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‘Yesterday’ Takes Top Prize at Tokyo Film Festival

TOKYO — Chris Kraus’s Holocaust-themed drama “The Bloom of Yesterday” was awarded the Tokyo Grand Prix, the top prize of the Tokyo International Film Festival’s 16-title competition, at the closing ceremony on Thursday. The film also received the Wowow viewer’s choice award, selected by a committee of film fans.

The second-place special jury prize was awarded to Swedish director Amanda Kernell’s “Sami Blood,” a drama about 1930’s-era discrimination.

Jean-Jacques Beineix, head of the competition jury, announced the top award and Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike presented it.

In her remarks, Koike pledged to financially support the festival, noting that film was part of the government’s drive to “bring Japanese culture to the world” in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Paolo Ballesteros won the best actor prize for his turn as the transsexual hero of Jun Robles Lana’s “Die Beautiful.” Lene Cecilia Sparrok took the best actress award for her performance as the young heroine of “Sami Blood.” The best director award went to Croatia’s Hana Jusic for her female-centered drama “Quit Staring at My Plate.“ The best artistic contribution prize was awarded to Chinese director Mei Feng’s “Mr. No Problem.“ The audience award went to “Die Beautiful.”

Among other winners included: Hirobumi Watanabe’s “Poolsideman” in the Japanese Cinema Splash section: Alankrita Shrivastava’s “Lipstick Under My Burkha” winner of the spirit of Asia award; Mikhail Red’s “Birdshot” winner of the best Asian future film award in the Asian Future section.

The festival presented its Arigato award for contributions to Japanese film to actor Satoshi Tsumabuki, actress Mitsuki Takahata, animation director Makoto Shinkai, whose romantic fantasy “Your Name” is this year’s biggest box office hit, and to the Godzilla character, represented by Akihiro Yamauchi, producer of “Shin Godzilla.”

Unspooling Oct. 25-Nov. 3 at venues in Tokyo, the festival’s 29th edition saw
Tokyo Film Festival attendance total 60,600, while the number of visitors to affiliated events including the TIFFCOM market was announced as 222,000.

The closing film was Yoshitaka Mori’s “Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow,” a true-life drama about a troubled Japanese board game prodigy who beat the sport’s reigning champion, but not the illness that killed him at 29.

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