'Gran Torino' tops Japan critics' list

'Dear Doctor' big winner takes three honors for 2009 films

TOKYO – Miwa Nishikawa’s “Dear Doctor” was the big winner on the Kinema Junpo critics’ awards list, while Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” and “Changeling” took the number one and three spots for foreign films.

Nishikawa’s tale of a small-town doctor with a mysterious past won the best picture, screenplay and actor (Tsurube Shofukutei) awards for films released in 2009.

Nishikawa, whose “Yureru” (“Sway”) was nominated at Cannes in 2006, is one of the few successful female Japanese directors. She has previously worked closely with Hirokazu Kore’eda, who’s “Kuki Ningyo: (“Air Doll”) came in at number six.

Last year’s domestic honors were dominated by the Oscar-winning “Okuribito” (“Departures”), while the foreign film award went to “No Country for Old Men,” which had already won the previous year’s best picture Oscar.

“Viyon no Tsuma” (“Villion’s Wife”) -- one of three adaptations of Osamu Daizai novels produced last year -- came second in the prestigious critics’ poll, and also won the best actress award for Takako Matsu.
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