September 24, 2023



“2023 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Spotlights Koji Yakusho as the Celebrated Filmmaker in Focus”

“2023 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Spotlights Koji Yakusho as the Celebrated Filmmaker in Focus”

Renowned Japanese actor Koji Yakusho, who earned the prestigious Best Actor award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for his exceptional performance in Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days,” has been named the featured filmmaker for the 2023 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.

Yakusho is set to make a personal appearance at the festival in Taiwan, where he will curate a selection of seven of his remarkable films over the course of the 17-day event. Among the featured titles are the critically acclaimed “Perfect Days” and the iconic erotic classic “Lost Paradise” (1997). Additionally, five other films handpicked by Yakusho himself will be showcased, including “Kamikaze Taxi” (1995), “Shall We Dance” (1996), “Cure” (1997), “Eureka” (2000), and “The Woodsman and the Rain” (2011).

“In a statement, the organizers of Taipei’s festival expressed their excitement about the opportunity for cinephiles to experience the captivating and multifaceted performances of the legendary actor through these seven carefully selected films.

Throughout his illustrious four-decade career, Koji Yakusho has earned a remarkable 23 nominations for the Japan Academy of Film Prize, including seven consecutive nods in the Best Leading Actor category, of which he has claimed victory three times. He has also secured one Best Supporting Actor award.

Yakusho initially rose to prominence in Japan through his compelling portrayals in taiga dramas, a genre focused on Japanese historical dramas set during the samurai era. He further solidified his reputation with a breakout role in Juzo Itami’s beloved comedy, “Tampopo.” His international acclaim began to grow after his outstanding performance as a taxi driver caught in the crossfire between politicians and mafia gangs in Masato Harda’s “Kamikaze Taxi,” which earned him the Best Actor award at Japan’s Mainichi Film Awards.

His introduction to global audiences occurred in 1996 with “Shall We Dance?”—a film that saw Richard Gere later reprising Yakusho’s role in a 2004 U.S. remake. This was followed by his starring role in “The Eel,” the Palme d’Or winner at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, directed by the late Shohei Imamura. In the mid-2000s, Yakusho made a lasting impression in two Hollywood productions: Rob Marshall’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Babel” (2006).

Yakusho’s performance in “Perfect Days” is poised to become another significant milestone in his career. The Hollywood Reporter’s critic at Cannes described the film as “ineffably lovely,” noting that Wim Wenders concludes his emotionally rich Japanese drama with a poignant shot of Koji Yakusho’s expressive face as his character navigates Tokyo, reflecting on the highs and lows of his life with a sense of openness and acceptance, embracing both the sorrow and the happiness.”

At Cannes, the film secured a North American release through the specialized distributor Neon, with plans for it to hit theatres sometime during the upcoming autumn season. “Perfect Days” has also been chosen as Japan’s official submission for the Best International Film category at the Oscars.

The 2023 edition of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival is scheduled to take place from November 9th to November 26th. The festival will kick off with the world premiere of two homegrown Taiwanese productions: “Snow in Midsummer,” directed by Chong Keat-aun, a past recipient of the festival’s Best New Director prize; and “Be With Me,” directed by Hwarng Wern-Ying, who has previously been recognized at the festival for excellence in art direction, costume design, and makeup. The festival will come to a close with “Tales of Taipei,” an omnibus film featuring ten distinct stories from directors hailing from various East Asian regions.

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Jhon Steve

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