TOKYO FILMeX Competition films

TOKYO FILMeX 2015Awards

The Jury of the TOKYO FILMeX 2015 competition, consisted of LEE Yong-kwan (The Chairperson of the Jury: Korea / Festival Director), Sylvia CHANG (Taiwan / Actress, Film Director, Producer), SHIOTA Akihiko (Japan / Film Director), SAITO Atsuko (Japan / Film Critic and Film Subtitle Translator) and Gregory GAJOS (France / Director of program & acquisition of Ad Vitam, distribution company), awards the following prizes.


Grand Prize

“Tharlo” Pema Tseden (China / 2015 / 123 min.)

The winning film’s director will receive 700,000 yen.
A simple concept that a man seeks an identification card loses track of himself, is beautifully made into a cinema.


Special Jury Prize

“Behemoth”  ZHAO Liang (China / 2015 / 91 min.)

The winning film’s director will receive 300,000 yen.
The modern civilization and devastating human and nature are visualized in critical and poetic ways.


Special Mention

“Dark in the White Light”  Vimukthi JAYASUNDARA (Sri Lanka / 2015 / 82 min.)

 Director OKUDA Yosuke   The Dork, the Girl and the Douchebag (Japan / 2015 / 141 min.)


Audience Award

“Dearest”   Peter CHAN (China, Hong Kong / 2014 / 130min.)


Student Jury Prize

“Tharlo”   Pema Tseden (China / 2015 / 123 min.)

A love song strips itself of that which binds it, and transforms into the atonal growl of punk rock.
Tharlo. He does not have the means to harm another person, nor even to protect himself. He smiles at the people he meets, and occasionally forgets his own name. There are moments when he reacts just as a small child would, and is utterly defenseless. A barber shop, a karaoke parlor. When he ventures into town, as if someone is leading him by the hand, his lovable defenseless is exposed. As he experiences things he has never experienced before, the words of Mao Zedong are repeated over and over. Those words seem to take on his own warmth.
Is nature truly the place that where he belongs?
Ultimately, amid a green landscape, Tharlo turns his back on us, and is no longer the man we once knew.
We see that he has gained, or perhaps lost, something overwhelming.

Student Jury :


Talents Tokyo Award 2015

“A Love to Boluomi”   LAU Kek Huat (Malaysia / Taiwan)

The winning project’s participant will receive 300,000 yen.

The Jury decided to give the Talents Tokyo Award 2015 for further script development.
We chose “A Love to Boluomi“ from LAU Ket Huat from Malaysia for his bold clarity of vision and unflinching commitment to the material, based on real life events. The filmmaker clearly earned the trust of their subjects and we are sure that he will manage to do a film with filmic and emotional resonance.

Talents Tokyo 2015 Main Experts :
PARK Kiyong (Dorector), Stephan HOLL (Producer), Emillie GEORGES (World Sales), Christine TROSTRAUM (Programme Manager of Berlinale Talents)


All films in this section will screen with English subtitles.
★ first feature
☆ alumni of Talents Tokyo


Kazakhstan / 2015 / 78 min.
Director: Zhanna ISSABAYEVA
Rayan is a 14-year-old boy who lost his beloved mother in an accident when he was 5. He lives alone along the shore of the Aral Sea. One day at a hospital, Rayan is told he has a serious illness and unless he receives surgery he will only have a few months to live. He does not have the money needed for the surgery and knows his chances for free medical treatment through the government is also very slim. In despair, Rayan decides to exact revenge on those he bears a grudge. His first target is the policeman who killed his mother, but evaded punishment…. Zhanna ISSABAYEVA’s sixth film, “BOPEM”, questions the meaning of revenge in its shocking story while the landscape of the Aral Sea, in danger of vanishing through many years of environmental devastation, will leave a strong impression.

Dark in the White Light

Sri Lanka / 2015 / 82 min.
Directors: Vimukthi JAYASUNDARA
The newest film by Vimukthi JAYASUNDARA, whose “Between Two Worlds” (09) was screened at Tokyo FILMeX, “Dark in the White Light” is an enigmatic film interweaving multiple unconnected stories. A young, Buddhist monk attempting to seek spiritual truth; a student aspiring to be a doctor to help people who does something extreme; a man who deals in the organ trade on the streets of Colombo; and a middle-aged surgeon whose routine is to treat people by day and sexually assault women at night; the specific connection of these stories is difficult to ascertain and is left to the audience to interpret. One thing that can be said, though, is it may be a reflection of JAYASUNDARA’s inquiry into life and death within modern society.

The Black Hen ★

Nepal[, France, Germany / 2015 / 91 min.
Director: Min Bahadur Bham
2001. A small village in northern Nepal experiences a brief ceasefire from the civil war caused by Maoist Communists that has divided the village. Prakash and Kiran, two boys who have nurtured a friendship despite being of different castes, raise a black hen in order to make a living off selling its eggs. One day they leave on a journey to find the hen when it goes missing. What they witness, however, is a harsh reality they had not noticed…. The feature length debut by Min Bahadur BHAM, “The Black Hen” is a tour de force depicting the state of Nepal in the midst of civil war through the eyes of two young boys. The expanding violence amid exquisite scenery brings to mind the unrest occurring in different places throughout the world. Winner of the best film award at the Venice International Film Critics Week.

Vanishing Point ★

Thai / 2015 / 100 min.
Director: Jakrawal NILTHAMRONG
Jakrawal NILTHAMRONG's feature directorial debut “Vanishing Point” begins with a collage of newspaper articles about a car accident in which his parents were seriously injured. Before long, the film goes on to depict the respective lives of two characters, and the ill feelings they carry with them. One is a young journalist investigating a murder in a forest. The other is a middle-aged motel owner in a relationship with a young woman, despite having a family of his own. Their stories intersect exquisitely, working in various subject matter such as religion and folklore, and culminating in unexpected developments. Its unique storytelling style, in which several parallel narratives proceed together, and its astounding cinematographic technique, which is most conspicuous in its forest scenes, are just two of the aspects that mark NILTHAMRONG as a formidable talent.


The Philippines / 2015 / 97min.
Director: Remton Siega ZUASOLA
1985, the year before President Marcos was deposed in the EDSA revolution. Amid the unstable social climate, a child is kidnapped. The terms for the release of the child is the snatching of another child as a hostage exchange. A young father agonizes over whether he should commit a crime in order to save the life of his only son…. “SWAP”, the third film by director Remton Siega ZUASOLA, is based on his own experience of being abducted and safely released when he was a child though he has no recollection of it. The film is shot in one, long take from beginning to end. Moreover, it manages the superb feat of moving freely in time and space during that duration. The various aspects encompassing the tumultuous state of the Philippines at the time is quite interesting, even more than the circumstances of the kidnapping itself.

Thanatos, Drunk / 酔, 生夢死

Taiwan / 2015 / 107 min.
Director: CHANG Tso-Chi
CHANG Tso-chi's “Thanatos, Drunk,” which won six awards including the Grand Prize in the Taipei Film Festival's competition for Taiwanese films, is an ensemble drama set mainly in the Taipei underworld, which is CHANG's specialty. Its story focuses on two brothers, Rat and Shanghe. Rat, the youngest, makes a living by selling vegetables at a market, and falls in love with a deaf-mute prostitute. Meanwhile, Shanghe returns from the U.S. after breaking up with his boyfriend and finds a job at a nightclub, where he seduces gigolo Shuo, who is also Rat's roommate. The film moves freely through time, presenting a violent and sometimes lyrical depiction of youth struggling on the fringe of society. LU Hsueh-Feng, who plays the brother's alcoholic mother, makes an indelible impression with her inimitable presence.

Tharlo / 塔洛

China / 2015 / 123 min.
Director: Pema Tseden
Tharlo is a shepherd with an extraordinary memory. He is told by police to apply for an ID card, so he goes to a photo studio in town. He is told by a photographer that his hair is too messy for an ID photo, so he goes to a barbershop, where he meets an attractive hairdresser. This encounter turns Tarlo's life on its head. He tries karaoke for the first time, and is offered a kind of tobacco that he has never smoked before. Eventually, Tarlo sells his sole possessions – his sheep – and makes up his mind to move to the city with the hairdresser... The latest from Pema Tseden is a humorous and bittersweet tale of a nomad torn between modern civilization and traditional culture. Its long takes and bold structure generate a powerful impact.

Behemoth / 悲兮魔獣

China / 2015 / 91 min.
Director: ZHAO Liang
The newest film by ZHAO Liang, whose “Petition” (09) was screened at Tokyo FILMeX, depicts laborers working in the coal mines and steel mills of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Migrant workers from all parts of China come and gather to work in this resource abundant region, but at the same time induce the serious problem of environmental destruction occurring in tandem with industrialization. The movie hurls various issues at the viewer through overwhelming imagery capturing laborers and their surrounding environment presented straightforwardly without relying on narration or subtitles. It can be said the close-ups of the laborers’ faces alone speak volumes. The titular “behemoth” is the name of an enormous, land dwelling monster which appears in the Old Testament.

Coin Locker Girl ★

Korea / 2015 / 111 min.
Director: HAN Jun-hee
Il-young was abandoned in a coin-locker immediately after birth. She has been raised by “Mom” who runs a money lending syndicate in Chinatown and now works as “Mom’s” accomplished right hand. Her everyday life of coldheartedly collecting debts changes significantly thanks to Suk-hyun, a simple, young man she meets. Noticing this change, “Mom” tasks Il-young with killing Suk-hyun as compensation for the enormous debt held by Suk-hyun’s father…. The debut film by HAN Jun-hee, “Coin Locker Girl” is a powerful portrayal of the love-hate relationship of two women set in Incheon’s underworld. The dignity in superstar actress KIM Hye-soo’s performance goes without saying and not to be outdone, KIM Ko-eun exhibits a presence in her acting that is magnificent.


Japan / 2015 / 141 min.
Director: OKUDA Yosuke
A man with a wife and child attempts to run off with a hostess, but he doesn’t show up at the place they agreed to meet. The hostess continues to wait fully aware he won’t come. Then a man calls out to her…. “The Dork, The Girl, and The Douchebag,” the latest film in three years by OKUDA Yosuke who made his commercial film debut with “Tokyo Playboy Club” (11), is a powerful ensemble drama intertwining a drug dealer, a yakuza, an ex-convict youth, and others. It can be said the film inherits the setting of his previous work, but the intense realism exhibited in the raw chaos far exceeds the previous film and amply points to OKUDA’s future potential. Portraying the complex male character who only lives for violence, OKUDA’s talents as an actor should also not be overlooked.