Brazilian Drama ‘Nise’ Wins Tokyo Festival Grand Prix

Nise — The Heart of Madness,” Brazilian director Roberto Berliner’s biopic about a crusading woman doctor in a Rio psychiatric hospital, was awarded the Tokyo Grand Prix on Saturday.

Prizes were handed out at the closing ceremony of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival (Oct. 22-31) at multiple venues around the Japanese capital.

Berliner said that his heroine, Dr. Nise da Silveira, was not well known at the time he made the film and felt “it was my responsibility to show her story to the world.” Gloria Pires received the best actress prize for her performance in the title role.

The film had its international premiere in Tokyo. It first screened at the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival in October.

Taking the special jury prize was director Kheiron’s drama “All Three of Us” about a young anti-government activist in Iran. Best actor honors went to Roland Moller and Louis Hoffman for their turns in the Danish post-WWII drama “Land of Mine.” The award for best artistic contribution was given to Olmo Omerzu’s “Family Film” and the audience award to Edoardo Falcone’s “God Willing.”

Competition jury head Bryan Singer apologized for his hoarse voice, saying that he had strained it “screaming at the other jury members for hours,” but quickly added that they were “brilliant people” who had “come to a mutual commonality” about the winners. “I wish we had more awards to give out,” he said, in praising the 16 competition entries.

In the Japanese cinema splash section for independent Japanese films, the winner was Hiroshi Shoji’s drug pusher drama “Ken and Kazu.”

In the Asian Future section for films by up-and-coming Asian directors, the best Asian future award went to Pimpaka Towira’s woman-on-a-journey drama “The Island Funeral.”

TIFF organizers reported total admissions of 63,700 for the 10-day, 207-film festival, while attendance at the TIFFCOM contents market and allied events was 240,000.  Total attendance for the Red Carpet and other TIFF official events was 146,000.

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