Helmer Yang’s first feature snatches victory

Korean helmer Yang Ik-june’s “Breathless” won the grand prize and audience award at the 10th Tokyo Filmex, which closed on Sunday.

Yang’s first feature, a partially biographical account of domestic violence in South Korea, has won an armload of prizes on the fest circuit, including the Tiger Award at this year’s Rotterdam fest.

The jury, headed by Japanese helmer Yoichi Sai, praised it for achieving “a very difficult chemistry in films; a fusion of several genres and emotions, sometimes extreme.”

The Special Jury Prize Kodak Vision Award went to Iranian helmer Bahman Ghobadi’s “No One Knows About Persian Cats.”

In addition to the 10 pics in the competition section, all from Asia or the Middle East, the fest included retros dedicated to Jean-Pierre Melville and Japanese pics from the 1930s.

Among 10 films in the Special Screenings section were two U.S. entries — Bradley Rust’s “The Exploding Girl” and Courtney Hunts’ “Frozen River” — as well as new pics by Park Chan-wook (“Thirst”), Amos Gitai (“Carmel”), Lou Ye (“Spring Fever”) and Toshiaki Toyoda (“The Blood of Rebirth”).

The nine-day fest linked up with pic promotion org UniJapan to present industry screenings of new Japanese movies at the National Film Center in Tokyo.

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