Change was afoot at the 34th edition of Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF). After years of rattling around in the increasingly depressing Roppongi Hills complex, the event moved to the Ginza-Hibiya district, where attendees could pop off for a stroll around the grounds of the Imperial Palace between screenings.

This year marked the debut of newly appointed programming director Shozo Ichiyama, co-founder of the more auteur-focused Tokyo Filmex festival. Though he lacks the charisma of his predecessor, Yoshi Yatabe, Ichiyama is an astute curator. His competition selections weren’t always great, but they were certainly never dull.

Earlier this year, the festival signed a gender parity pledge, which aims for greater equality and transparency in the way films are selected. As if to herald the dawn of a new era, the competition jury was headed by one of the grandes dames of arthouse cinema, Isabelle Huppert. Granted, only four of the 15 movies in contention were directed or co-directed by women, but there was a noticeable emphasis on female perspectives.