Ahead of the official ceremony on 6th February, the Blue Ribbon Awards has released its list of winners for the 61st edition which honours films released in 2018. Runaway box office hit One Cut of the Dead (released on 28th January in the UK courtesy of Third Window Films) has taken the top spot while Kazuya Shirashi, who took last year’s prize for Birds Without Names, has retained the Best Director award for the three films he released last year – The Blood of Wolves, Dare to Stop Us, and Sunny (not to be confused with the remake of the Korean film by the same name which also makes it into the top 10).
Best Film: One Cut of the Dead
Best Actor: Hiroshi Tachi (Life in Overtime)
Best Actress: Mugi Kadowaki (Dare to Stop Us)
Best Supporting Actor: Tori Matsuzaka (The Blood of Wolves)
Best Supporting Actress: Mayu Matsuoka (Shoplifters / Chihayafuru Part 3)
Best Newcomer: Sara Minami (Shino Can’t Say Her Name)
Best Director: Kazuya Shiraishi (The Blood of Wolves / Dare to Stop Us / Sunny)
In addition to naming individual prizes, the Blue Ribbon Awards also reveals its “Best 10” films of the year which are presented in no particular order.
One Cut of the Dead (カメラを止めるな！)
One Cut of the Dead has already devoured the Japanese box office and now finds itself the winner of the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award for best film. Opening with a 40 minute single take of zombie mayhem, this hilarious horror comedy begins with a film crew trying to make a zombie movie in an abandoned water filtration plant with a dark past only for some uninvited guests to turn up and join the fun…
Released in the UK by Third Window Films on 28th January.
The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine (菊とギロチン)
The recently prolific Takahisa Zeze retreats to the Taisho era for a tale of sumo and revolution as a band of anarchists known as the Guillotine Society find themselves fascinated by an itinerant troupe of female sumo wrestlers shortly after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.
The Blood of Wolves (孤狼の血)
Kazuya Shirashi, winner of this year’s best director award, pays tribute to the world of Battles Without Honour in an ’80-style neo-noir in which a straight-laced rookie is partnered with a veteran rogue cop who leads him straight into the heart of darkness. Review.
Sunny: Tsuyoi Kimochi Tsuyoi Ai (SUNNY 強い気持ち・強い愛)
Not to be confused with Kazuya’s Shiraishi’s Sunny, Hitoshi Ohne’s Sunny: Tsuyoi Kimochi Tsuyoi Ai is a remake of the classic 2011 Korean film by Kang Hyeong-cheol in which a dying 40-year-old woman reunites with her high school friends from 1990 to relive her memories of a bubble-era adolescence.
A CEO discovers dark secrets about his own company when a tire comes off one of their trucks and kills a young mother.
Dare to Stop Us (止められるか、俺たちを)
Another of three films released this year by Best Director winner Kazuya Shiraishi, Dare To Stop Us revolves around the legendary figure of Koji Wakamatsu – a hugely influential director of pink film who sadly passed away in 2012 following a traffic accident. Set at Wakamatsu Productions between 1969 and 1972, the film is told from the point of view of female crew member Megumi Yoshizumi, played by Best Actress winner Mugi Kadowaki.
Every Day a Good Day (日日是好日)
Starring the legendary Kirin Kiki in one of her final performances, Every Day a Good Day is inspired by the writings of Noriko Morishita and revolves around the serene elegance of the traditional tea ceremony.
Asako 1 & 2 (寝ても覚めても)
A conflicted young woman struggling to move on from lost love falls for a guy who looks just like her ex but can’t decide whether to embrace the fantasy of unresolved romance or the security of a steady relationship in Hamaguchi’s complex yet playful comedy drama adapted from the novel by Tomoka Shibasaki. Review.
This year’s Palme d’Or winner, Shoplifters earns Hirokazu Koreeda another spot in the top 10 with a hard hitting tale of marginal lives and manufactured families which continues the long line of Japanese films asking what exactly family means in an increasingly disconnected society. Review.
Yakiniku Dragon (焼肉ドラゴン)
Directed by third generation Zainichi director Wishing Chong, Yakiniku Dragon revolves around a Korean-Japanese family in the early ’70s who run a yakiniku restaurant on the outskirts of Osaka.
Source: Eiga Natalie