'Untouchables' Wins Top Prize at Tokyo Intl Film Fest

8:59 AM PST 10/30/2011 by Gavin J. Blair

It's a good day for France as the film, by French screenwriter/director duo Eric Toledano and Oliver Nakache, takes the $50,000 prize and "When Pigs Have Wings" takes the audience award at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival on Sunday.

TOKYO – Untouchables from French screenwriter/director duo Eric Toledano and Oliver Nakache took the Sakura Grand Prix and $50,000 at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) on Sunday afternoon.

Based on a true tale of an aristocrat paralyzed after an accident, and the young black ex-convict employed as his care-giver, Untouchables also won the best actor award, with the two leads, Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, sharing the $10,000 prize.

It was a good day for France as When Pigs have Wings (Le Cochon de Gaza) took the audience award - and $10,000 - for director Sylvain Estibal, who appeared on stage with his actress wife Myriam Tekaϊa, who appears in the film.  

“It is truly a great honor for us because this is our first time in Japan, our first movie, first film festival, and first award. This is the best award we could’ve dreamed of and it is wonderful to share it with you,” said Estibal at a ceremony earlier in the day where the audience award was announced.

“Themes related to issues of immigration featured strongly in the films of the competitions, including Untouchables, Play and Pigs Have Wings,” pointed out jury president Edward R. Pressman at the closing ceremony in the Toho Cinema in the Roppongi Hills complex where the festival and TIFFCOM market took place.

Japanese director Shunichi Okita won the Special Jury Prize, and S20,000 for his feel-good comedy The Woodsman and the Rain, (Kitsutsuki to Ame), starring Koji Yakusho (Memoirs of a Geisha) and Shun Oguri.

Ruben Ostlund won best director award - and $5,000 – for Play, his film about the children of immigrants scamming white Swedish boys in Gothenburg. 

“After much debate, we decided to give the Best Artistic Contribution award to two films,” said jury president Pressman.

Kora, a tale of a Taiwanese youth who completes the journey by bicycle to Tibet that claimed his older brother’s life, won $5,000 for director Du Jiayi, who hobbled on to the stage on crutches.   

Detachment, a US classroom drama took the other half of the award. Famously eccentric British director Tony Kaye sent a video message in which, after a few halting sentences, he sung a song, accompanying himself on the guitar, that he said the captured feelings of the film’s main character.

Best actress award went to Glenn Close for her cross-dressing performance in Albert Nobbs. Close appeared on a live video link from the set of Damages in New York where said they were still filming at 2 a.m.

The Japanese Eyes award for local independent filmmakers went to About the Pink Sky (Momo Iro Sora O) from Keiichi Kobayashi, whlle the Winds of Asia Middle East award went to Jeffrey Jeturian's Tresppasers from the Philippines. 

TIFF Chairman Tom Yoda concluded the ceremony reporting that the festival and market together had attracted a total of over 170,000 admissions in a challenging year for Japan. 

Director Bennett Miller then appeared on stage to announce Moneyball, the festival’s closing film, though he was clearly disappointed at the number of people leaving the theater after the two-hour ceremony, but before the screening.

There had been rumors that the film’s star, Brad Pitt, would be attending, but he will now appear at the Japan premiere on November 9. 

Twitter@GavinJBlair

 

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