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Monday, Oct. 29, 2012

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And the winners are: Director Lorraine Levy (from left), actor Jules Sitruk and producer Virginie Lacombe pose on Sunday at the 25th Tokyo International Film Festival in the Roppongi district. Levy's "The Other Son" was awarded the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix. She also won best director honors. YOSHIAKI MIURA

French film takes top honors in Tokyo

Special to The Japan Times

Lorraine Levy's "The Other Son," a drama about a young Israeli's encounter with his true identity, was awarded the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix at the closing ceremony of the 25th Tokyo International Film Festival in Roppongi Hills on Sunday.

Levy also won best director honors at the festival, which ended its nine-day run after showings at Roppongi and other venues.

The second place Special Jury Prize went to Kang Yi Kwan's "Juvenile Offender," while Seo Young Ju won the best actor prize for his work in the movie.

Neslihan Atagul picked up the best actress prize for her performance in "Araf — Somewhere in Between." Finally, Pankaj Kumar, the cinematographer of the Indian film "Ship of Theseus," won for best artistic contribution.

The Audience Award went to "Flashback Memories 3D," Tetsuaki Matsui's quietly devastating, yet finally hopeful, documentary about a musician who lost much of his memory in a road accident.

Jury Chairman Roger Corman said "all the films were excellent films that demonstrate the power and glory of cinema."

In his closing remarks, Tom Yoda said he will continue to serve as TIFF chairman until the end of next March, when he will hand the reins to industry veteran Yasushi Shiina, director and executive adviser at Kadokawa Shoten Publishing.

During Yoda's five years at the top, the festival gained a new green theme, as symbolized by its opening day green carpet and its Natural TIFF section of eco-themed films.

In the Winds of Asia-Middle East section, which focused this year on Indonesian and Cambodian cinema, the best Asian-Middle Eastern film award went to Turkish director Reis Celik's "Night of Silence," a drama about a wedding between a young girl and a much older man. Special mentions were given to "Him, Here After" (Sri Lanka), "Full Circle" (China) and "Bwakaw" (the Philippines).

Winner of the Best Picture Award for the Japanese Eyes section, which focuses on Japanese independent films, was "GFP Bunny." In Yutaka Tsuchiya's docu-drama, the teenage heroine becomes obsessed with bio-tech — and experiments on her own mother. More than a twisted family drama, the film is an information-rich, cleverly structured meditation on the human future in an age when humanity is merging with its technology.

The Toyota Earth Grand Prix for the best fiction or documentary film with an eco-related theme was awarded to Valerie Berteau's "Himself He Cooks" from Belgium, while the Special Jury Prize went to Candida Brady's "Trashed" from the U.K.

Meanwhile, the prize for the biggest news story during the festival went to the belated attempt by a Chinese production company to pull the Wang Jing family drama "Feng Shui" from the contest. TIFF decided to go ahead with the screenings anyway, with festival programmer Nobushige Toshima commenting that "politics should not be inserted into a venue for cultural exchange."

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The Japan Times

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