Japanese movie wins major award at Montreal festival

Kyodo

Director Mitsutoshi Tanaka’s film “Ask This of Rikyu,” about a medieval-era tea master, won this year’s Best Artistic Contribution Award at the Montreal International Film Festival.

“I was really surprised. I believe that the beauty of the story was appreciated by the overseas audience as well,” Tanaka said after Monday’s awards announcement in Montreal.

Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo, the film’s protagonist, said Tuesday: “I was feeling a lot of pressure, playing the role of a great person named Sen no Rikyu who established the roots of the Japanese sense of beauty 400 years ago. I am very glad the aesthetics and culture of Japan were appreciated overseas.”

Noting the very limited spoken scenes in the film, actress Miki Nakatani, who played Rikyu’s wife, said, “I hope that the audiences were able to feel the layers of thoughts in silence.” She made the remark in a statement released after attending the awards ceremony in Canada.

The movie, titled “Rikyu ni Tazuneyo” in Japanese, is based on the novel of the same name by Kenichi Yamamoto. It is scheduled to hit theaters in Japan on Dec. 7.