THE 28th Tokyo International Film Festival handed out its awards last night, and Brazillian biopic Nise — The Heart of Madness made a splash.
Taking home the coveted Grand Prix as well as the Best Actress award, the film tells the story of a woman working in a psychological ward who sought out alternatives to violent electroshock therapy for those with serious mental conditions. In her crusade for more humane treatment for her patients, she starts a revolution through “paints, dogs and love”.
Directed by documentary filmmaker Roberto Berliner, Nise stars Gloria Pires, one of Brazil’s leading actresses. It focuses on the real story of female psychiatrist Nise da Silveira, and is Berliner’s second feature film.
The film in particular resonated with jury head Bryan Singer, who recalled his own experience as a bus driver for mentally-disabled children during his college days. However, reaching a consensus for each category wasn’t an easy, unanimous decision for the jury.
At the press conference after awards were presented, Singer apologised for his hoarse voice which he claimed came from the intense deliberation process.
“The conflict I had with [jury member] Tran Anh Hung, for example, was with Cold of Kalandar,” he stated.
“As an American, it was too slow. I wanted to be entertained like with works such as God Willing. But I remembered the challenges of filmmaking, and filming in the mountain side, I understood why Tran was so passionate about it. As a director, the achievement was truly superior and I felt good about the award.”
Southeast Asia obtained one award in the Asian Future section, with Best Asian Future Film going to Pimpaka Towira‘s The Island Funeral. Despite a stronger presence this year, Japanese cinema did not win any awards outside the Japanese Cinema Splash category.
Of note, Kheiron‘s All Three of Us — which we raved about while at the festival — scored the Special Jury Prize.
Tokyo Grand Prix: Nise – The Heart of Madness, directed by Robert Berliner)
Special Jury Prize: All Three of Us, directed by Kheiron
Best Director: Mustafa Kara for Cold of Kalandar
Best Actress: Gloria Pires for Nise – The Heart of Madness
Best Actor: Roland Møller & Louis Hoffman for Land of Mine
Award for Best Artistic Contribution: Family Film, directed by Olmo Omerzu
WOWOW Viewer’s Choice Award: Cold of Kalandar, directed by Mustafa Kara
Audience Award: God Willing, directed by Edoardo Falcone
Best Asian Future Film Award: The Island Funeral, directed by Pimpaka Towira
The Spirit of Asia Award by the Japan Foundation Asia Center: Degena Yun for A Simple Goodbye
Japanese Cinema Splash
Best Picture Award: Ken and Kazu, directed by Hiroshi Shoji
Kirin Kiki, Akihiro Hino, Suzu Hirose, Mamoru Hosoda and Lily Franky each took home the ARIGATO Award for their contribution to Japanese cinema.
The 28th Tokyo International Film Festival took place in Roppongi Hills from 22 – 31 October this year.