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Almost every year at the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) at least one film by a new Japanese director gets talked up by visiting programmers, journalists and critics as a find.

Last year one such buzz film was Seiji Tanaka’s debut feature, “Melancholic.” I was among its fans, telling all and sundry that it was the most original film I had seen at the festival. The jury of the Japanese Cinema Splash section, where the film had its world premiere, validated this assessment by awarding Tanaka its best director prize.

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