Japanese filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi was awarded the runner-up grand jury prize on Friday at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival, marking the first time in seven years Japan has taken a prize.
"Guzen to sozo" (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy), a collection of three short stories on chance and coincidence each revolving around a woman, was awarded the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize by the jury, who said, "In the place where dialogues and words usually end, the dialogues of this film only begin."
The last time Japan took a prize at the Berlinale was in 2014 when Haru Kuroki won the Silver Bear for Best Actress in the film "Chiisai Ouchi" (The Little House).
"I feel deeply happy and honored to receive this prize from a jury comprised of highly-experienced directors," Hamaguchi said in a statement.
The win adds the 42-year-old native of Kanagawa Prefecture to a list of other internationally acclaimed Japanese directors such as Hirokazu Koreeda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Naomi Kawase.
Hamaguchi's 2015 breakthrough feature "Happy Hour," which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival, went on to win awards at numerous film festivals. His 2018 film "Netemo Sametemo" (Asako I & II) was also selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
This year's Golden Bear for Best Film was awarded to "Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn" by Romanian director and screenwriter Radu Jude.
The Berlinale was held from Monday through Friday as a virtual festival due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Summer Special, to be held in June, allows the general public to see the selected films in the presence of the filmmakers.