The Tokyo International Film Festival, for all it’s size, remains in search of an identity. Which may be why the Japan Times‘ Mark Schilling and Mark Thompson commenting on the festival’s award-winners is more interesting than the list of winners itself.
Schilling, who sat on the jury for the Japanese Eyes section, writes about how he had "no hesitation" in selecting, with his fellow critic-jurors, Mitsuo Yanagimachi‘s "Who’s Camus Anyway?" (which we also loved) for the Best Picture Award and Riichiro Mashima‘s "Ski Jumping Pairsï¼Road to Torino 2006" for the Special Award. The latter does sound amazing:
Advertised as a "human documentary," the film is in fact a brilliant send-up of all those po-faced NHK docs on triumphs-against-adversity. It then segues, midway, into — well, I really shouldn’t say, only that I have never — and I mean never — seen a Japanese film so all-fours-in-the-air funny. Think "Airplane" on the ski slopes. It’s that good.
Thompson is less pleased that Kichitaro Negichi‘s sentimental "What the Snow Brings" picked up the Sakura Grand Prix, Best Director and Best Actor award, when he reports that the critical favorite was clearly Chinese title "You and Me."
The LA Weekly‘s Scott Foundas recaps the bliss that is the Pusan International Film Festival, a fest that’s acquired an astonishingly hip reputation, partially on the basis of South Korea’s current status as the darling of edgy film:
Having written here earlier this year that Sundance "is one of the youngest of film festivals," after a few days in Pusan, I find myself having to eat my words. Indeed, Pusan is so overrun with the young â€” even the 60-ish festival director, Kim Dong-Ho, possesses the energy (and the ability to party into the wee morning hours) of someone one-third his age â€” that you begin to wonder what exactly they do with all the old people.
Foundas also writes, less deliriously, about L.A.’s soon-to-kick-off AFI Fest, which he sees as disappointing and, like TIFF, a big festival in search of an identity. Following his intro are blurbs about each film being screened â€” many have been kicking around the fest circuit for a while, but here’s an interesting bit:
Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November, 2004, in retaliation against his short film "Submission," a coarse condemnation of the misogyny inherent in Islamic fundamentalism. There may be an emotional imperative to look kindly upon van Gogh’s last completed feature, but "06/05" is simply dreadful, seizing on the death of Pim Fortuyn â€” the right-wing politician who shared van Gogh’s anti-immigration views and, ultimately, his same terrible fate â€” as the excuse for a glib speculative thriller. (ArcLight 11, Fri., Nov. 4, 10 p.m.; ArcLight 14, Sun., Nov. 6, 1 p.m.) (Jessica Winter)
(We are a bit obsessed with T. van Gogh, but can you blame us? If the point of making a short film is to use it to draw attention to yourself (generally using this attention to go on to make features) he may have been, in his unfortunate way, the most successful short film maker of our time.)
The Village Voice‘s Dennis Lim checks in from Vancouver International Film Festival, and Canada.com (link via Movie City Indie) reports that this year’s Toronto International Film Festival has set a new record: "Total film sales…have been estimated at more than $52 million, including $29 million domestic and $23 million international, says festival co-director Noah Cowan."
+ List of Award Winners (TIFF Official site)
+ Making a difference in Japanese cinema (Japan Times)
+ And the winner, by a nose, is… (Japan Times)
+ Chic Korea (LA Weekly)
+ How Am I Not Myself (LA Weekly)
+ Frame Canada (Village Voice)
+ T.O. film fest sets $52m sales records (Canada.com)