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The Tokyo International Film Festival opened with a long catwalk

The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) kicked off its first day with a crowd-pleasing Red Carpet Ceremony which saw a plethora of filmmakers, actors and producers parade through the heart of Roppongi Hills. The Red Carpet walk was a healthy 200 meters and fans thronged on both sides as famous Japanese personalities and foreign auteurs made the stroll.
Reporters, photographers and fans alike tried to get a glance or word from the attendees as they walked along Keyakizaka street, which is the main street level entrance to the labyrinth complex of Roppongi Hills. After walking the 200-meter stretch of road the guests turned a corner and crossed the threshold into Roppongi Hills Arena where seated fans awaited their words of greeting. Most participants offered a simple message of welcome and thanks for the warm reception while others were noticeable for their elegant appearance or heartfelt speeches. Beautiful Japanese actress Miho Shiraishi is starring in the film “Berna”, which is part of the Japanese Eyes section of fest, about a woman who loses her sight. Fittingly, she was radiant as she entered the stage with the guide dog from the film, and the canine was adorned with a handsome red ribbon. “ADAN” is a film from the same section and director Sho Igarashi explained that the film’s titled referred to a plant on the southern islands of Japan where his piece is set. Also from the Japanese Eyes section is the film “So Kamoshiranai” and Izumi Yukimura, an elder stateswoman for Japanese actresses, had powerful emotion in her voice when she described how pleased she was to be in a film whose story concentrated on older people.

Probably the funniest and most frank address came from Chilean director Nicola´s Lo´pez whose film “Red Average” is entered in the Competition section. The twenty-two year old phenom explained he was in Tokyo to “win a prize, get drunk, or both!” Also in competition is the Japanese film “WHAT THE SNOW BRINGS” and the actress Kazue Fukiishi was captivating in her beauty. The elegant and fine-boned Fukiishi wore a black top and white dress ensemble which accentuated her lithe, fine lines.

From the Special Screening section of the fest celebrated British stop animation king Nick Park appeared with larger-than-life Wallace and Gromit characters, waving to the crowd and pulling poses from their famous duo. Park offered the mic to both his creations but then commented “neither want to say much….”. The costume detail was actually very good and fans of the series were no doubt thrilled to see the stop animation characters in live action. Also from the Special Screening section was Eri Fukatsu, who is appearing in the film “The Professor and his Beloved Equation”. She looked stunning in a bare-shouldered in a black evening gown.

Finally, the President of the jury and director of the opening film “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles” Zhang Yimou appeared with the film’s star Ken Takakura. There was a palpable burst of emotion in the arena when this beloved Japanese star and highly respected Chinese director entered. Enthusiastic applause followed the pair out of the arena and the crowd also hurried off to watch more film on this opening day of the fest.

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Chatelin Bruno
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