'A Simple Life' sweeps Hong Kong Film Awards

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A heart-warming drama film depicting the relationship between an elderly loyal servant and her young master swept all the major categories of the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday.

"A Simple Life", which is based on a true story, scooped five gongs for best film, director, screenplay, actor and actress at the star-studded event considered Hong Kong's equivalent of the Oscars.

"I would like to thank Hong Kong," Ann Hui said after grabbing the best director award.

"I grew up here and I received my education here. This city has given me a lot of inspirations," she said during the glittering ceremony held at the harbourfront Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

The best actor and best actress honour went to the film's lead characters played by Andy Lau and Deanie Ip.

Ip, 64, played a servant who wants to move into a nursing home after suffering a stroke in "A Simple Life", a role that also won her the best actress award at the Venice film festival and Asian Film Awards.

"I only won this award in my 60s -- this could be the first and last time," she said in an emotional speech, referring to the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Lau, one of Asia's most successful stars who is branded by the media as one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop, was crowned best actor for the third time.

"This is an acknowledgement of my contribution to Hong Kong's film industry," Lau said to loud applause from hordes of cheering fans.

Tsui Hark's 3D extravaganza "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate", which starring Kung fu superstar Jet Li, led the race with 13 nominations and won five prizes.

It snapped up honours for best film editing, action choreography, art direction, sound design and visual effects.

The annual Hong Kong Film Awards -- celebrating its 31st edition this year -- is one of the two Chinese film's industry most prestigious events, alongside Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards.

The southern Chinese city which became an international movie powerhouse in the 1970s remains a rich source of film talent, with its stars enjoying huge popularity across Asia.

There have been increasing collaborations between Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland filmmakers in recent years to tap the lucrative market of movie-goers in China.

In recognition of the regional film industry, the award this year added the new "Best Film of Mainland and Taiwan" category-- won by the hit Taiwanese teen romance "You are the Apple of My Eye".

The low-budget film, which marked the directorial debut of popular novelist Giddens -- the pen name of Ko Ching-teng -- has generated a buzz around southeast Asia besides topping the box office in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Taiwanese singer Jam Hsiao, who rose to stardom through a TV reality show, won the award for best new performer for his role in "The Killer Who Never Kills", which is also based on a popular novel by Giddens.

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