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Kore-eda And Huppert Lead Marrakech’s Homage To Japanese Cinema

MARRAKECH — Hirokazu Kore-eda graced the stage at the Marrakech Film Festival along with Japan’s top filmmakers to receive this year’s homage to Japanese cinema from the hands of French star and jury president Isabelle Huppert on Tuesday evening.

Upon receiving the award, Kore-eda thanked the festival’s president Melita Toscan du Plantier and artistic director Bruno Barde, among other personalities, for putting together an “impressive retrospective of 27 movies that give a glimpse of the best of Japanese cinema.”

The critically acclaimed director, whose latest pic “Like Father, Like Son” won Cannes’ jury prize and ecumenical jury award, spoke more specifically about three movies that have inspired him as a filmmaker.

“First of all, one of the best films I’ve seen in my whole life is ‘Floating Clouds’ by Mikio Naruse, then a film that rejoices me totally each time I see it – even though I don’t like fighting and have never taken part in a fight — is ‘Fighting Elegy’ by Seijun Suzuki. And then there is ‘Sonatine’ by Takeshi Kitano, which opened a new era to young filmmakers of my generation by showing the world in a totally new way,” explained Kore-eda before being joined on stage by fellow directors, notably Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Takuya Misawa.

Following the footsteps of last year’s jury president Martin Scorsese — who paid tribute to Scandinavia cinema — Huppert delivered an eloquent speech revealing her knowledge and admiration of Japanese masters. The actress spoke about the directors she considers “masters of the mise-en-scene: “Yasujiro Ozu (“I Was Born But…), Akira Kurosawa (“Seven Samurai”) and Nagisa Oshima (“In the Realm of the Senses”).

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Huppert also cited Shohei Imamura, the only Japanese director to win two Palme d’Or awards (for “The Ballad of Narayama” and “The Eel”).

Kore-eda said he was also a fan of Huppert. “She worked with great masters like Jean-Luc Godard and Claude Chabrol, and it’s a great honor to share the stage with her.”

Guests were then treated to a series of clips sampling the eclectic retrospective, ranging from“Hara Kiri” to “Audition,” “Suicide Club” and “Tokyo Sonata.”

The ceremony was followed by the screening of Takuya Misawa’s “Chigasaki Story” with its director Misawa, actress Ena Koshina and producer Kousuke Ono in attendance.

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