China's 'Mystery' Leads Asian Film Awards Winners

Lou Ye - H 2013
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Lou Ye's controversial tale of sexual and social malaise won honors for best film, best screenwriter and best newcomer.

Lou Ye's controversial Mystery won best film, best screenwriter and best newcomer for Qi Xi at the 7th Asian Film Awards on Monday.

A tale of sexual and social malaise set in China's growing middle class, Mystery competed in the Un Certain Regard section in Cannes last year, but came under the censors' scrutiny when it came time to be released at home. Following cuts made to a violent scene, Lou had his name removed from the film for the Chinese release.

“It’s been quite a struggle given it’s just over a few seconds of the film. But still I thought it’s worth it – because it’s through this exchange with the authorities that I realized these days you can engage in a conversation with them. They are willing to discuss things with you,” Lou told The Hollywood Reporter before his win was announced. “The film was released in cinemas at the end of the day – so for me, personally, it’s a change, and a sign of changes in the way the censorship system works.”

Lou had just flown in from the Hangzhou Asian Film Festival, where he had won a director of the year award for Mystery.

It was a good night for Japan too, with wins for Kitano Takeshi in the best director category for his violent gangster sequel Outrage Beyond, best supporting actress for Watanabe Makiko as the mother in family drama Capturing Dad, and best editing for The Kirishima Thing.

Quirky high school drama The Kirishima Thing won the same award at this month's Japan Academy Awards, where it also took best picture and best director for Yoshida Daihachi.

The Philippines took both the best actor and actress awards for Eddie Garcia in Bwakaw and Nora Aunor in Thy Womb.

India also scored two wins - for Nawazuddin Siddiqui for best supporting actor in Talaash: The Answer Lies Within and Pritam Chakraborty with best composer for Barfi!

Iraqi Kurdistan-Turkish film Rhino Season scored a pair of awards: Touraj Aslani was honored for cinematography, and Bahman Ghobadi won for production design.

Local boy Man Lim-chung's best costume designer win for China-Hong Kong co-production The Silent War ensured the host city didn't go unrepresented at the glitzy ceremony in the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Clarence Tsui contributed to this report.