TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Hong Kong film “The Sunny Side of the Street” is a drama that explores the love between a father and son through the lens of a refugee boy.
Directed and written by Lau Kok-rui (劉國瑞), the film garnered six nominations for the Golden Horse Awards (GHA) and won three on Saturday (Nov. 19). It was Director Lau’s first time competing at the GHA.
Lau won the Best New Director Award and the Best Original Screenplay Award, and Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong (黃秋生) won his first Best Leading Actor Award after having received three best supporting actor trophies.
As a Malaysian-born immigrant based in Hong Kong, Lau projected his personal experience onto the compelling relationship between a Pakistani refugee boy, played by Sahal Zaman, and a grumpy local taxi driver, played by Wong.
Lau told Taiwan News that every refugee who flees from their country has their own set of reasons and problems. “This group has its own complexity. Their pressure often comes from the uncertainty and insecurity of the future,” said the fourth-generation emigrant.
The film, starring Anthony Wong and Sahal Zaman, looks at the director's personal life. (Cai Chang International photo)
When Lau moved to Hong Kong, he was young and lost contact with his father, so he had to learn how to become a man independently. This story is about craving for his father’s attention and his struggles with wanting to be loved.
“These two main characters, the refugee boy and the old taxi driver, portrayed my immigrant life. I see this film as a conversation with my father,” according to the 32-year-old director.
Notably, Wong was named the best leading actor after winning all of the 17 judges' nods, which rarely happens at the GHA. The humble and focused actor gave credit to his makeup artists, “they made me look so old that I could barely recognize myself. I looked so much like my mother before she died,” joked the 61-year-old celebrity.
Wong gives a winning speech at the award ceremony. (Facebook, GHA video)
Zaman, 10, stood out from his peers with his charming personality. He is far from shy and this fast learner talked back on his first audition, said Lau, and added that he was very surprised by the quality of Zaman’s performance as a depressed refugee child.
The film’s Asian premiere took place at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival in November. It will screen in April 2023 in Taiwan.
Trailer. (YouTube video)