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‘Heaven Knows What’ Wins Top Tokyo Prize, Japan’s ‘Pale Moon’ Takes Audience Award

TOKYO — Joshua and Benny Safdie’s gritty New York drug scene drama “Heaven Knows What” was awarded the Tokyo Grand Prix on Friday at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo International Film Festival’s 27th edition, which unspooled Oct. 23-31.

Jury head, James Gunn said “I loved the movie and I’m excited about the futures of all the filmmakers involved with it.” The two Safdies also scooped the best director award. 

The special jury prize went to “The Lesson,” a drama about a teacher in a Bulgarian elementary school by another directing duo, Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov. 

The winner of the best actor prize was Robert Wieckiewicz, who played an alcoholic writer in Polish director Wojtek Smarzowski’s “The Mighty Angel,” while the best actress award went to Rie Miyazawa for her turn as an embezzling bank employee in Daihachi Yoshida’s “Pale Moon.” The film, the only one of the fifteen competition entries from Japan, also scooped the Audience Award.
 
In the Asian Future section for up-and-coming Asian directors the Best Asian Future Award went to Iranian director Amirhossein Asgari’s “Borderless,” while The Spirit of Asia Award was given to Cambodian helmer Sotho Kulkar’s “The Last Reel.”

In the Japanese Cinema Splash section for indie films best picture honors went to Masaharu Take’s boxing drama “100 Yen Love,” while a special mention was made for Shuichi Okita’s women-lost-in-the-woods ensemble drama “Ecotherapy Getaway Holiday.”

Tim Burton and Japanese actor-director Takeshi Kitano also stepped on stage to receive their previously announced Samurai Awards for career achievement.

After quipping that he welcomed the return of the Red Carpet at this year’s fest — the eco-themed Green Carpet in previous editions, he said “made me feel like I was walking on grass,” Kitano expressed his gratitude for the prize. “I feel like turning into a butterfly and flying away,” he said. 

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