Taiwan director Leon Dai's harsh real-life drama No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti won best feature over the weekend at the Golden Horse Film Awards, regarded as the Oscars for Chinese-language movies.

The black-and-white movie, based on a true story, follows a lone father from the working-class southern Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung in a fight against the government to get his daughter into school. Unsuccessful and clinging to the faithful daughter, he threatens to jump off a bridge.

No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti beat four other finalists in a marathon awards ceremony staged on Saturday in Taipei but dominated by entries from economic powerhouse China.

The Golden Horse best director award went to Dai, who cried when accepting the prize. He has directed two other films since 2002 and acted in a series of Taiwan art house productions.

I'd like to thank the people of Kaohsiung, no matter whether the government or the everyday citizens, said Dai, 43. We couldn't have been able to finish it without their support.

There is no official explanation for the Spanish film title, but Dai has been quoted saying it sounded more emotionally fitting than the English equivalent, Can't Live Without You.

Li Bingbing of Chinese spy thriller The Message won best actress, while the best actor prize went for the first time to two people, Huang Bo from China's war-themed black comedy Cow and Nick Cheung in Hong Kong action movie The Beast Stalker.

The awards, in their 46th season, judge Chinese-language films from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and China, including Hong Kong and Macau. Once open only to Taiwanese films, the Golden Horse began allowing films from outside in the 1990s.