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Asian Film Award Nominees: "Legend of the Demon Cat" and More...

by Nathaniel R

Legend of the Demon Cat

It's difficult to keep track of the cream of the crop of Asian cinema because there are so many different bodies handing out prizes and so many of the major international awards bodies ignore that region altogether. One of the youngest of the Asian awards bodies is the bluntly titled "Asian Film Awards" which have only been operating since 2007. Their nomination leader this year is a film called Legend of the Demon Cat  from Chen Kaige ( who is most famous stateside for his 1993 arthouse smash and Oscar nominee Farewell My Concubine  from 1993) but his latest isn't actually up for the top category, instead heavily dominating the tech fields. The film has not yet been released in the States.  Since these awards are based out of Hong Kong their nominees skew heavily towards Chinese productions...

But it's nice to read through the list and realize how many of these films actually were released in the States (and did fairly well, too). There are two Oscar submissions represented though neither made the finals: India's Newton (which won Best Actor at the Asian Pacific Awards recently) and South Korea's A Taxi Driver.

Provided TFE doesn't close down we'll try to make a concerted effort to catch more movies distributed by China Lion and WellGo this year, so we can stay more informed on what's happening in Asian cinema. It's tremendously easy to miss what's happening entirely these days since Asian cinema no longer gets any media attention in the States... there was a decade or so stretching from the early 90s- to the early 00s when it got quite a lot.)

Best film


  • Angels Wear White (China, France)
  • Newton (India)
  • The Day After (South Korea)
  • The Third Murder (Japan)
  • Youth (China)

Youth is the only one of these pictures to be released in the states but it's done very well since it's debut just before Christmas with $1.8 million in US box office.


Best director


  • Chen Kaige (Legend of the Demon Cat)
  • Sylvia Chang (Love Education)
  • Ann Hui (Our Time Will Come)
  • Hong Sang-soo (The Day After)
  • Yuya Ishii (The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue)
  • Feng Xiaogang (Youth)

Ann Hui won this prize recently for The Golden Era (2014) and Feng Xiaogang was nominated just last year for I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016)


Best new director


  • Vivian Qu (Angels Wear White)
  • Anucha Boonyawatana (Malila: The Farewell Flower)
  • Huang Hsin-yao (The Great Buddha +)
  • Dong Yue (The Looming Storm)
  • Derek Hui (This Is Not What I Expected)
  • Yoshiyuki Kishi (Wilderness)


Best actor

Thailand's Sukollawat Kanarot in "Farewell Flower"


  • Kim Yun-seok (1987: When the Day Comes)
  • Sukollawat Kanarot (Malila: The Farewell Flower)
  • Rajkummar Rao (Newton)
  • Louis Koo (Paradox)
  • Duan Yihong (The Looming Storm)

Rajkummar Rao won Best Actor at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Will he repeat here?


Best actress


  • Yu Aoi (Birds Without Names)
  • Sylvia Chang (Love Education)
  • Marsha Timothy (Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts)
  • Kim Min-hee (The Day After)
  • Zhou Dongyu (This Is Not What I Expected)

The highest profile star here, internationally speaking, is Kim Min-hee who was so memorable in The Handmaiden  in 2016.


Best supporting actor

Eddie Peng in "Our Time Will Come"


  • Yoo Hae-jin (A Taxi Driver)
  • Geng Le (Angels Wear White)
  • Tian Zhuangzhuang (Love Education)
  • Eddie Peng (Our Time Will Come)
  • Yang Ik-joon (Wilderness) 

Mmmmm Eddie Peng. 


Best supporting actress


  • Choi Hee-seo (Anarchist from Colony)
  • Hana Sugisaki (Blade of the Immortal)
  • Kitty Zhang (Legend of the Demon Cat)
  • Estelle Wu (Love Education)
  • Suzu Hirose (The Third Murder)

You might remember Kitty Zhang from last year's Chinese arthouse hit, The Mermaid


Best newcomer


  • Zhou Meijun (Angels Wear White)
  • Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying (Bad Genius)
  • Lim Yoon-a (Confidential Assignment)
  • Ling Man-lung (Tomorrow Is Another Day)
  • Akari Kinoshita (Wilderness)
  • Zhong Chuxi (Youth)


Best action film

  • Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds
  • Blade of the Immortal
  • Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield
  • Paradox
  • The Thousand Faces of Dunjia

Only Paradox didn't hit US screens though the only one of these that was a substantial hit (relatively speaking, you'll understand) in US limited release was Along with the Gods from South Korea (which is still in theaters)


Best screenplay


  • Anarchist from Colony
  • Bad Genius
  • Love Education
  • Newton
  • Youth

Newton won Best Screenplay at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards last month (albeit with much different competitors)


Best editing

  • mon mon mon Monsters
  • Our Time Will Come
  • The King
  • The Third Murder
  • Youth


Best cinematography


  • Legend of the Demon Cat
  • Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts
  • The Fortress
  • The Great Buddha +
  • The Third Murder


Best original music


  • A Taxi Driver
  • Angels Wear White
  • Our Time Will Come
  • The Great Buddha +
  • Wilderness


Best costume design

"Blade of the Immortal" is the latest from super prolific Japanese auteur Takashi Miike


  • Anarchist from Colony
  • Baahubali 2: The Conclusion
  • Blade of the Immortal
  • Legend of the Demon Cat
  • The Thousand Faces of Dunjia


Best production design


  • Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds
  • Legend of the Demon Cat
  • Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts
  • The Third Murder
  • This Is Not What I Expected


Best visual effects


  • Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds
  • Baahubali 2: The Conclusion
  • Gintama
  • Legend of the Demon Cat
  • mon mon mon Monsters
  • The Thousand Faces of Dunjia

Baahubali 2 from India was the highest grossing foreign language film in the US in 2017.


Best sound


  • Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield
  • Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts
  • mon mon mon Monsters
  • The Fortress
  • The Great Buddha +


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Reader Comments (5)

Kim Min-Hee and Hong Sangsoo made another movie together last year that is even better: On the Beach at Night Alone. As a matter of fact they've made a third movie in the same year, Claire's Camera, with Isabelle Huppert. I haven't seen it, but as In Another Country showed us, Huppert + Hong = Heaven.

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Just fallen in to a bit of an Eddie Peng internet hole....brb

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJB

YOUTH was a lovely old-fashioned epic when I caught it at TIFF. Worth seeking out, readers!

January 11, 2018 | Registered CommenterChris Feil


January 11, 2018 | Registered CommenterIlich Mejia

How do people actually get to see these movies? Do they only play in NYC?

Anyway, I know I've seen Eddie Peng in THE GUARDSMAN from a few years back and he was good enough, and the camera likes him.

Beyond that, I'd really like to explore these titles.

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

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