by Chris MaGee
When Yojiro Takita's "Departures" was cleaning up at the awards ceremonies in Japan at the end of 2008 I ran into a bit of a problem. You see, I like to give the readers of the Pow-Wow blog a bit of a visual treat and post images that you wouldn't normally get to see elsewhere. There were so many news stories about "Departures", so many accolades won, and so many trophies collected that every time I needed to report on the film it got increasingly more difficult to track down images from the film that we hadn't used in previous posts. Thankfully the "Departures" mania has died down a bit, but it seems to have been replaced by "Dear Doctor" mania.
Miwa Nishikawa's tale of a country doctor who disappears and leaves his former patients and townsfolk to solve the mystery of exactly who he really is going into the awards season with some major "Departures" buzz, and now the buzz is paying off in awards, namely the Top Film of 2009 from venerable film journal Kinema Junpo. Nishikawa's film didn't just won top film, but also was honoured with Best Screenplay and Best Actor for Tsurube Shofukutei.
It's great to see rebel filmmaker Sion Sono on the list for "Love Exposure" amd Hirokazu Kore-eda for his sublime "Air Doll". I do have to say, though, that everytime I see anyone other than Bae Doo-Na being named Best Actress for 2009 I'm going to have to remind everyone of her brilliant performance in "Air Doll".
So, while you all check out the full lists of winners below (courtesy of Tokyograph) I'll get to work tracking down as many images from "Dear Doctor" as I can...
Kinema Junpo's Top 10 Films of 2009
1. Dear Doctor (Miwa Nishikawa)
2. Viyon no Tsuma (Villon's Wife) - Kichitaro Negishi
3. Tsurugidake: Ten no Ki (Mt. Tsurugidake) - Daisaku Kimura
4. Ai no Mukidashi (Love Exposure) - Sion Sono
5. Shizumanu Taiyo (The Sun That Doesn't Se) - Setsuro Wakamatsu
6. Kuuki Ningyou (Air Doll) - Hirokazu Kore-eda
7. Ultra Miracle Love Story - Satoko Yokohama
8. Summer Wars - Mamoru Hosoda
9. Daremo Mamotte Kurenai (Nobody to Watch Over Me) - Ryoichi Kimizuka
10. Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru (Feel the Wind) - Sumio Omori
Best Director: Daisaku Kimura (Tsurugidake: Ten no Ki)
Best Screenplay: Miwa Nishikawa (Dear Doctor)
Best Actor: Tsurube Shofukutei (Dear Doctor)
Best Actress: Takako Matsu (Viyon no Tsuma)
Best Supporting Actor: Tomokazu Miura (Shizumanu Taiyo)
Best Supporting Actress: Hikari Mitsushima (Ai no Mukidashi, Pride, Kuhio Taisa)
Best New Actor: Takahiro Nishijima (Ai no Mukidashi)
Best New Actress: Mieko Kawakami (Pandora no Hako)
Best Cultural Film: Chinmoku wo Yaburu (Toshikuni Doi)