Macao is not the most obvious place to hold a film festival. The former Portuguese colony is more a mecca for gambling than cinema, with giant casinos dominating the landscape and movie theaters few if not far between. (To be precise, there are seven for a population of 667,000.)

And yet, the 4th International Film Festival & Awards Macao, held at venues around the territory from Dec. 5 to 10, was a splashy event, attended by actors and directors from China and farther afield, which presented nearly 50 new and classic films from around the world.

The biggest Japanese name at the festival was Takashi Miike, who came to support "First Love," his action film set in the Tokyo underworld, that premiered at this year's Cannes festival. Accompanying the 59-year-old director were cast members Masataka Kubota, Seiyo Uchino and Rebecca Eri Rabone, better known as "Becky."