Tag Archives: 29th Tokyo International Film Festival

Holocaust comedy snares grand prize at 29th Tokyo International Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Philip Brasor, Special To The Japan Times

Philippine trans people, Scandinavian reindeer herders and a romantic comedy about the Holocaust dominated the closing ceremony of the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival on Thursday.

The ceremony at Ex Theater Roppongi opened appropriately enough with awards to individuals who furthered domestic cinema this year, including Godzilla, who appeared on stage to accept an award for the year’s big hit, Shin Godzilla, on the 62nd anniversary of the first Godzilla film released in 1954.


Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, decked out in a matching black pantsuit and fedora, awarded the Grand Prix to The Bloom of Yesterday, a provocative comedy about two Holocaust researchers — one German, the other French — who battle over history while falling in love.

However, the top award didn’t arouse as much audience excitement as Koike’s announcement that next year’s TIFF budget would be even larger than this year’s, thanks to additional government expenditure for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Another festival winner was “Die Beautiful,” a Philippine film about a transgender woman who dies while being crowned for a beauty pageant. In addition to winning the Audience Award, the film’s leading man, Paolo Ballesteros, won the festival’s best actor award, although presenter Mabel Chung made the point that Ballesteros could have easily won either the “best actor or best actress” prize.

The best actress award went to Lene Cecilia Sparrok, the teen star of the Swedish-Danish-Norwegian co-production, Sami Blood, which examines the discrimination that the indigenous Sami people of northern Scandinavia suffered, and which also won the second place Jury Prize. Sparrok, a reindeer herder in real life, was so overwhelmed that she lost her English-language capability and conveyed her gratitude in Sami.

The best artistic contribution prize went to Mr. No Problem, a gorgeously shot and staged comedy of manners, financed and produced by the Beijing Film Academy, about a Chinese farm and its impossibly agreeable manager that takes place in 1943, when Japan and China were at war.

During his Grand Prix speech, jury head Jean-Jacques Beineix stressed that what unified the films he and his colleagues judged this year was their rejection of a “globalist mindset.” All of the films “accepted our differences” and proved that “a universal cinema does not exist.”

The fact that there were no Japanese winners in the main competition categories wasn’t lost on local reporters. During the post-ceremony news conference, one Japanese journalist asked Beineix how he “discussed” the two Japanese entries with his colleagues.

“As you know, our discussions have to be kept secret,” Beineix replied, evincing a wave of laughter. In any case, Poolsideman, which depicts the lonely life of a Tokyo pool lifeguard, won the Japan Splash prize for domestic indie films, and director Hirobumi Watanabe openly wept on stage while accepting the award.



Haru Kuroki named Festival Muse for 29th Tokyo International Film Festival!

The 29th Tokyo International Film Festival has welcomed actress Haru Kuroki for the Festival Muse. Ms. Kuroki will appear at the opening ceremony and other official events as the face of the 29th TIFF. The festival is scheduled to run October 25th through November 3rd, 2016.

Haru Kuroki

Kuroki was born in Osaka on March 14, 1990 and made her debut in 2010 as a heroine in Noda Map’s extra performance “Omote ni Deroi!”. Her film debut was in Tokyo Oasis (2011, Kana Matsumoto and Kayo Nakamura). In 2014 she won the Silver Bear at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival and the Japan Academy Prize for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Yoji Yamada’s The Little House. She won the Japan Academy Prize for Best Supporting Actress again in the following year for My Mother (2015, Yoji Yamada). Her filmography includes The Great Passage (2013, Yuya Ishii), Solomon’s Perjury Part 1: Suspicion and Part 2: Judgment (2015, Izuru Narushima), A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (2016, Shunji Iwai), “Hanako to Anne” (2014, NHK), “The Emperor’s Cook” (2015, TBS), “Sanada Maru” (2016, NHK), and “Juhan Shuttai” (2016, TBS). The Long Excuses (Miwa Nishikawa), Chotto Ima kara Shigoto Yametekuru (Izuru Narushima) are due to be released soon.

The festival is scheduled to run October 25th through November 3rd, 2016.

(Source: tiff-jp press release)

29th TIFF Lineup for Special Screening Section and Reveal its Festival Trailer

The 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is just around the corner!
TIFF is pleased to announce the full lineup for the Special Screening Section. It presents high-profile films, both Japanese and international films and we are expecting to welcome many glamorous guests to the Opening Carpet and stage appearances!


Special Screening Section  Lineup


*Screening schedule will be announced on the 29th TIFF official website (www.tiff-jp.net/en/) in mid-October.


29th Tokyo International Film Festival Announces Lineup for Director in Focus: Shunji IWAI in Japan Now Section


The 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is pleased to announce the full lineup of films to be featured in the Japan Now Director in Focus: Shunji Iwai section.


After his recent explorations into filmmaking in Hollywood and feature-length animation, Iwai returned this year with the much-talked-about A Bride for Rip Van Winkle. As he continues to move forward into the third decade of his career, this is a perfect time to look back at Iwai’s prolific body of work, and much-deserved international reputation.


Shunji Iwai
Shunji Iwai’s directing career began in 1988 with commercials, music videos and TV dramas, soon earning him acclaim for his cinematic style and vision, which came to be known as the “Iwai Aesthetic.” In 1995, he scored a huge hit across Asia with Love Letter and in 1996, PiCNiC won him a second consecutive award in the Forum section of the Berlin Film Festival, bringing him to even greater international attention. Swallowtail Butterfly (96) blazed a new trail in movie and music collaboration, and All About Lily Chou-Chou (01) won awards at Berlin and Shanghai. Other major works include Hana and Alice (04), a segment in the omnibus film New York, I Love You (09) and his first English-language film, Vampire (12), which played in competition at Sundance and in the Berlin Panorama section. Iwai’s first feature-length animated film, The Case of Hana & Alice, was invited to the 2015 Annecy Animation Festival. His latest film, A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (16), was released in Hong Kong and Taiwan prior to domestic release in Japan.
Kohei Ando, TIFF Japan Now Programming Advisor, comments:
“Shunji Iwai is a rare director who renders fable-like tales of contemporary Japanese youth and paints memory, time, space and society with his distinctive visual style. Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom? was a monumental early work that brought him critical praise and a Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award. His first feature-length film, Love Letter, a masterpiece that begins when a letter is delivered to the wrong person, it won many festival awards and continues to have a strong following among Asian and international fans. Swallowtail Butterfly is a groundbreaking work, the first to depict an era when the Japanese yen is the strongest currency in the world. Iwai’s English-language debut, Vampire, is a love story set against the world’s end. And as his latest film, A Bride for Rip Van Winkle, is a sumptuous hide-and-seek story that evokes Shuji Terayama’s poetic style. This year’s director focus takes us into the mesmerizing, unforgettable world of Shunji Iwai.”

Japan Now Section: 

Created to showcase outstanding Japanese films from recent and upcoming months, Japan Now displays the diversity of Japanese film, and unique facets of Japanese culture, as well as providing a multifaceted look inside Japan today. The section highlights the work of a Director in Focus, as well as outstanding work by other directors, with subtitled screenings of films to boost their recognition overseas.

(Source: http://2016.tiff-jp.net)

29th Tokyo International Film Festival Opening Film “Florence Foster Jenkins”

29th TIFF to Open with Florence Foster Jenkins


Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 5.35.18 AM


The true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the legendary New York heiress and socialite who obsessively pursued her dream of becoming a great singer, despite having a terrible singing voice, stars Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, and Simon Helberg. Stephen Frears is the film’s director.



Comments from Meryl Streep:
“It’s such an honour that the film has been selected as the opening film. I am very looking forward to visiting Japan again, as I have so much enjoyed meeting the people of Japan, and experiencing the beauty of the city and its art and cuisine on my many previous trips!”


Comments from Hugh Grant:
“It’s a great honour that FFJ has been selected as the opening film. And I’m looking forward to being back in Tokyo. I have always had a fantastic time there.”



The 29th TIFF will be held on October 25 (Tue) ‒ November 3 (Thu), 2016 at Roppongi Hills, Ex Theater Roppongi (Minato City) and other theaters, halls and facilities in Tokyo Metropolitan Area.

Ticket Sales Start on October 15.

(Source: http://2016.tiff-jp.net)