India’s Alankrita Shrivastava won The Spirit Of Asia Award for her Lipstick Waale Sapne (Lipstick Under My Burkha) at the Tokyo International Film Festival that ended on Thursday evening. A movie tracing the struggles of four women, two Hindus and two Muslims, living in close proximity to one another in Bhopal, proved a hit with many Japanese who evinced a keen interest to watch the work. The catchy title may have done the trick to seduce people towards a film where a tube of lipstick acts as a liberator.
The festival’s most important prizes went to movies from other parts of the world. The top honour, Tokyo Grand Prize, went to a German romantic comedy, The Bloom of Yesterday (directed by Chris Kraus), where two Holocaust researchers, a German guy (whose family had a Nazi past) and a French woman indulge in a battle of wits while falling in love.
The Special Jury Prize went to Amanda Kernell’s Sami Blood from Sweden, a disturbing study of a 14-year-old Sami girl’s racial victimisation. Kernell told the media that Sami people, an ethnic minority living in Sweden and neighbouring countries, had been subject to discrimination -- a kind of cruelty that could be seen even in today’s migrant camps. So the film had a contemporary relevance.
Lene Cecillia Sparrok, who plays the Sami girl, with passionate intensity, was adjudged Best Actress.
The Best Actor prize went to Paolo Ballesteros -- who essays Trisha, a Filipino transgender woman in Die Beautiful who collapses while being crowned a beauty queen.
Die Beautiful, helmed by Jun Robles Lana, also won the Audience Award.
Croatia’s Hana Jusic walked away with the Best Director trophy for her Quit Staring At My Plate -- about a young woman’s quest to find freedom after her father is bed-ridden with a serious illness. And this search takes her towards seedy sex, which ultimately leaves her unhappy.
China’s Mr No Problem by Mei Feng was termed the Best Artistic Contribution. The work, gorgeously shot, talks about corruption in a farm during 1943 - when Japan and China were at war.
Two Japanese titles in competition -- Snow Woman and Japanese Girls Never Die -- walked away empty handed.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran covered the Tokyo International Film Festival.)