The 68th annual Cannes Film Festival wrapped up this week, with Japanese cinema receiving ample representation. Festival favorite Hirokazu Koreeda was up again for the Palme d’Or with his latest feature, Our Little Sister, based on the manga Umimachi Diary.
Naomi Kawase, who has taken several prizes from the French Riviera home to Kyoto in the past, offered her latest work Sweet Red Bean Paste, which was chosen to open the Un Certain Regard section of innovative films. The section also includes Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Journey to the Shore, his first in the fest after getting his start in horror flicks.
Gus Van Sant’s Japan-set drama The Sea of Trees was also in the competition. Matthew McConaughey plays an American scientist who travels to Japan’s infamous “suicide forest,” but changes his mind when he meets a fellow troubled soul played by Ken Watanabe. McConaughey attended the festival with Naomi Watts (pictured), who plays his wife in flashbacks; but things didn’t go as planned.
The notoriously fickle Cannes audiences panned the film, leading McConaughey to say “people have as much right to boo the film as to give it an ovation.”
Sweet Red Bean Paste opens May 30. Our Little Sister opens June 13. Journey to the Shore is due out October 1.