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Brazilian drama ‘Nise’ wins Tokyo Fest Grand Prix – Bond is shaken, stirred by fate of migrants

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A model displays a creation by Qonita Gholib during Jakarta Fashion Week 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct 30, 2015. (AP)
A model displays a creation by Qonita Gholib during Jakarta Fashion Week 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct 30, 2015. (AP)

LOS ANGELES, Oct 31, (Agencies): “Nise — The Heart of Madness,” Brazilian director Roberto Berliner’s biopic about a crusading woman doctor in a Rio psychiatric hospital, was awarded the Tokyo Grand Prix on Saturday. Prizes were handed out at the closing ceremony of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival (Oct 22-31) at multiple venues around the Japanese capital.

Berliner said that his heroine, Dr Nise da Silveira, was not well known at the time he made the film and felt “it was my responsibility to show her story to the world.” Gloria Pires received the best actress prize for her performance in the title role.

The film had its international premiere in Tokyo. It first screened at the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival in October.

Taking the special jury prize was director Kheiron’s drama “All Three of Us” about a young anti-government activist in Iran. Best actor honors went to Roland Moller and Louis Hoffman for their turns in the Danish post-WWII drama “Land of Mine.” The award for best artistic contribution was given to Olmo Omerzu’s “Family Film” and the audience award to Edoardo Falcone’s “God Willing.”

Competition jury head Bryan Singer apologized for his hoarse voice, saying that he had strained it “screaming at the other jury members for hours,” but quickly added that they were “brilliant people” who had “come to a mutual commonality” about the winners. “I wish we had more awards to give out,” he said, in praising the 16 competition entries.

In the Japanese cinema splash section for independent Japanese films, the winner was Hiroshi Shoji’s drug pusher drama “Ken and Kazu.”

In the Asian Future section for films by up-and-coming Asian directors, the best Asian future award went to Pimpaka Towira’s woman-on-a-journey drama “The Island Funeral.”

TIFF organizers reported total admissions of 63,700 for the 10-day, 207-film festival, while attendance at the TIFFCOM contents market and allied events was 240,000. Total attendance for the Red Carpet and other TIFF official events was 146,000.

James Bond actor Daniel Craig on Friday urged European governments to “step forward and sort out” the migrant crisis tormenting the continent.

“There is a human tragedy going on. It is up to European governments to step forward and get this sorted,” the British actor told AFP in an interview to promote 007’s latest adventure, “Spectre”.

The movie is already breaking box office records in Britain, but the success has not quelled Craig’s well-publicised doubts over continuing in the role — the 47-year-old admitted he “did not know” how much longer he would keep playing the suave secret agent.

“Spectre” sees Bond flit back and forth across borders in the blink of an eye despite being grounded by British intelligence and having his passport removed.

But in reality entering Britain illegally has become ever more difficult, with thousands of migrants marooned in the French port of Calais resorting to desperate measures to cross the English Channel.

Some have tried to climb onto or underneath high-speed Eurostar trains and two Iranians managed to walk the 31-mile (50-kilometre) length of the tunnel earlier this month before being arrested by British police. At least 15 have died trying to reach England since June.

Craig, who has been an advocate for humanitarian issues, urged governments to act to resolve the crisis.

“Some fictional spy is not going to fix this,” he said. “People are not thinking about James Bond as they struggle with their families across the Mediterranean, it is the furthest thing from their minds.”. Ironically, Craig has also become the face of a drive by tourism chiefs to attract more visitors to Britain.

Coincide

An international billboard campaign proclaiming “Bond is Great Britain” is being rolled out to coincide with the release of the film, the 24th in the spy series that began six years before Craig was even born.

“Spectre” has taken $24.5 million in its first three days in Britain — but it is still unclear whether Craig will reprise the role that he has given a harder, more brutal edge.

Having claimed that he would rather “slash my wrists” that play the brooding MI6 agent again, Craig — who earned a reported $17 million from the last Bond film “Skyfall” — has since tried to row back on his comments to Time Out magazine.

“I don’t know, honestly, that is a straight answer,” he told AFP. “I have spent two years of my life doing this now… That’s enough for the time being.

“I am not in crisis. In fact, I’ve never been happier making these films. The creative process has been better than it has ever been… why would you walk away from that? There is a lot of … in the press about this at the moment, but the simple answer is I don’t know.”

In Spectre, Bond battles the eponymous shadowy criminal network — the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.

Yet 007 also faces unexpectedly stiff resistance from his principal love interest Madeleine Swann, played by French star Lea Seydoux, even if the the actress’ feminist credentials took a knock when she told reporters at the film’s London premiere that “I don’t know if I’m a Bond girl, I’m just a blonde girl.”

The change of tack comes after “Skyfall” — a global box office hit — was pilloried by some critics for its alleged misogyny, with Giles Coren of the London Times newspaper calling it “vile, sexist and sad”.

But Craig — who has appeared in drag to highlight discrimination against women — insisted he had pushed for strong female characters.

“I want characters to go up against him, for Bond to be challenged by them, otherwise it is just dull if he is this alpha male that walks around and dominates every scene.

“If you are going to attract actresses like Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci (who Bond also briefly beds), you have got to offer them something worth doing,” he added.