yakusho for The Blood of Wolves; he also received the honorary Excellence in Asian Cinema Award. Kazakh actress Samal Yeslyamova triumphed in the best actress category for her performance in Ayka, which she also did at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Zhang Yu of Chinese smash hit Dying to Survive claimed the best supporting actor award, whereas best supporting actress went to Hong Kong veteran Kara Wei for Tracey.

Hong Kong first-time helmer Oliver Chan was judged as the best new director for Still Human, and Johnny Huang of Chinese blockbuster Operation Red Sea won best newcomer. Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke was awarded best screenplay for Ash Is Purest White, while director Felix Chong’s Project Gutenberg won best visual effect.

The AFA also recognized new talents by giving the AFA Next Generation Award to South Korean actor and member of K-pop group JYJ Kim Jae-joong and the AFA Rising Star Award to actor Park Seo-jun, also from South Korea.