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Japanese Story Catholic Film of the Year

In a year where quirky comedies dominated the output of the Australian film industry, the Australian Catholic Film Office has given its Film of the Year to a poignant drama set in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Director of the Office and Jury Chair, Fr Richard Leonard SJ said it was a difficult film to nail down to any one genre.

"It's part love story, part survival saga and part thriller. These parts, however, combine for an engaging and powerful piece of cinema," he said.

Japanese Story is about Sandy (Toni Collette), a geologist who unexpectedly has to accompany Hiromitsu (Gotaro Tsunashima), a Japanese businessman, on a field trip to the Pilbara. Although they dislike each other from the start, they need to appreciate and harness each other's gifts, to which they have previously been blind.

"It has been often observed how in Australian film and literature the desert has figured as a motif of descent, decline and degeneration," Fr Leonard said.

"Japanese Story is rooted in this tradition, but then moves beyond it to a much more biblical notion of the desert which holds that it can also be the place of revelation, transformation and recreation."

"The jury felt that given the national conversation about outsiders in contemporary Australian society, Japanese Story helps us to unmask our prejudices, and highlights our common bonds of human dignity and interdependence."

While this film is not explicitly Christian, Japanese Story is a deeply spiritual tale about reconciliation, hospitality and letting go.

"Director Sue Brooks, writer Alison Tilson and producer Sue Maslin are to be congratulated on bringing to the screen such a gripping and poignant cinematic experience."

"Japanese Story" named Australian Film of the Year by the Catholic Film Office (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)

Australian Catholic Film Office | Japanese Story
Japanese Story (SBS Movie Show)
Japanese Story (Sydney Morning Herald)
Japanese Story (The Australian)
Japanese Story (IMDB)
Catholic Film Office honours five films (16/12/02)
Documentary named Catholic Film Office Film of the Year (1/11/01)
Vatican Radio says 'Matrix Revolutions' commercializes Christianity (Catholic News Service)

12 Nov 2003