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October 18, 2009

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'Green' carpet sets the tone for Tokyo festival

THE Tokyo International Film Festival opened yesterday with stars including Hollywood actress Sigourney Weaver strolling a "green" carpet made of recycled plastic bottles.

The theme of the nine-day festival, which will feature more than 100 movies, is ecology. The festival opened with "Oceans," a documentary on sea life.

Films include "The Cove," a documentary that depicts an annual hunt of dolphins in Japan. Festival organizers added it at the last minute in part because of overseas pressure.

While the movie has won more than a dozen awards worldwide, it is not among the 15 Japanese and foreign films competing for the festival's top prize of US$50,000.

"The Cove" has provoked outrage over the dolphin hunt in the seaside town of Taiji in southwestern Japan, where 2,000 dolphins are killed every year, mostly for meat.

The film, to be screened on Wednesday, shows fishermen banging on poles to frighten the dolphins into a cove, where they are killed with spears. The cove is closed off by barbed wire, and the movie crew had to film most footage covertly.

Weaver's "Avatar" will also be screened. It is the first major Hollywood 3D release that's not animation. Directed by James Cameron, creator of "Titanic" and "The Terminator," the sci-fi epic centers on humans placed inside alien skins to survive on a distant world.


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