Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen has won the top prize at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards for his directorial debut. Ilo Ilo was named Best Feature Film at Saturday's ceremony in Taipei, beating competition from Johnnie To's Drug War, Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin, The Grandmaster from Wong Kar Wai, and Tsai Ming-liang's Stray Dogs.
The drama, about a maid's awkward relationship with her employers, also earned Chen Best Original Screenplay and Best New Director honours, while its star, Yeo Yann Yann, was named Best Supporting Actress.
The accolades will give Chen a big boost ahead of the 2014 Oscars, where Ilo Ilo, which was a winner at the Cannes Film Festival in France in May (13), has been put forward as Singapore's official entry for the Foreign Language Film award.
It was also a big night for Wong Kar Wai - martial arts film The Grandmaster claimed Best Leading Actress for Zhang Ziyi, in addition to four other wins in craft categories, while Stray Dogs landed Best Director for Tsai Ming-liang and Best Leading Actor for Lee Kang Sheng.
Best Supporting Actor went to Xuejian Li for Back to 1942.
The winners for the Golden Horse Awards, which celebrate the best in Chinese-language cinema, were decided by a jury led by Oscar winner Ang Lee.
A portrait of Kevin Spacey in character as William Shakespeare's villainous king Richard III is to go on show at Britain's National Portrait Gallery. The piece was painted by artist Jonathan Yeo during a 2011 production of the play at London's Old Vic, where Spacey is artistic director.
The Alfie star gave birth to her baby daughter Marlowe in July (12), and she decided to document her journey to parenthood by stripping off for Yeo weeks before her due date for inclusion in his upcoming (I've Got You) Under My Skin exhibition in Berlin, Germany.
In a catalogue for the exhibition, Yeo states, "I wanted an image that epitomised the human body in its most naturally beautiful state to make the sharpest possible contrast with my other paintings in this exhibition, which document patients undergoing cosmetic surgery in a bid to help them conform to societal notions of beauty..."
Yeo admits he wanted the naked painting to become a talking point to help break down barriers in society, just like Demi Moore's nude and pregnant Vanity Fair cover photo did in 1991.
He continues, "It has been 22 years since a pregnant Demi Moore caused uproar by posing for Annie Leibovitz on the cover of Vanity Fair. In that time society has become almost completely desensitised to the daily exposure to people who have surgically distorted their appearance for artificial reasons.
"Yet certain sections of society are still uncomfortable with the appearance of pregnancy and images of naked expectant mothers are rarely seen."
The artist states it made sense for him to debut the image, which he has posted on his website, in Germany, because it's a country "with a very relaxed attitude to nudity, where it is not automatically sexualised or deemed scandalous".
He adds, "The power of the painting partly lies in the fact that Sienna is widely regarded as being one of the most naturally beautiful actresses in the world, as well as being a fashion icon to a generation of girls.
"It is a tribute to her courage and self-confidence that she agreed to sit for this. I can think of many figures whose public currency in part revolves around their appearance, who would prefer to hide themselves away for nine months."
Yeo, the son of former Conservative Minister Tim Yeo, previously captured Miller on canvas in 2010.
Based on the bestselling novel by Karen Joy Fowler Jane Austen revolves around a group of friends who decide to start a Jane Austen book club aptly named “All-Austen-All-The-Time.” In the group we have: the book club’s instigator Bernadette (Kathy Baker) a free-spirited fifty-something who has been married six times; her good friend Jocelyn (Maria Bello) a dog breeder who has steered clear of marriage so far; Jocelyn’s childhood friend Sylvia (Amy Brenneman) whose husband of 23 years (Jimmy Smits) has just left her for another woman; Sylvia’s twenty-something daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) a proud lesbian who nevertheless falls too hard and too often for the wrong women; Prudie (Emily Blunt) an uptight high school French teacher Bernadette takes under her wing; and finally sci-fi geek Grigg (Hugh Dancy) the only male in the group brought in by Jocelyn as a potential suitor for the jilted Sylvia. He acquiesces even though he really has a thing for Jocelyn. But Jane Austen is the one who rules supreme in these monthly get-togethers and the book-club members soon find parallels between the author’s work and their own lives. The performances in Jane Austen are definitely one of the keys to the film’s allure. Maria Bello (A History of Violence) is particularly good as Jocelyn a woman who won’t open herself up to a meaningful relationship preferring to lavish affection on her canine best friends. Of course when Jocelyn finally realizes how idiotic she’s been passing up a tasty morsel like Grigg Bello turns it on like the pro she is. For his part Dancy (Evening) shares some mean chemistry with Bello and plays the Jane Austen novice with style; as his eyes are opened to Austen’s writing so are the audience’s. Blunt--the Brit who made such a stunning American film debut in The Devil Wears Prada--plays Prudie right on the edge evident in Blunt’s perpetually teary-eyed and quivering-voiced performance. She’s the snooty literary snob of the group but her personal life is in shambles--married to a kind man (Marc Blucas) who doesn’t really understand her which prompts Prudie to consider having a fling with a charismatic high school senior (Kevin Zegers). Natch. As the more veteran members of the cast Baker Brenneman and Smits are all a little more predictable in their roles but well-fitted for the story nonetheless. Jane Austen is one of those rare cases in which the movie is as good—if not maybe better—than the book. That’s a true testament to writer/director Swicord (who also wrote the Memoirs of a Geisha adaptation). While the book occasionally plods the movie mostly zings right along. Swicord cuts through Fowler’s long expository passages on the characters’ pasts and succinctly recaps each one's individual backstory without ever showing it. Instead Swicord focuses her attention on the intertwining relationships as they relate to Jane Austen’s nine novels. The only drawback could be that Jane Austen tends to be sappy—but it is its exuberance for Jane Austen and her work that gives the film its pulse. True this movie is for women by women but as far as a lesson on the late 18th century novelist Jane Austen is far more entertaining than taking an English college course on Victorian writers. Let’s just say if the movie doesn’t get you to read a Jane Austen novel nothing will.