05-04-2009 09:30

Veteran actress and long-time darling of the Hong Kong film industry -- Paw Hee Ching -- was named best actress on April 19th at the 28th Hong Kong Film Awards. She won the award for her flawless performance in "The Way We Are". Paw's triumph came after four decades of performing numerous, minor roles. Fans have crowned her as the "best actress for the common public" or plebeian best actress. In today's Spotlight, we'll introduce you to several such actresses who have gone on to the top of their profession after many cinematic, twists and turns.

Paw Hee Ching – the “eldest” best actress

Ann Hui's 2008 work "The Way We Are" proved to be a big winner at the 28th Hong Kong Film Awards. It won four awards including best director, best screenplay, best actress and best supporting actress.

It is a rare film with Hong Kong flavor and was made exclusively with local money. And that's during a time when the Hong Kong film industry is increasingly catering to the booming market in the Chinese mainland with historical and Kung Fu epics.

As a local of Hong Kong, Paw won the award. Since 2006 the honor had gone to actresses from the Chinese mainland. Paw's triumph has been seen by many as signaling a revival in popularity of native Hong Kong actresses.

Paw Hee Ching was born in 1949 to a Hong Kong cinematic family. Her parents are famous Chinese actor Pao Fong and actress Liu Su. Her younger brother Peter Pau is an Academy Awards-winning and five-time Hong Kong Film Awards-winning cinematographer. But Paw Hee Ching has been engaged in supporting roles and small parts in her cinematic career. Her costarring status was finally uplifted with the role of a single mother in "The Way We Are".

It is an unglamorous but moving portrait of a working-class town most vividly known for its poverty and violence.

The docu-drama was produced with a low budget and a little-known cast. And it gives voices to the ordinary residents of a town in Hong Kong -- Tin Shui Wai -- whose residents are mostly working-class people.

The way she looks -- very gentle and kind -- makes her ideal for playing virtuous women in accordance with the Confucianism ideal as wife, mother, sister, teacher or wise Kung Fu master. On receiving her first best actress trophy at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Paw joked that the jury panel wouldn't have given this award for her if it wasn't for their respect for the elderly people.

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