Wenders’ Cannes competition title Perfect Days won APSA’s Best Film award, while Hamaguchi’s enigmatic Venice title Evil Does Not Exist nabbed the Jury Grand Prize this evening at the Australian ceremony.
“It is with great pleasure and pride that my Japanese producers Takuma Takasaki and Koji Yanai and myself received the news that our film Perfect Days was awarded Best Picture at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards,” Wenders said, accepting the award via video message.
He added: “Wow, what an honor. Especially for a German director. The film was, in many ways, a dream come true for all of us, especially the fact that nobody less than the great Koji Yakusho played the leading role, the humble public servant, Hirayama.”
Perfect Days tells the story of Hirayama, a toilet cleaner who seems utterly content with his simple life as a cleaner of toilets in Tokyo. Outside of his very structured everyday routine, he enjoys his passion for music and books. He loves trees and takes photos of them. A series of unexpected encounters gradually reveals more of his past. The film is Japan’s submission to this year’s Best International Feature race at the Oscars.
Evil Does Not Exist marks the second major recent APSA win for Hamaguchi, who won best film in 2021 with Drive My Car. The pic tells the story of Takumi and his daughter Hana, who live in Mizubiki Village, close to Tokyo. Like generations before them, they live a modest life according to the cycles and order of nature.
A plan to construct a glamping site near Takumi’s house, offering city residents a comfortable “escape” to nature threatens to endanger both the ecological balance of the area and the local people’s way of life.
Hamaguchi wrote the screenplay for the film, which also reunites him with Drive My Car composer Eiko Ishibashi. The prize was accepted this evening by producer and APSA Academy member Satoshi Takata.
Elsewhere, Celine Song won the APSA for Best Director for her acclaimed debut Past Lives.
“I’m so happy and honored to receive the Best Director Award at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards,” Song said accepting the gong. “It is very special to receive this for my very first film, and my very personal film, and it is also so meaningful to receive it from my own community. Thank you so much. It really means the world.”
The APSA for Best Performance was won by Palestinian performer Mouna Hawa for her role in the Jordanian film Inshallah a Boy. In the debut feature from Amjad Al Rasheed, Hawa plays the mother of a young daughter whose life is upturned by harsh local inheritance laws when her husband suddenly dies.
Accepting the gong, Hawa touched on contemporary issues. She said: “In these times, a film like Inshallah a Boy that dares to question our entire reality is essential not only for educating people and making them think but also gives us a voice in times where we simply can’t speak. Thank you.”
This year’s international APSA jury, which picks the winners for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Performance, and the Jury Grand Prize, included Clara Law (Australia) – Jury President, Anna Katchko (Germany), Yeo Yann Yann, (Malaysia), Hideho Urata (Japan, Singapore), and Faisal Baltyuor (Saudi Arabia).
Check out the full list of winners below:
Directed by Wim Wenders
Produced by Wim Wenders, Takuma Takasaki, Koji Yanai
JURY GRAND PRIZE
Evil Does Not Exist (Aku Wa Sonzai Shinai)
Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Produced by Satoshi Takata
BEST YOUTH FILM
Directed by Askhat Kuchinchirekov
Produced by Askhat Kuchinchirekov, Anna Katchko
BEST ANIMATED FILM
The Siren (La Sirène)
France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium
Directed by Sepideh Farsi
Produced by Sébastien Onomo
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
Against the Tide
Directed by Sarvnik Kaur
Produced by Koval Bhatia, Sarvnik Kaur
Celine Song for Past Lives
Republic of Korea, United States
Anthony Shim for Riceboy Sleeps
Canada, Republic of Korea
Azamat Dulatov for Qas
Special Mention for CINEMATOGRAPHY
Krum Rodriguez for Citizen Saint (Mokalake
Georgia, France, Bulgaria
Mouna Hawa for Inshallah a Boy (Inshallah Walad)
Jordan, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar
BEST NEW PERFORMER
Aibar Saly and Alisher Ismailov for Brothers (Bratya)
CULTURAL DIVERSITY AWARD
India, People’s Republic of China, Qatar, Switzerland, Netherlands
Directed by Dominic Megam Sangma
Produced by Xu Jianshang, Eva Gunme R Marak, Anu Rangachar, Sun Li, Harsh Agarwal, Aditya Grover, Stephen
YOUNG CINEMA AWARD
Phạm Thiên Ân for Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Bên Trong Vỏ Kén Vàng)
Vietnam, Singapore, France, Spain
FIAPF AWARD for Outstanding Contribution to Asia Pacific Cinema