Hollywood, Asian Stars Attend Opening of Tokyo Film Festival

Tokyo Skyline - H - 2013
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Hilary Swank, Helen Mirren, Robert Zemeckis, Bryan Singer and Cary Fukunaga were among the guests at the opening ceremony that was more low-key than in previous years.

Guests from Hollywood, Japan and other parts of Asia walked the red carpet for the opening of Tokyo International Film Festival on a warm Thursday afternoon in the Japanese capital.

Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke, director and producer of opening film The Walk, were joined by jury president Bryan Singer, Beasts of No Nation director Cary Fukunaga, Hilary Swank and Helen Mirren.

Japan was represented by numerous local stars, including Koji Yakusho (Babel) and Ring horror director Hideo Nakata, as well as Sony CEO Kaz Hirai (The Walk is a TriStar/Sony Pictures film.)

Meanwhile, the actresses of Hong Kong film Lazy Crazy Hazy, including former Japanese porn star Sora Aoi, brought some glamor to the Roppongi Hills complex, the main venue for the 10-day festival.

With the prime minister not attending this year, Japan's Minister of Economy Trade and Industry at the opening ceremony hailed the success of Japanese films, citing Kiyoshi Kurosawa's director award at this year's Cannes festival, as well as the international release of Attack on Titan, the live-action double bill of the popular manga and anime. 

Jury president Singer recalled his two previous visits to the Tokyo fest, the first with The Usual Suspects in 1995 and attempting to make a speech in Japanese when he attended again three years later. “It was terrible and I got a number of words wrong," he said. "I won’t be repeating that mistake this time."

Despite a solid sprinkling of international and local celebrities on the red carpet, the opening ceremony had a somewhat low-key feel compared to last year’s, which featured the world premiere of Big Hero 6, the prime minister and the appearance of Japan’s biggest boy band on stage.

By the time the screening had begun for The Walk, which has already opened to a mostly underwhelming reaction in around 70 countries, a large number of seats in the venue were empty.         

The festival runs until Oct. 31 at Roppongi Hills and other central Tokyo venues.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair