TOKYO — Lukas Moodysson’s “We Are the Best!,” a dramedy about three 13-year-old girls who start a punk band in 1982 Stockholm, was awarded the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix at the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival on Friday.
The Swedish director told the closing night crowd at the Toho Cinema Roppongi Hills theater that he had no expectations his picture would prevail. “It’s not the kind of film that wins prizes,” he explained. “I had planned to spend the night shopping for toys and having dinner” with wife Coco, on whose memoir the pic was based, and their young daughter.
The second-place special jury prize was given to Iranian helmer Behnam Bezadi’s coming-of-age drama “Bending the Rules,” while best director honors went to Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson for his equine drama “Of Horses and Men.”
Winner of the best acting prize was Chinese actor Wang Jingchun for his turn as a bulldog cop in Ning Ying’s “To Live and Die in Ordos.” The Philippines’ Eugene Domingo took Best Actress honors for her work as a newbie barber in Jun Robles Lana’s “Barber’s Tales.”
The fest’s audience award was scooped by Lee Ju-hyoung’s “Red Family” while the award for best artistic contribution went to Aaron Fernandez’s “The Empty Hours.”
Competition jury president Chen Kaige praised the fest for its professional organization and offered a final message of “baigaeshi” — the catchphrase of the hit Japanese TV drama “Hanzawa Naoki” that means “pay you back double.” The show’s banker hero uses it as a threat, though the closing crowd took it as a good-natured gag.
In the new Japanese Cinema Splash section for local indie pics the Best Picture prize was awarded to Ayumi Sakamoto’s “Forma,” while the top prize in the Asian Future section for new Asian directors was given to Chinese director Yang Huilong’s “Today and Tomorrow.”
In addition to the Tokyo fest, which unspooled Oct. 17-25, the Japan Contents Showcase, including the TIFFCOM film and TV market, as well as markets devoted to music and cartoons, was held in the Grand Pacific Daiba Hotel Oct. 22-24. The total number of visitors to the three-day event was 22, 738, up 176 percent from last year, while the number of registered buyers rose 109 percent to 1, 074, with 525 from Japan and 549 from abroad.