by Chris MaGee
While it seems to have earned the moniker of "this year's 'Departures'" it seems like Miwa Nishikawa's "Dear Doctor" isn't enjoying the across the board accolades that Yojiro Takita's bittersweet Oscar-winner did at the Japanese awards ceremonies in 2008/09. Nishikawa's tale of the disappearance of a country doctor has got some serious competition in the form of Setsuro Wakamatsu's "The Sun That Doesn't Set".
The film, based on the novel by Toyoko Yamasaki which in turn was based on the real-life investigation that followed the 1985 JAL Flight 123 air disaster, stars Ken Watanabe, Erika Toda, Ren Osugi, and Shu Sugata amongst others. It already took home Best Film at the 34th Hochi Film Awards in December (read our report here) and this past week"The Sun That Doesn't Set" was awarded top honours yet again, this time being given the Grand Prize at the Mainichi Film Awards. Daisaku Kimura's mountain-climbing epic "Mt. Tsurugidake" was named as Best Film.
Along with "The Sun That Doesn't Set's" and "Mt. Tsurugidake" other major awards went to Sion Sono for Best Director for his genre-bending 4-hour epic "Love Exposure", Ken'ichi Matsuyama took home Best Actor honours for his role as a simple-minded country boy in Satoko Yokohama's "Ultra Miracle Love Story", and Manami Konishi was awarded Best Actress for her role as a single mother in Akira Ogata's "Nonchan Noriben". In a surprsing turn "Dear Doctor" nearly walked away empty-handed with only Kaoru Yachigusa picking up an award for Best Supporting Actress.
You can check out the full list of winners below (courtesy of Tokyograph) who will be picking up their trophies on February 8th when the 64th annual Mainichi Film Awards are given out at a ceremony in Tokyo.
Best Film: Shizumanu Taiyo (The Sun That Doesn't Set)
Best Film: Tsurugidake: Ten no Ki (Mt. Tsurugidake)
Best Foreign Film: Gran Torino
Best Director: Sion Sono (Love Exposure)
Best Screenplay: Yozo Tanaka (Villon's Wife)
Best Actor: Kenichi Matsuyama (Ultra Miracle Love Story)
Best Actress: Manami Konishi (Nonchan Noriben)
Best Supporting Actor: Ittoku Kishibe (Osaka Hamlet)
Best Supporting Actress: Kaoru Yachigusa (Dear Doctor)
Sponichi Grand Prix Newcomer Award: Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima (both for Love Exposure)
Kinuyo Tanaka Award: Keiko Takahashi
Best Cinematography: Daisaku Kimura (Mt. Tsurugidake)
Best Art Direction: Yohei Taneda, Kyoko Yauchi (Villon's Wife)
Best Music: Shigeomi Hasumi (Watashi wa Neko Stalker)
Best Sound: Kenichi Ishidera (Mt. Tsurugidake)
Best Animated Film: Summer Wars
Noburo Ofuji Award: Denshin-Bashira Elemi no Koi (Hideio Nakata)
Best Documentary: Annyeong Yumika (Tetsuaki Matsue)
Tsutaya Fan Award (Domestic Film): ROOKIES -Sotsugyo-
Tsutaya Fan Award (Foreign Film): Michael Jackson's This Is It
Special Awards: actor Hisaya Morishige, actress/producer Takiko Mizunoe
Review: BITTER HARVEST Is Bad Canadian Borscht
59 minutes ago