Berlinale 2012 finished yesterday and the Italian film Cesare Must Die walked away with the Golden Bear award (Best Motion Picture). The list of films walking away with silver bear awards (given to individual achievements in Directing, Acting and Short Film) saw an eclectic mix of films from stretching from Northern Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa. What happened to Japanese films in and out of competition?
Atsushi Wada earned a Silver Bear award for the Best Short Film (Jury Prize) with “The Great Rabbit” anime short (seven minutes). It is described as “a magical animation that is also a profound conundrum.”
In another part of the festival programme, more specifically the Generation 14plus which is aimed at children fourteen and above) Isamu Hirabayashi’s “663114” anime short received a Special Mention honour from the Youth Jury. His film uses a cicada to explore parallels between Hiroshima’s atomic bombing and the recent disaster at Fukushima while asking questions about the future of the planet.
The Children’ jury gave a special mention to the Just Pretended to Hear, which came second in the Generation section. It is directed by Kaori Imaizumi and stars Hana Nonaka as a young girl named Sachi whose mother has died. Her only relief is in a friend and the belief in an afterlife that allows her mother to stay by her side. This film was actually directed by a nurse on maternity leave which is pretty inspiring – maybe I should pick up a camera and do my short film based on Silent Hill…
I’m actually delighted that Rent-a-Neko, a film that seemed to be too fluffy for a major weight film festival, garnered great praise. I can see this being picked up be a western distributor.
In my preview I missed out Nuclear Nation by Funahashi Atsushi, Friends After 3.11 directed by Shunji Iwai and No Man’s Land directed by Toshi Fujiwara. I had a sneaking suspicion that I was missing something and there you go… I also ignored two short-films which was rather silly because Japanese film-makers regularly win awards in this field.
It’s a mistake I’ll avoid next year.
Anyway, congratulations to all of the winners. Next up is the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival.