Hong Kong has high Oscar hopes for 'A Simple Life'

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Fresh from acclaim at the Venice International Film Festival, the Hong Kong production A Simple Life has this week been thrust into the spotlight again with news that it will now be put forward as the city's Oscar contender.

The Ann Hui-directed film was honored with Venice's best actress award for screen veteran Deannie Ip, who plays an elderly servant who must rely on her employer for support once illness hits. The film also stars Andy Lau and is Ip's first production for 11 years.

Vietnam also announced its selection for Oscar selection this week, with the historical epic Thang Long Aspiration - which was made to mark the 1,000 anniversary of the founding of Hanoi - now joining A Simple Life (Hong Kong) and other recently announced productions Postcard (Japan), The Woman in the Septic Tank (Philippines), Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (Taiwan), and The Front Line (South Korea).

The deadline for submissions is October 1, while the final field will be announced on January 24, 2012. In fact it has been a big week for the Asian film industry as a whole, with regional box office results dominated by local productions.

Japan's film fans trooped out in number to see Unfair 2: The Answer, director Shimako Sato's follow-up to the 2007 cop thriller hit Unfair: The Movie, and it picked up a tidy US$4 million (three million euros) from its opening week.

In Hong Kong, the buzz was all about the clubland drama Lan Kwai Fong - directed by Wilson Chin and starring a bevy of local models-turned-actors - as it picked up US$525,847 (390,137 euros) over its first week of release, while in Taiwan Seediq Bale continued its charge, picking up NT$31.5 million (770,000 euros) to carry it over the NT$100 million mark (2.4 million euros) after 10 days in cinemas.

No official box office numbers were available from China or South Korea.

See the trailers:

A Simple Life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCD00LLZmys
Unfair 2: The Answer (Japanese only): http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/EiI6FzX-Xpg
Lan Kwai Fong: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPEhdjGwAS8