Tokyo 1999 and Beyond

  • Hai Leong Toh


VIGOROUS JAPAN: TOKYO 1999 AND BEYOND This year, several new films by young and energetic Japanese directors stood out at the Tokyo Festival (30 October - 7 November 1999), an 11-day event attended by almost 120,000 festival-goers. In his opening address (graced by Luc Besson's Joan of Arc) the Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara told the audience that "for the past few years, Japanese cinema has lost its vitality, but I hope this situation will be reversed from this film festival." Ishihara caused a stir when he veered from his prepared speech to suggest a change of festival location from outside the "hectic and crowded" Shibuya commercial district "to somewhere nicer, where there is more greenery and better facilities available." True enough but the reality is that most major film festivals, whether in Hong Kong, Pusan, Singapore, New York, or elsewhere, are held in large urban centres with the necessary...