Tokyo Film Fest: Germany's 'The Bloom of Yesterday' Wins Grand Prix

'The Bloom of Yesterday' Still - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of Toyko International Film Festival

The film from Chris Kraus tells the story of a Holocaust researcher who makes unexpected discoveries and sees his life turned upside down.

The Bloom of Yesterday, from German director Chris Kraus (Four Minutes), won the $50,000 Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival on Thursday. The story of a Holocaust researcher who makes unexpected discoveries and sees his life turned upside down premiered at the fest.

The $20,000 special jury prize went to Sami Blood, a film about prejudice against the Sami indigenous people of the Swedish mountains, directed by Amanda Kernell, which also won best actress and $5,000 for child actor Lene Cecilia Sparrok.

Croatian Hana Jusic won best director for her family drama Quit Staring at My Plate, while Chinese director Mei Feng won best artistic contribution for his black-and-white Mr. No Problem.

Best actor award and $5,000 went to Paolo Ballesteros for his performance as a Filipino transgender woman in Die Beautiful, directed by Jun Robles Lana.

"I thought it was just a red carpet today, so I wore a dress. Anyway, I thought I was up for best actress," said Ballesteros, wearing an evening dress.

Your Name director Makoto Shinkai and Godzilla Resurgence producer Akihiro Yamauchi, representing the biggest box office hits of the year in Japan, were two of the recipients of the Arigato (thank you) Award at the beginning of the closing ceremony. Godzilla made an appearance onstage in the shape of someone in a rubber suit in the fashion of that worn in the original production, released on this day in 1954, of the storied monster franchise.

The Asian Future award for up-and-coming directors and $10,000 went to Birdshot, directed by Mikhail Red, a thriller about a farmer’s daughter who is investigated for accidentally shooting an endangered Philippine eagle, leading to the discovery of far more serious crimes. Lipstick Under My Burkha, a story of women struggling for freedom in India, the second feature from Alankrita Shrivastava, won the Spirit of Asia Award in the same category.

The Japanese Cinema Splash best picture award for local films went to Poolsideman, collected by an overwhelmed and tearful Hirobumi Watanabe, who wrote, edited, directed and appeared in the film, while his brother Yuji executive produced.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa collected the already announced Samurai Award for himself and on behalf of Martin Scorsese, who sent a video message.