TIFF results

Aaron Gerow gerow
Sun Nov 5 22:19:13 EST 2000

The Tokyo International Film Festival ended on Sunday and here are the 
prize results:

The Results of the Competition

 Tokyo Grand Prix
                        Love's a Bitch?Cash Prize?10 million yen
 Special Jury Prize
                        Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors
 Best Director Award
                        Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu / Love's a Bitch
 Best Screenplay Award
                        Stuart Blumberg / Keeping the Faith
 Best Performance by an
 Actress in a Leading Role
                        Jennifer Jason Leigh / The King is Alive
 Best Performance by an
 Actor in a Leading Role
                        Moussa Maaskri / Mondialito
 Best Artistic Contribution Award
                        One More Day

The Result of the Asian Film Award

 Asian Film Award 
                  Three Brothers
                  Serik Aprymov
                  1 million yen

 Special Mention 
               Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors
                Hong Sang-soo

As usual, Japanese films were largely ignored.  The only award was given 
to Anno Hideaki's Ritual, but it seemed to be mostly the yearly token 
award for the home crowd.  Personally, I found that film to be one of the 
worst of the festival, a self-indulgent mess that aspires for art and 
social significance but which is a disorganized mess of simplistic 
psychology and pretentious artisiness.  It was painful to watch.

As usual, the Japanese entries to the competition were weak, with not 
only Ritual, but also Tohashi Shin's Off Balance being weaker than some 
of the official Japanese entries in other sections.  I only caught Acacia 
Walk (Matsuoka Joji) and Chinpira (Mochizuki Rokuro) in the Nippon CInema 
Now section, but both were well-made, while not always perfect.  I still 
like Mochizuki's depictions of weak gangsters who painfully know they're 
weak, even if his romanticism is getting a bit overboard (like at the 
end).  Matsuoka's film was a skilled, if a bit unadventurous, exploration 
of parent-daughter relationships supported by a masterly use of confined 
space.  The screening of the latter I went to was actually one of the 
better "events" of the festival as, first, the big star Tsugawa Masahiko 
(sitting with the audience) asked about how to make such a good film on 
such a low budget (20 to 25 million yen) when such "trash" (I forget his 
exact word, but you get the gist) as Whiteout is being made.  Matsuoka, 
in answering that question by noting how all the actors have to cooperate 
(his example was how star Watanabe Misako made comments everyday on the 
script), ended up getting "interrupted" by Watanabe herself, raising her 
voice from amidst the audience, who felt it important to say that she 
never "interfered" in the director's actions.  A somewhat humorous 
incident which Matsuoka told me later was a first for him.

As usual, the New Cinema From Japan people showed some other films just 
for press and guests, only some of which I could see.  Kuroki Kazuo's 
Pickpocket was quite good, as was Watanabe Kazushi's 19, but I do have 
questions about the latter.  19 is actually a 35mm remake of an 8mm film 
Watanabe made some years ago that won an award at the Pia Film Festival.  
I liked it then and there's a lot to recommend about the new one, 
especially in its depiction of the banality of youth violence and the 
attraction of social contact, no matter what the cost.  But I still 
wondered about why remake it?  And there was a stylishness to the 35mm 
version that I found disturbing.  (Watanabe, I should note, is a good 
actor who appears in the film).

Of the special screenings, I only saw Oshii Mamoru's Avalon, which I in 
general liked.  I think there are still problems in him directing live 
action, but Oshii's critical ambivalence towards the virtual world of 
anime/games is still challenging and intriguing.

I could say more, but I'd like to hear from others who might have seen 
some of the TIFF films.

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