Japanese filmmaker Ryûsuke Hamaguchi receives Joseph Plateau Honorary Award at 50th anniversary edition Film Fest Gent
On Friday afternoon, Film Fest Gent honoured director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi with a Joseph Plateau Honorary Award, a prize for festival guests who have made significant contributions to the art of filmmaking. Hamaguchi's presence at Film Fest Gent was highly anticipated by the international audience attending the festival's 50th anniversary edition. The director received the award after an intriguing Creative Partnership Talk with collaborator and composer Eiko Ishibashi, who has written the contemplative, jazzy score for Hamaguchi's Drive My Car. The talk is part of FFG's WSA Film Music Days where professionals from the film (music) industry annually gather to indulge in symphonic concerts and numerous panel discussions on the state of the industry. On Wednesday night, Ishibashi presented her new collaboration with Hamaguchi, called GIFT, a silent film completely supported by Ishibashi's dynamic live performance. GIFT evolved in conjunction with Hamaguchi's latest feature film, Evil Does Not Exist, which saw the light of day after Ishibashi asked the director to create images to accompany her music. Evil Does Not Exist won the Grand Jury Prize at the 80th Venice Film Festival and the award for Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival.
A born storyteller
A born, eloquent storyteller of humanist fables, Hamaguchi has quickly become Japan's most prolific force in contemporary auteur cinema. The director has gained international recognition for his emotionally resonant films, exploring the profundities of human life through hardship, romance and the everyday. His unhurried approach to rhythm and character development has resulted in compelling portraits told through a unique cinematic lens.
Born in 1978, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi is an alumnus of the Graduate School of Film and New Media at the Tokyo University of Arts. His 2008 graduate film Passion immediately garnered international attention at film festivals both in Japan and abroad. After several documentaries, he directed his breakthrough feature film Happy Hour (2015), a five-hour exploration of the lives of four women in their 30s, with which he received a Special Mention for best screenplay at the Locarno International Film Festival. Romantic melodrama Asako I & II (2018) competed for the Palme d'Or in Cannes and further proved Hamaguchi's expert storytelling abilities. In 2021 he released two films that were both hailed as masterpieces. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the Berlinale, while Hamaguchi's now best-known feature Drive My Car won the award for best screenplay in Cannes. The latter also received four Academy Award nominations with Hamaguchi becoming the third Japanese director to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Director. The film won the Oscar for Best International Feature Film. The director's latest feature Evil Does Not Exist, an enigmatic eco-drama, premiered at the Venice Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize.
With a growing body of work and a dedication to crafting films that examine the interior lives of complex characters, Hamaguchi will continue to be a voice to be reckoned with in contemporary cinema.
Joseph Plateau Honorary Award
The Joseph Plateau Honorary Award is presented to distinguished guests of Film Fest Gent whose achievements have earned them a special and distinct place in the history of international filmmaking. The award itself is a replica of professor Joseph Plateau's phenakistiscope, the device he designed to illustrate his theory of the persistence of vision, which became the basic principle behind the idea of 'moving images'. Past winners include amongst others Céline Sciamma (2022), Raoul Servais (2022), Andrea Arnold (2021), Viggo Mortensen (2020), Isabelle Huppert (2011), Agnès Varda (2006) and Morgan Freeman (2000). The full list of winners is available on the website.