Friday, January 9, 2009

"Departures (Okuribito)" named as the top film of 2008 by Kinema Junpo

by Chris MaGee

It's getting harder and harder to find new stills and promotional images from Yojiro Takita's "Departures (Okuribito)" to accompany every story where it's picked up yet another award... and guess what? It's done just that, but this time it's a biggie. "Departures" has been named as the top film of 2008 at the Kinema Junpo Awards. Put out by Japan's oldest and most respected film journals (it was first published in 1919) its annual awards honour the best in Japanese cinema; and "Departures" joins a very prestigious (and lengthy) list of classic films. Yasujiro Ozu's "Late Spring", Akira Kurosawa's "Ikiru", Nagisa Oshima's "The Ceremony", Takeshi Kitano's "Hana-bi", all of these have taken home this honour, but Kinema Junpo doesn't just name the top film of the year and end there. They also compile a list of their top ten films of the year and give out awards acknowledging everything from acting to directing and screenplay, and "Departures" swept them all. Check out the full list of winners below courtesy of Tokyograph:

Kinema Junpo Top Ten Films of 2008

1. Departures (Okuribito) - Yojiro Takita
2. All Around Us (Gururi no Koto) - Ryonsuke Hashiguchi
3. United Red Army - Koji Wakamatsu
4. Tokyo Sonata - Kiyoshi Kurosawa
5. Still Walking (Aruitemo, Aruitemo) - Hirokazu Kore-eda
6. Children of the Dark (Yami no Kodomotachi) - Junji Sakamoto
7. Kabei: My Mother - Yoji Yamada
8. Climber's High - Masato Harada
9. Kiss (Seppun) - Kunitoshi Manda
10. After School - Kenji Uchida

Additional awards

Best Director: Yojiro Takita (Departures)
Best Screenplay: Kundo Koyama (Departures)
Best Actor: Masahiro Motoki (Departures)
Best Actress: Kyoko Koizumi (Tokyo Sonata)
Best Supporting Actor: Masato Sakai (After School)
Best Supporting Actress: Kirin Kiki (Still Walking)
Best New Actor: Kai Inowaki (Tokyo Sonata)
Best New Actress: Haruna Amari (Kodomo no Kodomo)
Best Foreign Film Director: Sidney Lumet, Sean Penn
Best Cultural Film: Aa Manmo Kaitakudan

(*Postscript: I am so happy to see that Ryosuke Hashiguchi's "All Around Us", my favorite film of 2008 was number two on Kinema Junpo's list this year. I'm also happy to see the story over at that it will be getting a English subs on its upcoming Japanese Region 2 DVD release. Now all we need is for someone to pick up the rights here in North America!)


John said...

When will this movie be available on dvd?

Chris MaGee said...

Wish I knew. Regent Releasing has picked it up, but there's been no street date announced.

Anonymous said...

Probably sooner than before now that they've won best foreign film.