A whiff of the absurd was in the air at the closing ceremony of the 14th Tokyo International Film Festival, held Sunday at Orchard Hall in Shibuya. It wasn't necessarily the presenters' hairdos and breathless patter, nor the new formal dress code imposed on the attending filmmakers. It wasn't even the boxes of Fuji Film digital cameras passed to the winners and then flashed, like a game show, on the big monitors.

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Standing (from left) are jury member Yasuki Hamano, directors Hur Jin-ho and Reza Mir-Karimi, jury chairman Norman Jewison, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, and jury members Daniel Schmid, Joey Wang and Catherine Dussart. Kneeling (from left) are screenwriter Yoshi Yokota and actors Andrew Howard and Artur Gorishiti.

No, it came wafting in right after the announcement of the grand prize. Without warning, the crunching chords of "Wild Thing" burst over the speakers as spotlights crisscrossed the stage. While minds reeled to find a link between the prizewinning "Slogans" -- a film about communist oppression in '70s-era Albania -- and the lyric "You make everything grooovy," a figure appeared. It was prodigal son No. 2, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and the audience tittered as the ballplayer descended the stage's central staircase, looking every bit as clueless as the shell-shocked star of "Slogans."