8th Asia Film Awards honour Wong Kar Wai’s Grandmaster

TThe 8th Asia Film Awards were held on March 27th in Macau, presented by jurors Donnie Yen and Carina Lau. The jury panel included representatives from each country heavily involved in the Asia film industry. Panelists included Wen Tien-Hsiang, CEO of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival; Christian Jeune, Deputy General Delegate of the Cannes International Film Festival and Ishizaka Kenji, Programming Director for the Tokyo International Film Festival.



This year’s big winner at the Awards was ‘The Grandmaster”, winning the ‘Best Film’ award. William Chang Suk-Ping, a long-time collaborator with Wong Kar Wai, won a prize for the film’s lavish costume design. He also worked on the movie’s editing and production design, critically important elements in the creation of a film’s feel. “With art direction, you get to create the texture, feeling and the lighting of a movie. And by editing, you create a specific flow. You’re creating a world for people to believe in,” he told the Wall Street Journal in February this year.

Inspiration for the costumes came from contemporary 1900-1920s photographs, documentaries and old films. To illustrate the importance of authenticity in his costume designs, there are sharp distinctions in the details of the garments to differentiate time periods.

In many respects, this is an unusual project for Wong Kar Wai. Typically, his films have revolved around unhappy characters; victims of unrequited love, where even the most horribly dramatic moments become hauntingly beautiful. This has always been Wong Kar Wai’s strong suit, something that inspires huge affection for his movies. However, he has brought little of this into ‘The Grandmaster’.



The film was nominated in 11 out of 14 categories, winning: ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Director’, ‘Cinematography’, ‘Best Production Design’, ‘Best Composer’, ‘Best Costume Design’ and Zhang Zi Yi took away the ‘Best Actress’ award.

Even though this highly individual movie has generated a strong fan base, it’s inevitable that Wong Kar Wai’s latest work will be compared to his other much-loved movies such as “In The Mood For Love” and “Chungking Express”. These classics have cast a long shadow over ‘The Grandmaster’ that it will have to outshine in order to gain the wide popularity it almost certainly deserves. (Featured image: Irrfan Khan won ‘Best Actor’ for his role in The Lunchbox)