TOKYO FILMeX Competition films

TOKYO FILMeX 2017Awards

The Jury of the TOKYO FILMeX 2017 competition, consisted of HARA Kazuo (The Chairperson of the Jury: Japan / Film Director), KUNIZANE Mizue (Japan / Producer), Ellen Y.D. KIM (Korea / Festival Programmer, Producer), Milena GREGOR (Germany / Artistic Director of Arsenal) and Clarence TSUI (Hong Kong / Film Critic), awards the following prizes.

TOKYO FILMeX 2017Awards

Grand Prize

“Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts”
Mouly SURYA (Indonesia, France, Malaysia, Thailand / 2017 / 95 min.)

The winning film’s director will receive 750,000 yen.

The heroine fights in the macaroni western music.
Her enemy is men.
The male society.
Now is the time for revenge.
Let us stop behaving like pitiful raped women.
Women themselves need to start creating new images of women.
A tougher, stronger figure, physically and mentally.
The strong message is conveyed through the entertainment style action film.
A vivid and delightful piece of work that has given birth to a fighting heroine.

“The Seen and Unseen”
Kamila ANDINI (Indonesia, Netherlands, Australia, Qatar / 2017 / 86 min.)

The winning film’s director will receive 750,000 yen.

The sister and brother born in this world as twins.
They received birth at the same time
but the brother faces death
the sister lives on.
The twins are forced to seperate.
The outrageousness of life.
Before the final farewell, the sister invites the brother for a dance,
as if to adore life on earth.
Tradition and contemporary
Reality and fantasy
Light and shadow
Day and night
Past memories and the instant present
All mixed together forms the paradise on earth.
A masterpiece that is novel but full of nostalgia.

Audience Award

“Sennan Asbestos Disaster” HARA Kazuo(Japan / 2017 / 215 min.)

Student Jury Prize

“The Night I Swam” Damien MANIVEL, IGARASHI Kohei (Japan, France / 2017 / 79 min.)

Many films try to depict the loneliness and family in a more complicated way, on the other hand, the way of showing the film simple in “The Night I Swam” made it possible to deliver the message directly from only one night kid’s explore.
That style was full of hope and we envied it as same filmmakers.
Takara reminds us of the sense in childhood we should have kept but forgot.
The pure sense make us realise how even 20 years old people like us tried to show ourselves bigger than real with the sense of the shame.
At the same time, a small boy Takara taught us that the feeling was also the proof of growing up.

Student Jury : SHIGAYA Daisuke, FUKUDA Mei, SUZUKI Yuriko

All films in this section will screen with English subtitles.

★ first feature


Kyrgyzstan, France, Germany, Nederland, Japan / 2017 / 89 min. / Director: Aktan ARYM KUBAT

In a village on a beautiful prairie in Kyrgyzstan, a quiet man lives modestly with his wife and son, and is called “centaur” by the other villagers. He also harbors a secret: he steals horses at night and sets them free, out of a belief in an ancient Kyrgyz legend. One day, a powerful figure whose horse is stolen sets a trap to catch the thief... The latest work from one of Kyrgyzstan’s foremost filmmakers, Aktan ARYM KUBAT, gently questions the state of modern society, in which cultural identity is being lost. As with the film he is best known for, “The Light Thief” (2010), the director also plays the lead role. Received its world premiere in the Berlin International Film Festival’s Panorama section, and won the CICAE Art Cinema Award.


The Seen and Unseen

Indonesia, Nederland, Australia, Qatar / 2017 / 86 min. / Director: Kamila ANDINI

10-year-old Tantri is staring death in the face. Her twin brother Tantra has a brain disorder that confines him to a hospital bed, and she knows he will not live much longer. Every night, Tantri’s emotions are set free when Tantra appears before her as his old self, and the siblings dance in the moonlight... This fantastic vision was created by Kamila ANDINI, the daughter of prominent Indonesia filmmaker Garin NUGROHO, and inspired by a Balinese legend. A mythical world where reality and illusions mix is revealed within gorgeous visuals. Its music is supplied by sound designer MORINAGA Yasuhiro, who continues to collaborate with directors from Southeast Asia. Screened in the Toronto International Film Festival’s Platform section.


Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

Indonesia, France, Malaysia, Thailand / 2017 / 95 min. / Director: Mouly SURYA

In a village among the barren hills of Indonesia, recently widowed Marlina is assaulted by bandits, but turns the tables on them, murdering a number of bandits instead. In order to prove she was justified, she decides to go to the police station in a distant town. She meets her pregnant friend, Novi, who intends to see her husband, so together they head on a journey for the town. However, unforeseen circumstances await the two women... Leading Indonesian film director, Garin NUGROHO's original story idea is adapted by up-and-coming director, Mouly SURYA, for her third film. A tale full of surprises unfolding amid the Western reminiscent setting of Sumba Island, it world premiered in the Director's Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival.


Dark is the Night

The Philippines / 2017 / 107 min. / Director: Adolfo ALIX Jr.

The film begins with the shocking scene of an unarmed man being abruptly shot dead by police. Similar to others living in many slum districts, middle-aged housewife, Sarah, is involved in drug dealing. When she withdraws from the drug business in an attempt to start a proper job, her drug addict son goes missing. Together with her husband, Sarah goes in search for her son.... The Philippines has been violently swept up in President DUTERTE's radical war on narcotics which is said to have claimed the lives of several thousand suspected drug dealers who, without trial, have been killed on the streets. Adolfo ALIX Jr.'s latest film straightforwardly protests his country's current situation which has provoked a significant commotion internationally as well. It is a tour de force closely resembling the socially aware films of master filmmaker, Lino BROCKA. It screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.


Missing Johnny ★

Taiwan / 2017 / 105 min. / Director: HUANG Xi

Zi-qi, a young woman who moved to Taipei, is receiving numerous wrong number phone calls for a man named Johnny. She gradually takes an interest in who this Johnny person could be. Zi-qi also has begun to keep a parakeet, but it goes missing. This causes the lives of Zi-qi, her landlord's son, Li, and Yi-feng, the workman under the employ of the landlord, to cross paths. Consequently, Zi-qi's past is slowly revealed... A tapestry of human relationships is depicted against the backdrop of Taiwan's nostalgic residential district which still remain today. This is the directorial debut of HUANG Xi, who served as HOU Hsiao-hsien's assistant. The attractiveness of Rima ZEIDAN, who plays the heroine, is worthy of note. The film was screened at the Taipei Film Festival where it won four awards including Best Screenplay.


Dragonfly Eyes ★

China / 2017 / 82 min. / Director: XU Bing

Qing Ting, a young woman who has been training to become a nun, decides to return to the secular world. She leaves her temple, and finds a job. Meanwhile, Ke Fan, a young man who loves Qing Ting one-sidedly, embarks on a search for her but is unable to pinpoint her whereabouts. Gradually, he becomes convinced that an online chatroom celebrity named Xiao Xiao is actually Qing Ting... The directorial debut of leading Chinese modern artist XU Bing had a rather startling origin: its shots were selected from massive amounts of surveillance camera footage, edited together to form a single narrative. Its editor is Matthieu LACLAU, who also worked on JIA Zhang-ke’s latest production. HANNO Yoshihiro’s electronic music is also superb.


Immortals in the Village

China / 2017 / 109 min. / Director: YU Guangyi

YU Guangyi, who has steadfastly detailed the lifestyles of people residing in Northeastern China’s mountainous regions, directs this documentary following the daily life of shamans in a poor village for over four years. When villagers become ill, shamans beat drums and go into a singing and dancing trance, becoming mouthpieces for spirits who relay ways of treating the people’s ailments. This documentary’s main focus is Xu, who worked as a teacher and factory accountant when he was young, and became a shaman in middle age. The film vividly evokes the mysterious way of life of the nearly 70-year-old Xu, his family, and other shamans. In addition, it is a chronicle of a time when people lived in close contact with the spirit world, as well as a culture that will soon disappear.


The Conformist

China / 2017 / 126 min. / Director: CAI Shang jun

40-year-old Haibo ekes out a meager living by tipping off local police in a town in Northeast China. After unintentionally acquiring a gun, he devises a plan to rob an illegal casino. However, someone else has the same idea and attacks the casino before him, committing murder in the process. Fearing that he will be made a suspect, Haibo flees across the Sino-Russian border to Khabarovsk. He meets a mysterious Chinese woman named Bingbing and becomes romantically involved with her, but this only leads him down an even more treacherous path... A film noir directed by CAI Shangjun (“People Mountain People Sea”) and featuring popular star HUANG Bo in the lead role, for which he was awarded Best Actor at the Shanghai International Film Festival. Its exquisite cinematography is provided by YU Lik-wai, known for his work with JIA Zhang-ke.


The Night I Swam

Japan, France / 2017 / 79 min. / Director: IGARASHI Kohei, Damian MANIVEL

A fishmonger in snowbound Aomori leaves for the local fish market in darkness. The noise he makes awakens his six-year-old son, who tries to go back to sleep, but cannot. He has drawn a picture for his father, so in order to deliver it to him at his store, the boy strays from his usual route to school. So begins his little adventure... Up-and-coming filmmakers Damien MANIVEL and IGARASHI Kohei first met at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2014, where their respective works “A Young Poet” and “Hold Your Breath Like a Lover” were screened. Three years later, “The Night I Swam,” their first co-directed project, was born. Although its story takes place over the course of only one day, it took a whole month and a half to shoot. Received its world premiere in the Venice International Film Festival’s Orizzonti section.