by Chris MaGee
Well, I couldn't let today go by withot posting a story about the winners of this year's Nippon Connection Film Festival that wrapped last night with the closing ceremony and gala screening of the absolutely wonderful "All Around Us" directed by Ryosuke Hashiguchi. As part of the closing ceremony the recipient of the 2,000 euro Nippon Cinema Award for this years festival was announced and the very deserving winner was Toshio Lee's death-metal comedy "Detroit Metal City". Many of you in Toronto will have hopefully caught the film when is screened as part of the Midnight Madness programme at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, and those of you who did will know just how hilarious star Ken'ichi Matsuyama was in his dual role as Soichi and Johannes Krauser II. Besides "DMC" picking up the top award, Hideyuki Hirayama's gentle rakugo comedy "Talk Talk, Talk" picked up the third prize while the second went to Fujiro Mitsuishi's live-action adaptation of Hiromi Morishita's manga "Osaka Hamlet". A few attendees of the festival were a bit surprised that Sion Sono's "Love Exposure" didn't get a nod, but all the awards were based on audience votes, so I guess the people have spoken.
Up very late last night ath the closing party for this years fest and just getting ready to pack up for the airport, so I'll end this report my giving a big thanks to Alex Zahlten for asking me to attend this year's fest, to Marion Klomfass for being the heart and soul of it again, to Lukas Brehm and Petra Palmer for putting up with all my weird requests for internet access (mental note to self: next year buy a laptop!) and to Chris Görler for squiring me around like a V.I.P., as well as all the other folks at the fest (Shinichi, Mark, Lisa, Martin, Dorothee, Mayu, Iwamoto-san, etc, etc.) It was an honour to be a part of this wonderful event and I'm definitely going to make it back next year.
So, just as a recap as to what you can expect in the next few days and weeks here on the Pow-Wow blog: a transcript of my round table discussion with Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Non-ko) and Ryuichi Honda (GS Wonderland) as well as reviews for each film, a review for Yuki Tanada's amazing "Ain't No Tomorrows" plus an accompanying interview, an exclusive interview with "Tokyo Sonata" producer Yukie Kito, plus many reviews of films caught here at the fest.
Lastly, you'll forgive me if in the next 24 hours we don't have much posted. I just need to settle in, shake of the jet-lag, Bob, Matt, Marc, and I need to touch base about the past week and then we'll be back on our regular schedule with great daily news and reviews from the world of Japanese Cinema. See you in Toronto soon....
UPDATE: I mentioned in the story above that there were a few people I spoke to that seemed a bit puzzled and disappointed that Sion Sono's "Love Exposure" didn't take the top prize at this year's Nippon Connection, but I got a message from Martin Stoklassa, who works with Nippon Connection and helped me with my chat with Kazuyoshi Kumakiri and Ryuichi Honda, as to why Sono's 4-hour epic didn't make the cut:
"Maybe I can clear up the confusion with 'Love Exposure' not being amongst the top three films voted for by the audience. Eligible for the Nippon Cinema Award are only films which celebrate their German/European/International premiere at Nippon Connection. Unfortunately, 'Love Exposure' was already screened at and awarded with the Caligari and FIPRESCI price at the Berlin International Film Festival, the 'Berlinale'. They beat us to it, so Love Exposure could not possibly have been voted for."
Thanks for the clarification, Martin!