South Korean cinema leads nominees at Asian Film Awards

FILE - In this Saturday, May 14, 2016 file photo, director Park Chan-Wook poses for photographers during a photo call for the film The Handmaiden at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France. South Korean cinema has fared well in the nominations for the Asian Film Awards. Director Park Chan Wook's erotic period drama, "The Handmaiden," received six nominations, including Moon So-ri for best supporting actress. Five nominations went to the zombie film, "Train to Busan," including Ma Dong-seok for best supporting actor. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, file)

South Korean cinema has fared well in the nominations for the Asian Film Awards

HONG KONG — South Korean cinema has fared well in the nominations for the Asian Film Awards.

Director Park Chan Wook's erotic period drama, "The Handmaiden," received six nominations, including Moon So-ri for best supporting actress. Five nominations went to the zombie film, "Train to Busan," including Ma Dong-seok for best supporting actor.

Chinese director Feng Xiao Gang's social justice drama "I Am Not Madame Bovary" also received five nominations including best film, best director and best actress for Fan Bingbing.

The other nominees for best picture were South Korean supernatural thriller "The Wailing," Taiwanese crime comedy, "Godspeed," Japanese family drama "Harmonium" and South Korean action thriller "The Age of Shadows." Best-director nominees were Na Hong-jin for "The Wailing," Koji Fukada for "Harmonium," Derek Tsang for "Soul Mate," Feng Xiaogang for "I Am Not Madame Bovary" and Lav Diaz for "The Woman Who Left."

Chinese director Jia Zhangke, who is this year's jury president and unveiled the nominations Wednesday, saw a "diverse and balanced" nomination list based on the previous year's films.

The "Mountains May Depart" director believes that it is reflective of the vibrancy of the Asian film industry, "Every year the creativity is different but in 2016, I think we saw many films from different genres that went head to head. There are art house films or commercial films that presented a lot of creativity," Jia said.

The nominations include 34 films from 12 Asian countries. Under the leadership of Jia, a panel of film experts including Hong Kong actress Karena Lam, will select the winners in 15 categories.

A best-actress nominee a year ago, Lam said she's thrilled to return as a jury member and she'll use her instincts as an actress when the jury votes.

"I will consider the background of the film, but also exchange with the other jury members. I can learn a lot in this process. When we sit down to meet, there are jury members from different parts of the world, you can get 10 different opinions for just 1 film. I think it's great. It'll be an opportunity for me to learn as well."

The Asian Film Awards will be handed out on March 21 in Hong Kong.

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