French Win at TIFF


The 24th Tokyo International Film Festival came to a close last night. The big winner was the French film “Untouchables” which was awarded the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix and $50,000. The film also saw its two male stars, Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, share the Best Actor award. The film is based on a true tale of an aristocrat paralyzed after an accident, and the young black ex-convict employed as his care-giver. Another French winner was “When Pigs Have Wings,” which took the Audience Award. Director Sylvain Estibal said, “It is truly a great honor for us because this is our first time in Japan, our first movie, first film festival, and first award.”

Other people recognized were Ruben Oestlund, who was named Best Director for “Play”, and Glenn Close, who nabbed the Best Actress prize for her cross-dressing performance in “Albert Nobbs.” Local comedy “Kitsutsuki to Ame” (The Woodsman and the Rain), directed by Okita Shunichi and starring Yakusho Koji and Oguri Shun, was given the Special Jury Prize and S20,000. The Japanese Eyes award for local independent filmmakers went to Kobayashi Keiichi’s “Momo Iro Sora O” (About the Pink Sky). Jeffrey Jeturian was the first Philippino to win the Best Asian-Middle Eastern Film with “Trespassers.”

“Themes related to issues of immigration featured strongly in the films of the competitions, including Untouchables, Play and Pigs Have Wings,” pointed out jury president Edward R. Pressman at the closing ceremony at the Roppongi Hills complex in central Tokyo.