Experienced film, theater and opera director Julie Taymor has been named to chair the competition jury at next month’s Tokyo International Film Festival.
Taymor (“The Lion King”) will lead a small group that will select the winners from the 15 league titles to be rolled out in Tokyo between October 24 and November 2, 2022. The other four members of the jury will be announced later.
Taymor is the second woman to lead the jury in as many years and will succeed Isabelle Huppert in 2021. In 2020 there was no competition due to COVID. And in 2019, the jury was led by the Chinese Zhang Ziyi.
The Kurosawa Akira Award needs to be revived after being interrupted by the pandemic as well. The award is presented to a filmmaker who “makes extraordinary contributions to world cinema and is expected to help shape the future of the film industry.” Past recipients have included Steven Spielberg, Yamada Yoji and Hou Hsiao-Hsien.
The recipient will be announced later. In conjunction with the award, TIFF will also feature world classics that Kurosawa Akira loved, including Fitzcarraldo (1982, Werner Herzog) and The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, Víctor Erice), under the title “Kurosawa Akira’s Favorite Films.”
“Madam. Taymor has directed not only musical theater but also many excellent films. She has a particularly strong connection with Japan, as she studied traditional puppet theater here by Ningyo Joruri as a student and later applied it to her own work. She is also a big fan of Kurosawa Akira and is a perfect fit as jury chairman this year as we are reviving the Kurosawa Akira Award,” said Ando Hiroyasu, festival chairman.
“The arts are the beacon that takes us out of the chaos and shows us the way. In a darkened theater, the images that flicker before us draw us both deeply in and out of ourselves, our isolated and only selves. Hold on to the movie theaters, the palaces that bring us together to cross the boundaries of what we don’t know at all, what we think we know and what we have personally experienced. Become the lives and loves of others and let them inspire and torment you,” Taymor said in a prepared statement.
The full festival lineup will be announced on September 21.