Miike wins Maverick Director Award at Rome Film Festival

JIJI, AFP-JIJI

The organizers of the coming ninth Rome Film Festival said Saturday that they will give the Maverick Director Award, a special prize, to Japanese director Takashi Miike.

He is the first Japanese to be presented with the award, which is dedicated to filmmakers who have contributed to the invention of a new, original and unconventional cinema.

He is considered to be “one of the most original and prolific auteurs in contemporary cinema” and is “adored by millions of fans around the world for the innovative, edgy, extreme and ironic style of his films and for his extraordinary ability to cross-fertilize and experiment with all types of genres and styles,” the organizers said.

“Miike has left his mark on the history of genre cinema with his unmistakably brutal, always visually brilliant, cultured and above all, uncensored approach, devoid of all moralism,” they said.

Marco Muller, artistic director for the film festival, said Miike is “absolutely beyond compare” and “arguably the least compliant of all the contemporary maverick directors.”

Miike’s latest work, “Kamisama no Iu Toori” (“As the Gods Will”), starring actor Sota Fukushi, will be presented for competition in the Gala section for major “popular but original” films at the festival, which will be held from Oct. 16 to 25.

Starting this year, the festival’s top prizes will be decided by audience vote. The People’s Choice Award, the best award, for each section will be decided on the final day of the festival.

Miike’s nearly 100 films include “Ichimei” (“Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai”), which premiered in competition at Cannes in 2011, and “Wara no Tate” (“Straw Shield”), which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the French film festival in 2013.

The Rome Film Festival said Miike had “reconsidered the boundaries that divide ‘populist’ practices, genre and auteur visions in some of the most beloved and controversial films in recent years,” adding that he is “considered by Quentin Tarantino to be ‘one of the greatest living directors.’ “