Tokyo International Film Festival: Curtain Falls on 2021 Event

TOKYO – The final curtain came down at the 34th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toho Cinemas Hibiya Screen 12 on Nov. 8, ten days after it kicked off its second “pandemic edition,” with “Dear Evan Hansen” being its closing film.

Acclaimed French actress and festival jury president Isabelle Huppert along with other jurors presented the awards to the competition winners.

Isabelle Huppert

The Tokyo Grand Prix/The Governor of Tokyo Award was given to “Vera Dreams of the Sea” directed by Kaltrina Krasniqi.

Arber Mehmeti (center), Charge d’Affaires ad interim, Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in Tokyo, receives the Tokyo Grand Prix/The Governor of Tokyo Award. Tsutomu Ushioda (right), Vice Governor of Tokyo, presents the award on behalf of Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko.

Other highlights of this year’s event include the indoor red carpet ceremony where Japan-based filmmakers and stars appeared on a grand carpeted staircase at the Tokyo International Forum. Huppert and industry stalwarts from Europe and Asia joined them.

34th TIFF Festival Ambassador Ai Hashimoto

A compendium of familiar theme songs from some of the world’s beloved films was performed by the Women Orchestra Japan at the opening ceremony.

A letter from award-winning actor and director Clint Eastwood whose latest film “Cry Macho” served as the opening film of the festival, appeared onscreen.

A letter from Clint Eastwood

This year, TIFF screened 126 films physically, including four titles from the Philippines: Brillante Mendoza’s “Payback (Resbak)” starring Vince Rillon, Nash Aguas and Jay Manalo; Mikhail Red’s “Arisaka” starring Maja Salvador and Mon Confiado, which both competed in the Main Competition section of the prestigious A-list festival; “Gensan Punch”, another Mendoza film, in the Gala Selection section (formerly the Special Screening section); and “The Brokers” directed by TIFF second timer Daniel Palacio, in the Asian Future section.

Japanese actor Shogen (center), actresses Minami Kaho (2nd from left), Kisanuki Maya (2nd from right), former boxer Tsuchiyama Naozumi (right) and producer Yamashita Takahiro (left) attend a Q&A following the Japan premiere of Brillante Mendoza’s ‘Gensan Punch’ at Yurakucho Yomiuri Hall on Nov. 5.

For the second time, TIFF was held under strict safety measures amid the pandemic. Due to international travel restrictions, only a few filmmakers and stars from overseas were able to attend the prestigious A-list festival. - Florenda Corpuz

(Photos by Din Eugenio)