mark schilling 0934611501 at jcom.home.ne.jp
Thu Nov 13 08:45:47 EST 2003

Aaron asked for comments on the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Here's a link to my festival wrap piece in "The Japan Times":


The quality of the competition was appallingly bad, with half the films
either outright awful ("The Omen"), blatantly commercial ("Calendar Girls)
or a mix of the two. I wasn't the only one who thought so -- at the closing
party I talked with two jurors who said the jury was "furious" with the
competition selection.

They also said that the jury was sharply divided over the Grand Prix, with
Gong Li with supporting Ryuichi Hiroki's "Vibrator" and Irvin Kershner and
Takashige Ichise strongly opposed. They finally compromised on "Nuan." I had
half expected Ichise to nix "Vibrator" -- it's the antithesis of everything
he's made.

I wonder the TIFF was thinking when they invited a producer best known for
his horror flicks ("The Ring," "The Grudge") to be on the jury in the first
place? Yet another of its many genuflections toward the altar of the box

Mark Schilling

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Aaron Gerow" <onogerow at angel.ne.jp>
To: "KineJapan" <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2003 1:28 PM
Subject: TIFF

> 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

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