by Chris MaGee
It was just short of a month ago that it was announced that Kichitaro Negishi's film adaptation of the Osamu Dazai novel "Villon's Wife" was going to be screening at the Montreal World Film Festival. Now with the 33rd offering of the fest wrapping up in Quebec yesterday now news comes that Negishi has walked away with one of it's biggest honours.
This year's jury, which included Japanese actor/ director Eiji Okuda, awarded the 59-year-old Negishi with Best Director honours for his handling of "Villon's Wife", the story of a downtrodden wife (Takako Matsu) and her alcoholic author husband (Tadanobu Asano), a story long felt to be one of Osamu Dazai's most autobiographical.
While Montreal didn't see a Japanese film take the top prize for Best Film like in 2006 with Eiji Okuda's "Nagai Sampo (A Long Walk)", and last year with Yojiro Takita's "Departures" (that honour went to Tony Gatlif's "Korkoro"), this win for Negishi, the man who also brought us "What the Snow Brings" and "Dog in a Sidecar", should see the profile of "Villon's Wife" get raised significantly here in North America.
Congratulations to Negishi-san and his cast and crew, and thanks to The Montreal Gazette for the details on this story.