Japanese cinema triumphed at the Asian Film Awards last night, with three Japanese dramas -Tokyo Sonata, Still WalkingandDepartures- clinching four of the top prizes.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata walked off with best film and best screenwriter; Hirokazu Kore-eda took the best director prize for Still Walking, and Motoki Masahiro scooped best actor for Oscar-winner Departures.
Best actress went to China’s Zhou Xun for Cao Baoping’s The Equation Of Love And Death, while best newcomer went to Chinese actor Yu Shaoqun who plays the young Mei Lanfang in Chen Kaige’s biopic Forever Enthralled.
Koran’s Jung Woo-sung picked up best suppporting actor for Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, The Bad, The Weird - which was the favourite going into the awards with eight nominations. Filipina actress Gina Pareno took best supporting actress for her role in Brillante Mendoza’s Service.
Best DoP went to Jola Dylewska for Tulpan; Hong Kong’s Daniel Lee took best production designer for Three Kingdoms: Resurrection Of The Dragon, and best editor went to Kim Sun-min for Korean thriller The Chaser. Craig Hayes took best visual effects for John Woo’s Red Cliff.
Japan also scored in the technical categories with Joe Hisaishi taking best composer for his work on Hiyao Miyazaki’s hit animation Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea.
All three of the other Japanese winners at the AFAs have already won a slew of prizes over the past year - Tokyo Sonata started its awards haul by winning the jury prize in Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year; Still Walking has won awards at San Sebastian and Mar del Plata, while Departures was the surprise winner of best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards this year.
Hong Kong actress Michelle Yeoh headed the 13-person jury for this year’s AFAs, which also included festival programmers Noah Cowan (Toronto), Christian Jeune (Cannes), Christophe Terhechte (Berlin) and Jacob Wong (Hong Kong).