Stars walk green carpet at Tokyo film festival

Kyodo News

The 21st Tokyo International Film Festival opened Saturday with Prime Minister Taro Aso among the 300 or so guests who walked the “green carpet” ahead of the opening ceremony in Roppongi Hills.

Takeshi Kaneshiro, who divides his time between Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japanese films, and Hong Kong’s Tony Leung joined the gala of actors, directors and other luminaries involved in some of the 315 films from around the world that will be shown during the nine-day event.

At the ceremony, Aso joked that he appears to be known more in Japan as a manga (comic) geek than prime minister, while noting the similarities between comic books and films which move people in various ways.

According to organizers, the green carpet, made from recycled plastic bottles, was chosen to replace the traditional red carpet to exemplify the theme of this year’s festival: “Ecology — Preservation of Earth’s Environment.”

Kicking off the screenings Saturday evening was “Red Cliff,” a Chinese epic directed by John Woo, the director of “Mission: Impossible 2,” and starring Leung and Kaneshiro. The film is among 19 works reserved for special screenings at the festival.

A total of 15 films — selected from 690 films from 72 countries and territories — have been entered in the main competition section for the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix and other awards. The results will be announced Oct. 26.