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Prizes for Kitano and Asano

The Japanese did very well as this year’s Venice film festival by winning two top prizes. Kitano won the best directing award for ZATOICHI, and Tadanobu Asano, who co-stars in the same film, won a best acting award for his role in the Thai film LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE. I’m glad for both of them as it helps put Japanese filmmakers in the world spotlight. With Hayao Miyazaki winning awards at the Berlin film festival (best film) and the Oscars (best animated film) for his SPIRITED AWAY, and now these two awards, it’s been a really good year for Japanese cinema on the international stage. In general, when it comes to Asian cinema, I think most people think of Chinese and HK films, forgetting that Japan, as well as Korea, have been putting out some very good movies in the past few years. Let’s hope this new trend continues.