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Mexico's Inarritu to head Tokyo festival jury

"Babel" director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will head the competition jury at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October.
/ Source: The Associated Press

"Babel" director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will head the competition jury at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October.

Organizers named the Mexican filmmaker the jury president in a statement on their official Web site. The 21st edition of the film festival is scheduled for Oct. 18-26.

Inarritu was quoted as saying he was honored by the appointment because "Japan's culture and film traditions have had a personal impact on me and inspire in me respect and admiration."

The former sailor and DJ made his film debut with the 2000 release "Amores Perros." The story of four Mexico City residents who cross paths in a car crash starring Gael Garcia Bernal won the Grand Prix prize at the Tokyo festival in 2000. Inarritu went on to direct the 2003 American drama "21 Grams," starring Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.

But the Mexican director is best known in the West for "Babel," which weaves together stories set in Morocco, the U.S.-Mexican border region and Japan. The 2006 film starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Bernal earned Inarritu the best director award at Cannes Film Festival that year.

It also garnered six Oscar nominations, including best supporting actress for Japan's Rinko Kikuchi, but only won for best score.