‘Host’ eats rivals at Asian festival

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‘Host’ eats rivals at Asian festival


Pop singer and actor Rain, right, announcing the best composer award with actress Maggie Q. [AP]

The Korean monster flick “The Host” walked off with four grand awards at the debut of the Asian Film Festival in Hong Kong last week.
“The Host” picked up best picture, best actor, best cinematographer and best visual effects awards. The film’s leading man, Song Kang-ho, was named best actor.
“[The film is] not only about anti-Americanism but about problems in Korea, for example asking the police for help but not receiving any,” said executive producer Choi Yong-bae, who accepted the white marble and metal statuette for best film.
The flick brought in more than 13 million viewers in Korea and generated over 80 billion won ($85 million) in sales, while costing only 15 billion won for production and marketing.


Song Kang-ho kisses his trophy after winning best actor.[AP]

In the two weeks since its Chinese release on March 8, it topped the box office there, reeling in $1.2 million, according to its producer, Cheongeorahm. It now has the longest No. 1 streak in China for a South Korean movie. The movie tells the story of an ordinary family whose life is turned upside down when a giant, tadpole-like monster ― the result of toxic fluid the U.S. military dumped in the Han River ― snatches their daughter away.
Among other Korean celebrities who attended the glitzy festival were Korean pop star and actor Rain, who stood behind the podium with Maggi Q to hand out the the best composer award. Actor Lee Byung-heon delivered the best director award. Actress Kim Hye-soo showed up in a black evening dress to present the best screenplay award.
Others included director Park Chan-wook and actress Lim Soo-jeong, who collaborated on “I Am a Cyborg, but that’s Okay.”
Meanwhile, the festival’s glamorous debut in Hong Kong drew plenty of stars from across Asia, including Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Iran to the city’s harbor-side convention center, where the inauguration ceremony was held last Tuesday night.
Among the stars were French director Luc Besson, Hong Kong entertainment ambassador Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Hong Kong actor Andy Lau, star of “Infernal Affairs,” and Bond girl Michelle Yeoh.
“Yet, the shining star during the awards was the South Korean film, ‘The Host,’ which took four awards out of 10,” wrote the China’s People’s Daily.
The newspaper added that it was a “smart move” for Hong Kong to give the awards to other countries, while most of the Hong Kong nominees left empty handed.
Hong Kong film designer Tim Yip Kam-tim won best production design for “The Banquet,” the only winner among Hong Kong nominees.
The other six awards went to Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke, who won best director for his Venice Film Festival winner, “Still Life,” a story about the impact of the Three Gorges Dam on common people’s lives; Japanese actress Miki Nakatani won best actress for “Memories of Matsuko;” Iran’s Mani Haghighi won best screenwriter; Thailand’s Lee Chatametikool won best editor and Indonesia’s Rahayu Supanggah won best composer.

By Lee Min-a Staff Writer [mina@joongang.co.kr]
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