Taiwanese Family Drama ‘Coo-Coo 043’ Wins Best Film At Golden Horse Awards

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Taiwanese filmmaker CHAN Ching-lin’s Coo-Coo 043 was awarded best narrative feature at the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan on Saturday night, while Hong Kong crime drama Limbo, directed by Soi Cheang, won the biggest number of awards with four prizes. 

Coo-Coo 043 also picked up the best new performer award for HU Jhih-ciang. Also starring YU An-shun and YANG Li-yin, the film revolves around a Taiwanese family that makes a living through racing pigeons, but is badly affected by economic pressures and the disappearance of a son. It premiered as the opening film of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (TGHFF), where it won the FIPRESCI prize on the same night as the Golden Horse ceremony.

While Coo-Coo 043 won the top honour at the awards, Limbo took home the biggest haul of prizes with best adapted screenplay, best cinematography, best visual effects and best art direction (see details below). It also won TGHFF’s audience choice award. 

The film, which premiered at Berlin film festival in 2021, entered the awards despite pressure for Hong Kong filmmakers to fall in line with mainland China’s boycott of the Golden Horse Awards ceremony.

Considered the most prestigious awards ceremony for Chinese-language cinema, the Golden Horse Awards fell foul of Beijing in 2018 when Fu Yue, winner of best documentary, made a reference to Taiwan’s independence during her acceptance speech (Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province of China rather than a separate country). Since then, China has heavily promoted its own Golden Rooster Awards, which take place around the same time. 

Since the China boycott, smaller Hong Kong independent films with no plans for release in mainland China have continued to enter the awards, along with films from Taiwan and other Chinese-speaking Asian countries, in a move that has often been beneficial in terms of recognition and prizes. 

This year, Hong Kong drama Sunny Side Of The Street picked up the best actor award for Anthony Wong’s performance, along with best new director and best original screenplay for Malaysia-born filmmaker Lau Kok-rui. Another Hong Kong drama, A Light Never Goes Out, won best actress for Taiwanese artist Sylvia Chang’s performance. 

Best director went to Laha Mebow for Taiwanese comedy drama Gaga, which marks the first time that a Taiwanese indigenous filmmaker has won best director at the awards. The film, set among Taiwan’s indigenous Atayal people, also won best supporting actress for Kagaw Piling’s performance.