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Takano Tofu” claimed double honors on the closing night of the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy. It won the Golden Mulberry audience award and the MyMovies Purple Mulberry award.

Directed by Mihara Mitsuhiro, “Takano Tofu” is a melodrama about an elderly tofu-making craftsman, who is stuck in his ways but is also experimental and who is kindly, but whose stubbornness brings suffering on those around him. Udine’s Japan selector, Mark Schilling compared the work to that of master director Ozu Yasujiro.

The prizes were handed out in the early hours of Friday after a marathon day of celebratory activity that started with Chinese director Zhang Yimou on hand for a screening of his “Raise the Red Lantern,” continued with a generous-spirited masterclass and in the evening continued with the handover of Zhang’s lifetime achievement award. Two more films – Zhang’s “To Live” and the premiere of Herman Yau’s pacy crime actioner “Customs Frontline” – before a breezy festival awards session that began after 1am.

The jury-determined prizes for best screenplay and best first-time feature director were both decided by unanimous decisions. They both went to Korean works, to “Citizen of a Kind” by Park Young-ju and to Kim Tae-yang for “Mimang” respectively.

Earlier in the week, the festival’s industry section Focus Asia gave its TAICCA/Focus Asia Co-Production Award, worth €10,000 in cash, to the Japanese project “Polaris” The project is a portrait of the bar Polaris, that lights up in Tokyo’s night, drawing in “women” of diverse backgrounds whose lives intertwine like constellations, only to part at down. The project is headed by Yamanaka Yoko who later this month premieres her second film, “Desert of Namibia,” at Cannes in the Director’s Fortnight section.

Far East Film Festival (Udine) Awards

Audience Awards

1) “Takano Tofu” MIHARA Mitsuhiro (Japan) Score of 4.51
2) “Confetti” Dir. FUJITA Naoya (Japan) score of 4.41 First-time director.
3) Time Still Turns the Page. Dir. Nick CHEUNG (HK) score of 4.40

Other Awards

MyMovies Purple Mulberry
“Takano Tofu” Dir. Mihara Mitsuhiro (Japan)

Mulberry Award for best screenplay
“Citizen of a Kind” Dir. Park Young-ju (Korea)

White Mulberry Award for best first-time director
“Mimang” Dir. Kim Tae-yang (Korea)

Black Dragon Audience Award
“Bushido” Dir. Shiraishi Kazuya (Japan).

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