Tokyo Film Festival: Julie Taymor becomes jury chair

Veteran film, theater and opera director Julie Taymor has been named president of the competition jury at next month’s Tokyo International Film Festival.

Taymor (“The Lion King”) will lead a small group that will select the winners from the 15 competitive titles rolling out in Tokyo between October 24 and November 2, 2022. The other four members of the jury will be announced later.

Taymor is the second woman to head the jury for as many years, succeeding Isabelle Huppert in 2021. There was no competition in 2020 due to COVID. And in 2019 the jury was headed by the Chinese Zhang Ziyi.

The Kurosawa Akira Award is set to be revived after also being suspended since 2008. The award is given to a filmmaker who “makes exceptional contributions to world cinema and is expected to help define the future of the film industry”. Previous winners have included Steven Spielberg, Yamada Yoji and Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

The recipient will be announced at a later date. In conjunction with the award, TIFF is also showing world classics that Kurosawa Akira loved, including Fitzcarraldo (1982, Werner Herzog) and The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, Víctor Erice), under the title Kurosawa Akira’s Favorite Movies.

“MS. Taymor has directed not only musical theater but also many excellent films. She has a particularly strong connection to Japan, having studied the traditional puppet theater Ningyo Joruri here as a student and later applying it to her own works. She is also a great one Kurosawa Akira fan and fits perfectly as Jury President this year as we revive the Kurosawa Akira Award,” said Ando Hiroyasu, President of the Festival.

“The arts are the beacon that pulls us out of chaos and shows the way. In a darkened theater, the images flickering before us draw us deep within and also out of ourselves, our isolated and single selves. Hold on to the movie theaters, the palaces that bring us together to push the boundaries of what we don’t know, what we think we know, and what we’ve personally experienced. Become the life and love of others, and be inspired and tormented by them,” Taymor said in a prepared statement.

The full program of the festival will be announced on September 21st. Tokyo Film Festival: Julie Taymor becomes jury chair

Charles Jones

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