TOKYO FILMeX Competition films

TOKYO FILMeX 2018Awards

TOKYO FILMeX 2018Awards

■Grand Prize

< Ayka >

The jury awards the Grand Prize to director Sergei DVORTSEVOY’s Ayka, the story of a 25-year-old Kyrgyz woman who gives birth to a child but flees the hospital leaving her newborn behind. Trying to pay back a debt, she tries to secure various jobs unsuccessfully. The film perfectly portrays the unrelenting physical struggle of this woman and her will to survive as an immigrant and make something of herself in Moscow. The director, with his background in documentaries, captures the brutal circumstances in a visceral and authentic way. Every scene is filled with tension and heartbreaking to watch.

■Special Jury Prize

< Jinpa >
Pema Tseden

“If I tell you my dream, you might forget it. If I act on my dream, perhaps you will remember it; but if I involve you, it becomes your dream, too.” 
The film starts with this Tibetan proverb inviting us into this pop Western road movie that takes us through Kekexilli with two mysterious men both named Jinpa. One is on the way to kill someone seeking revenge, while the other is searching for redemption for killing a goat accidentally. Visually stunning, the story is told like a mysterious operatic dream, accentuated by O Sole Mio sung in Tibetan.

■Special Mention

< His Lost Name >

The jury would like to award a Special Mention to His Lost Name, directed by HIROSE Nanako. The film is a perfectly written and executed family drama with Yuya Yagira giving a strong performance as a young man trying to figure out what his life should be. This young woman director’s lucid feature debut is a bright light for the future of Japanese cinema.

The Jury of the TOKYO FILMeX 2018 competition, consisted of Wayne WANG (Chairperson, Director, USA), Mouly SURYA (Indonesia, Director) Ed. TSUWAKI (Japan, Illustrator, Art Director), Jean NOH (Korea, Journalist), NISHIZAWA Akihiro (Manager of distribution & theatrical exhibition at Tokyo Theatre)

■Audience Award

< Complicity >

■Student Jury Prize

< Long Day’s Journey into Night >
BI Gan

Man and woman, their love resisted to earth’s rotation.
However, we are uncertain who the man met, or did they really or met.

The film is made of a man’s sewn up rusted memories, and a dream moment.
Every meaning in the film is hidden somewhere, so far ahead.

We were taken to a different world, different space by the alien director.
Maybe we haven’t still returned, the journey has not may ended yet.

This big gamble has shown possibilities of films, and it encouraged us a lot, as same filmmakers.

Student Jury: ISHII Tatsuya, IKEMOTO Minami, KUME Shuto

All films in this section will screen with English subtitles.

# first feature


Turkey / 2018 / 95 min.
Directors: Çağla ZENCIRCI & Guillaume GIOVANETTI

Sibel is a young, mute girl who lives in a village in a mountainous area along the Black Sea. Alienated from village society, Sibel spends each day walking in the forest alone, hunting the wolf that has been menacing the village in an attempt to validate her existence. One day, she encounters an injured young man hiding in a shack. Tending to him, Sibel begins to discover a purpose in life. However, this will cause a considerable problem with her and her family.... Directors Çağla ZENCIRCI and Guillaume GIOVANETTI have made films in various countries. This third feature film was shot in ZENCIRCI's homeland of Turkey. Expressing her feelings through unique whistling sounds, Sibel is portrayed by Damla SÖNMEZ who leaves an indelible impression. Screened at the Locarno Festival.



Russia, Kazakhstan / 2018 / 100 min.
Director: Sergei DVORTSEVOY

25-year-old Kyrgyz woman, Ayka, gives birth to a child in a Moscow hospital, but furtively flees the hospital, leaving her newborn behind. With a large debt, Ayka tries securing various jobs, but since her Russian work permit has already expired, she is unable to obtain respectable work. Before long, Ayka is compelled by debt collectors to promptly repay the debt, so she decides to do something.... The long anticipated new film by Sergey DVORTSEVOY, who won the Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes with his debut film, "Tulpan" (2008), shows the harsh life of a woman through powerful imagery shot with handheld camerawork. Screened at the Cannes Film Festival's Competition Section and garnered actress Samal YESLYAMOVA, who portrays Ayka, the Award for Best Actress.


Manta Ray #

Thailand / 2018 / 105 min.
Director: Phuttiphong AROONPHENG

At a village along the Thailand coast in an area where thousands of Rohingya (Myanmar's Islamic population) refugees have drowned off the nearby sea, a fisherman discovers an unconscious man in the forest. The fisherman brings home the man who cannot speak, and names him Thongchai after a Thai pop star. A sort of friendship is established between the two, but one day the fisherman abruptly disappears. Left alone, Thongchai takes over the fisherman's work and begins living the fisherman's life. Then the fisherman's estranged wife returns home.... The directorial debut by Phuttiphong AROONPHENG, who was the director of cinematography on "Vanishing Point" (2015) which also screened at Tokyo FILMeX. Screened in the Orizzonti Section at the Venice Film Festival where it won the award for Best Film.


A Land Imagined

Singapore / 2018 / 95 min.
Director: YEO Siew Hua

Singaporean detective Lok is put in charge of a case involving the disappearance of Wan, a Chinese migrant worker who worked at a land reclamation construction site. He meets with Wan's friend, a Bangladeshi laborer and visits the internet cafe Wan frequented. Finally, the days leading up to Wan's disappearance are gradually uncovered.... Awarded the Golden Lion at the Locarno Festival, the film is a miraculous marriage of film noir and social realism. The harsh reality for migrant workers at the construction site is superbly contrasted with the dreamy imagery of the internet cafe. Luna KWOK of "Kaili Blues" delivers a good performance of the mysterious heroine for whom Wan has feelings. The cinematography by URATA Hideho, who lectures at Singapore's LaSalle College of the Arts, is splendid.


Cities of Last Things

Taiwan / 2018 / 107 min.
Director: HO Wi Ding

The year is 2056. Zhang is an aging former detective in a near future Taipei who enters a dance hall and beats up the man dancing with his wife. Additionally, he meets his daughter; he encounters a foreign prostitute. Furthermore, Zhang goes to a hospital to enact his vengeance on a certain man.... The film is comprised of three parts. Part 2 portrays Zhang's young adulthood, and part 3 his juvenile years. Zhang's actions seem unbridled, but the circumstances behind them are gradually revealed. The film is outstanding both visually and structurally. Jack KAO, a regular of HOU Hsiao-hsien's films portrays the elderly Zhang. LEE Hong-chi of "Thanatos Drunk" (2015) portrays the young Zhang. Screened at the Toronto International Film Festival's Platform Section and was awarded the prize for Best Film.


A Family Tour

Taiwan, Hong Kong/ 2018 / 107 min.
Director: YING Liang

The protagonist is Yang, a female film director. Due to trouble her film provoked with the authorities, she has left China and resides in Hong Kong with her husband and son whom she brings along to attend a film festival in Taiwan. But the trip serves an additional purpose for Yang. Her mother who lives in China has travelled to Taiwan as a member of a tour group. Yang soon reunites with her mother after many years.... The film is a projection of YING Liang's own circumstances. After filming his previous work "When Night Falls" (2012), he left China and immigrated to Hong Kong where he is currently active. The complications for a filmmaker who was forced into self-exile for the sake of creative freedom will penetrate the viewer's heart. Yang's husband is portrayed by Malaysian musician Pete TEO. Screened at the Locarno Festival.



China / 2018 / 86min.
Director: Pema Tseden

Jinpa's long distance truck is speeding across the vast Tibetan plains when he accidentally runs over a sheep. Shortly thereafter, he picks up a young hitchhiker also named Jinpa. Wearing a dagger on his person, the younger Jinpa talks about the intention of his journey. He is seeking revenge against the man who killed his father. Before long, the truck reaches the village where the young man's enemy lives.... The latest film by prominent Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden mixes reality with illusion as it depicts the encounter of two people with the same name. LU Song-ye continues the magnificent cinematography seen in Pema Tseden's previous film "Tharlo". WONG Kar-wai is the producer. Screened at the Venice Film Festival's Orizzonti Section and was awarded the prize for Best Screenplay.


Long Day's Journey into Night

China / 2018 / 140min.
Director: BI Gan

The highly anticipated new film by BI Gan who streaked on to the scene like a comet with "Kaili Blues" (2015) seeks to further heighten that film's attempt at a cinematic adventure. Luo, returning to his hometown of Kaili in China's Guizhou Province for his father's funeral, walks through the neon painted city. Fragmented memories of his past revive in his mind. He remembers the romance with a former girlfriend, a feud with gangsters, and a friend who died. Not long after, Luo aimlessly enters a cinema screening a 3D film.... A film which could also be called a film noir unfolding in a suburban city of China, what is most noteworthy is the near hour long single 3D take. The cast which includes TANG Wei and Sylvia CHANG is also wonderful. Screened at the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard Section.


An Elephant Sitting Still

China / 2018 / 234 min.
Director: HU Bo

Screened at the Berlin International Film Festival's Forum Section where it won the FIPRESCI Jury Prize, this near 4-hour opus astonished the world with its depiction of the single day in the lives of the four main characters who reside in a provincial town of northern China. Bu is a schoolboy who pushed a classmate down the stairs for ridiculing him. Ling agonizes over her romantic relationship with her married teacher. Cheng is guilt ridden over witnessing a friend's suicide. Finally, Wan is dismayed at his own son. Each burdened by their own problems, the four long to escape somewhere and find something to seek out to in the northern inner Mongolian city of Manzhouli. There, an elephant sits as if oblivious to everything.... After the completion of filming his debut feature-length film, director HU Bo took his own life.


His Lost Name #

Japan / 2018 / 113 min.
Director: HIROSE Nanako

Tetsuro runs a carpentry shop in a rural town. One day he comes to the aid of an unknown young man he discovers unconscious by the riverside and looks after him at home. Calling himself Shinichi, the young man goes on living at Tetsuro's home and is given a job at the carpentry shop. Slowly, Shinichi begins to open himself up to Tetsuro. And Tetsuro also, begins to harbor fatherly feelings for this young man with the same name as his deceased son. Around this time, however, rumors begin to spread about an incident that happened in the town several years ago.... Having worked as a director's assistant to KORE-EDA Hirokazu and NISHIKAWA Miwa, HIROSE Nanako makes her directorial debut from her own original screenplay. Giving a good performance as the complicated Shinichi is YAGIRA Yuya whom KORE-EDA discovered for "Nobody Knows" (2004). Screened in the New Currents Section of the Busan International Film Festival.