The Eternal Zero is Japan box

Italian festival has become major staging post for commercial Asian movies

UDINE, Italy — “The Eternal Zero,” Takashi Yamazaki’s drama about a WWII Japanese fighter pilot who joins the kamikaze suicide squad, won the first place Audience Award at the 16th edition of the Far East Film Festival (April 25-May 3) in Udine, Italy.

Decided by votes of the general audience, second and third place awards went to Yang Woo-seok”s “The Attorney” and Jun Robles Lana’s “Barber’s Tale,” respectively.

Festival director Sabrina Baracetti also presented the Black Dragon prize, for the top vote getter among holders of premium passes, to “The Attorney” and the My Movies award, which is decided by Internet votes, to Hideki Takeuchi’s time-travel comedy “Thermae Romae II,” which was the fest’s closing film. Takeuchi also picked up the My Movies prize two years ago when his previous pic “Thermae Romae” has its world premiere at the Udine FEFF before becoming a hit at the Japanese box office.

Starting in 1999, when it screened a line-up of Hong Kong pics, the Udine FEFF has grown to become the largest fest of popular Asian cinema in Europe, with films from South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. This year’s program also featured five restored classics, a section of four documentaries and the Fresh Wave section of shorts from Hong Kong.

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