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26th Tokyo film fest wraps, ‘We Are the Best!’ takes Sakura prize

'We Are The Best!'
‘We Are The Best!’
TOKYO (TR) – The 26th Tokyo International Film Festival concluded on Friday with the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix top award and $50,000 going to Swedish director Lukas Moodysson’s “We Are the Best!”

The jury for the nine-day festival selected the film, a coming-of-age story based on the childhood of Moodysoson’s wife Coco, from within a field of 15 films at a ceremony at the Roppongi Hills complex in Minato Ward.

Heading the jury was producer Chen Kaige, who said the film excelled in many ways. “For the main prize we were looking for excellence, a film that has energy, charm, and a good portrayal of human relationships,” said Kaige. “We all agreed that this film met all these criteria.”

Iranian director Behnam Behzadi’s “Bending the Rules,” a story of generational struggles in Iran, took the Special Jury Prize and $20,000. “I’d like to share this moment with many people in Iran, and to the artists and people who are not afraid to cross the red line,” said Behzadi.

Claiming Best Actor was China’s Wang Jingchun for “To Live and Die in Ordos,” the story of a non-fiction writer looking into the life of a deceased police chief in Inner Mongolia. “I feel as if I’ve grown wings—wings to shine the world!” Jingchun said after receiving his award.

The Best Actress prize was awarded to the Philippines’ Eugine Domingo for “Barber’s Tales.” Iceland’s Benedikt Erlingsson took the Best Director prize for “Of Horses and Men.”

“Forma,” directed by Ayumi Sakamoto, claimed top prize in the “Japanese Cinema Splash” section (formerly “Japanese Eyes”), which focuses on independent films.

Fest chairman Yasushi Shiina said that the future of TIFF looks very positive between now and 2020, when Tokyo will be hosting the Olympic Games. “I hope to see young talented directors and actors enter the festival, and fly out into the world from Tokyo,” he said.