The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is thrilled to unveil the first exciting highlights from the 35th TIFF, prior to the full lineup press conference on September 21.
The Festival is pleased to announce that renowned theater, opera, and film director Julie Taymor will serve as the President of the International Competition jury at the 35th TIFF. She has gained worldwide recognition through her work, such as the stage musical The Lion King, which has continuously played for 25 years in over 100 cities in 20 countries, and the acclaimed films Titus (1999), Frida (2002), Across the Universe (2007), and The Glorias (2020). Taymor will be the second female head of jury in a row, following Isabelle Huppert last year. The other four jury members will be announced at a later date. They will judge the 15 films selected for the Competition section from all over the world.
Ando Hiroyasu, Chairman of TIFF, expressed his delight that she accepted the invitation:
“Ms. Taymor has directed not only musical theater but also many excellent films. She has a particularly strong connection with Japan, having studied Ningyo Joruri traditional puppet theater here as a student and later applying it to her own works. She is also a big fan of KUROSAWA Akira and is the perfect fit as jury president this year, as we revive the Kurosawa Akira Award.”
Julie Taymor Comment
The arts are the beacon that brings us out of the chaos, leading the way. In a darkened theater the images flickering before us draw us both deeply into and also out of ourselves, our isolated and single selves. Hold onto the film theaters, the palaces that bring us together to cross the boundaries of what we don’t know at all, what we think we know and what we have personally experienced. Become the lives and loves of others and let them inspire and torment you. It is a thrilling honor to come to Japan to preside over the International Competition Jury for the 35th TIFF.
In further exciting news, the Kurosawa Akira Award will return to TIFF this year. Honoring the renowned auteur’s legacy and ongoing influence, the award will be presented to a filmmaker who is making extraordinary contributions to world cinema and is expected to help define the film industry’s future. In the past, acclaimed directors including Steven Spielberg, YAMADA Yoji and Hou Hsiao-Hsien received this award. The nomination committee consists of five members: Yamada Yoji, NAKADAI Tatsuya, HARADA Mieko, KAWAMOTO Saburo and TIFF Programming Director ICHIYAMA Shozo. The recipient will be announced at a later date. In conjunction with the award, TIFF will also screen world classics that Kurosawa Akira loved, such as Fitzcarraldo (1982, Werner Herzog) and The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, Víctor Erice), under the title of ” Kurosawa Akira’s Favorite Films”.
In TIFF’s World Focus section, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan / Taiwan Cultural Center, Tokyo Filmex (Oct. 29 – Nov. 6, tentative) and TIFF will co-host special screenings as part of the Tsai Ming-liang 30th Anniversary Tribute, celebrating the Taiwanese master on the 30th anniversary of his directorial debut with Rebels of the Neon God (1992), which won the Tokyo Bronze Prize in the TIFF Young Cinema Competition. TIFF will screen Rebels of the Neon God, Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003) and several short films that have not yet been shown in Japan; while Tokyo Filmex will screen The Wayward Cloud (2005) and Visage (2009) and more. This will be the first-ever co-organized program between TIFF and Tokyo Filmex.
In this year’s Nippon Cinema Now section, which was newly established last year to screen Japanese films that TIFF deems imperative to introduce to international audiences, in memory of director AOYAMA Shinji, two of his best-known titles, Eureka (2005) and Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani? (2006) will be screened as part of the Director in Focus: Aoyama Shinji (1965-2022) with English subtitles. Aoyama served as a TIFF Competition jury member last year and passed away in March this year.
TIFF and the National Film Archive of Japan (NFAJ) will co-host special screenings as part of Hasegawa Kazuhiko and the Director’s Company. The Directors Company, founded in 1982 by Hasegawa Kazuhiko and other filmmakers, produced unique titles for 11 years. Their notable works will be showcased in 35mm format at the NFAJ theater. TIFF will screen digitally remastered versions of four of the group’s best-known films: Typhoon Club (1985, SOMAI Shinji), Luminous Woman (1987, SOMAI Shinji), Door (1988, TAKAHASHI Banmei) and The Guard from Underground (1992, KUROSAWA Kiyoshi) in the Japanese Classics section at TOHO Cinemas Chanter.
The theme of the Japanese Animation section this year is Creating a World from Scratch. In its Creating Worlds with Animation focus, it will feature three recent Japanese animation works: Drifting Home (ISHIDA Hiroyasu), The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes (TAGUCHI Tomohisa) and Break of Dawn (KUROKAWA Tomoyuki). In the retrospective section called Animation and Tokyo, TIFF will show four films to highlight how the animation has depicted Tokyo.