Aaron Gerow onogerow at angel.ne.jp
Sun Nov 9 22:28:41 EST 2003

The 2003 Tokyo International Film Festival ended last night with the 
awards ceremony. The only Japanese film to be awarded was Hiroki 
Ryuichi's _Vibrator_--the lead actress Terajima Shinobu won best 
actress. The Japanese actor Kagawa Teruyuki won best actor for the 
Chinese film _Nuan_.

I saw a number of KineJapanners at the festival and it seems the 
general opinion was that the TIFF, long a horrible film festival, has 
gotten slightly better, though there is still a lot of room for 
improvement. The competition was weak as usual, but for once there was 
a really good Japanese film there (Vibrator, which some were predicting 
would win). The Japanese film section was no longer stuck on the 
margin, and actually featured some interesting works (I liked Taguchi 
Tomoro's _Iden & Tity_). Interesting special invitation films included 
Miike's _Chakushin ari_, Sabu's _Hard Luck Hero_, and Tanada Yuki's 
_Takada Wataru-teki_ (which was interesting as much for the 
mini-concert Takada gave after the screening). We could actually see 
the faces of some programmers, who at times spoke honestly about the 
TIFF's problems. Organization was slightly better, though everyone 
complained about waiting in line for tickets.

But the same old problems still remain. The festival is not considered 
important outside of Japan, and thus rarely gets good films from 
abroad. Too much of the selection was influenced by Japanese 
distributors (that such a sappy film as _Hotaru no hoshi_ would be in 
the competition could only be explained by the fact it's a Kadokawa 
film and Kadokawa is general producer of the festival). Nippon Cinema 
Classics had two films with subtitles, but most did not and the 
selection was unimaginative. The Regional Films selection of Japanese 
films was a good idea, but the films picked were not--and that theater 
did all its teach-ins without English translation.

Any other comments or reviews?
Aaron Gerow
Film Studies and East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University

More information about the KineJapan mailing list