Al a party one evening a year or so ago, another journa. list who drops names he/she doesnst even know, said: “Oh, lily you’re alviays dropping names.” Guilty as charged, but when you’re writing a column. about people itss kinds hard to get away from all that.
Consequently. I feel no guilt at all in dropping even more names than usual in the opening of this week’s column — and a few more columns corning up — about the First Tokyo international Film Festival and all the interesting people in town the last month or So. And they’re still coming! But let’s start with some important embassy events.
Federal Republic of Germany celebrates Constitution Day
On the diplomatic scene, Federal Republic of Germany Ambassador and Mrs. Walter Boss gave a huge reception at their home to celebrate the 36th Anniversary of the Foundation Day of the FRG (Constitution Day). Special. guests that evening included FRG Minister of Posts and Communication Dr. and Mrs. Christian Schwarz-Schilling.
The weather was beautiful and most of the guests spent most of the evening in the garden, illuminated by colorful Japanese lanterns. Booths serving German food specialties had been set up and everyone including myself really enjoyed the bratwurst. For me they brought back memories of about ten trips to Cologne for the Men’s Fashion Week there. Every night after the fashion shows, we’d head for the Cologne railroad station where they had stand up shops selling bratwurst.
Fendi Furs reception follows spectacular show
“Beautiful . . . fantastic. . . superb . . the best ever.” Just a few of the superlatives used to describe the latest Fendi fur collection shown at Asahi Hall to a SRO crowd that could well fill a book, “Who’s Who in Japan.” After the show everyone moved downstairs for a glittering reception that Daini Okada and his staff had catered. The food, the mood, the music and the crowd compared to anything you’d see in New York, London, Rome, Paris or Beverly Hills.
As I mentioned earlier, the next evening the members of the Fendi family were here, Anna and her two daughters Maria Teresa and Sylvie, sponsored a charity evening at the Tokyo Hilton Hotel with proceeds going towards helping handicapped children.
When it comes to fashion, the Fulfil Family from Rome are royalty. Their P.R. rep in Japan, Koko Volpicellls is an exceptional woman — beautiful, international and intelligent. She has done an extraordinary job for Fendi and I was honored when Koko called me several months ago for my help in setting up something special for the Fendis when they were here to show their latest collection in May. Since they were having a reception after the show at Asahi Hall, we decided to hold a Fendi charity party at the chic Moonchild Club in the equally chic Tokyo Hilton in Shinjuku.
Argentina Celebrates National Day
On May 25 Argentine Ambassador Enrique Ros gave a mid-day reception to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the National Day of Argentina. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t all that great that day and the more than 200 guests not enjoy the residence garden.
Even though the residence was wall-to-wall people, there was a casual ambiance and everyone had a marvelous time. In addition to congratulating Ambassador Ros and his staff, I was also happy to see former Argentine Ambassador to Japan and Mrs. Carlos J. Fragulo who were visiting from Buenos Aires with a business delegation. The Fraguios asked me to extend their greetings to their many friends here.
Guidis’ elegant party for Italian designer Nicola Trussardi
Recently one of their special guests was Italian designer Nicola Trussardi whose leather creations have gained him fame all over the world.
During his visit here—where he showed his latest collection for his Japanese business part-ner, Sun Motoyama — the Guidis introduced him to their friends at a reception in his and his wife’s honor at the Embassy residence. It was a fashionable gathering of people in the fashion business, journalists and members of the Italian community. A relaxed evening of Italian hospitality and chic, perfect for the occasion.
Ibanez’s party for Spain’s La Antologia de la Zarzuela
On the diplomatic. scene, Spanish Ambassador Eduardo Ibanez and his wife lienrietle Ana gave a reception at their home on the evening of June 24 to celebrate King’s Day, The lbanezes are a very popular couple, and as at any of their functions, it was wall-to-wall people. The crowd that evening was a mix of diplomats, high-rankinq Japanese government officials, leaders in industry here, and familiar faces from the arts, entertainment and social world.
In addition, there was a very important visitor from Spain. Minister of Industry and Energy, Carlos Solana. It was a festive evening, but everyone was sorry to hear that Eduardo and “Titi,” after four years in Japan, will he returning to Spain soon. They’re an exceptional couple and will really be missed.
The evening entertainment was wonderful. We admired the performance of Spaires La Antologia de la Zarzucia —mixture of opera, flamenco and ballet. I had the privilege to meet the members of the Zarzueiti troupe. After the ‘Vasil, party in their honor, several of the you performers came over to the Lexington Queen to boogie and they’re every bit as versatile on a disco floor as they are on the stage..
Behind the scenes at the Tokyo Intl Film Festival
As I mentioned previously, I knocked out two columns a day for the Daily Bulletin, the official publication for the 1985 Tokyo International Film Festival. 1 worked on this with Bill Ireton and his sister, Asia (good people who really know the film and TV biz) and enjoyed every minute of it. It opened all doors as far as the festival went, and was instrumental in helping me get a regular column out of Tokyo for the prestigious Hollywood Reporter. Hooray for Hollywood!!
There’s no way I can cover everything that happened at the TIFF or everyone who was here, but I would like to go over some of the highlights of the super-successful event. My first assignment was the press conference for all the celebs flown in for the ’85 World Stars Charity Tennis Tournament. They met the Fourth Estate in the Crystal Room of the New Otani. Nearly everyone had jet lag, so it was more of an introduction than a press conference. I was invited to join the stars in another room where they had drinks and sandwiches before getting into a dozen open cars for a “stars parade” to NHK Hall for the opening ceremony.
During the break I enjoyed talking with one of my all-time favorite actresses, Glenda Jackson. It was also interesting to meet Donald Sutherland, much heavier than in photos and dressed in very avante-garde “made in the U.S. Japanese designer fashion.” He told me he had been in Japan about ten years ago with Jane Fonda on an anti-Vietnam war tour.
Rod Steiger told me he hadn’t been in Japan for 20 years and planned to get out and see a hit of Japan before he left, exactly what he did.
The sponsors asked if I’d like to ride in one of the open cars in the parade. It would have been great for the ego, but had other things to do, so had to pass.
That evening the gala opening party was held in the huge Phoenix Room of the Tokyo Prince Hotel. I had been told that Fuji TV had exclusive rights to film the event and no cameras were allowed. I put my Canon in my bag anyway and glad I did, as people were taking photos all over the place.
I didn’t hear it, but someone told mc later one of the guest speakers. no less than Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, on stage to meet veteran actor James Stewart, told him: “Oh, yes. I saw one of your pictures once.” Oh well. I remember at a recent press conference for a well-known European star, a Japanese journalist asked the visiting celeb what Japanese actors he liked. There was a long, embarrassing silence when the star said, “Bruce Lee.”
The entertainment program at the party ranged from a dynamic (but much too long) flower arrangement demonstra-tion to songs by such Japan mega-stars as Matchi and Tashi Tahara. The Japanese may love the often racist, usually vulgar humor of Tamori, but he’s not the right person to emcee an international event. I, for one, don’t like his slap-stick humor any better than I do much of the sick stuff Eddie Murphy does.
A majority of the stars were here for the tennis tournament and arrived en masse about an hour after the party started. It was a black-tie affair and Rod Steiger in his usual robin’s egg blue jacket and open shirt looked around and said, “I think I’ll stay about five min-utes.” He stayed on, but Glenda Jackson left after about 10 minutes and left Tokyo before the tournament. I think it was really bad judgment for TV and the press to spend so much time on kawaii-clean Sophie Marceau whose films include masterpieces like “Le Boum” and almost completely ignore one of the greatest actresses of stage and screen, Glenda Jack-son. I didn’t find Glenda con-ceited or temperamental, but can’t imagine it was much fun for her either.
Jennifer O’Neill looked gorgeous that evening — as she did every evening — in fashion she created for herself. Cathy Crosby started out showing a considerable amount of cleavage and, according to someone else in the group, her dresses got more daring every night after. With her looks and figure, she can carry it off.
Another beauty that evening was actress Yoko Shimada, rather plain-looking when she took on the part of Mariko in “Shogun” and has taken on a very glamorous new image.
The next evening I took. Melissa Gilbert of “Little House on the Prairie,” teen heart throb Rob Lowe and actor Helmut Berger to Julian Lennon’s concert at Budokan. Considering that the concert had been sold out for several weeks, I appreciate Udo Pro-ductions’ efforts in getting us good seats. After the show we went backstage to congratulate Julian and the band, and then moved over to the LEX Tokyo in Roppongi for his sayonara party. Melissa and Rob sat in the back and it was obvious they were with each other. Even so, one very horny little Elem model, who really fits the name “star-f….er” tried so hard to get to Rob and caused so many problems they left the club early. Sorry, as it could have been a nice evening for Melissa and Rob as many of their friends — including Jennifer O’Neill, Robert Carradine, Hart Bochner and Claude ‘,cloud’ joined the party later.
As for the model, she’s just the type that reflects badly on the whole modeling profession here. Why let people like her in if they’re going to keep Southeast Asian hookers out?
Another evening Banjiro Uemura, Prcz of Tohokushinsha, pioneer in film importing, was host at a huge reception at the Tokyo Prince. Guests included Japanese and international stars, diplomats, top executives in the film business and government officials.
One very speccial guest was the popular Minister of Labor Toshio Yamaguchi who made a short speech on how the film industry helps people better understand one another’s culture. I had taken Maria Schneider and her Italian friend Maria Phi Aliamo-Clappanzan (who flipped over the pasta) to the Italian National Day party, so we went to the Tohokushinsha reception together. Maria enjoyed meeting one of One of ‘Japan’s top-flight comedy and dramatic (and musical) stars, FranIde Sa-kai, meets Maria (“Last Tan-go in Paris”) Schneider.
Japan’s top money-making entertainers, Frankle Sakai. Penthouse magazine’s Victoria Johnson, (she told me she was here making a video) was there and attracting a lot of attention. Chichan Plessner, a close friend of the Uemura family, made sure I met every-one — and I appreciate that.
My main complaint about the festival: too many events scheduled at the same time. A prime example: the tennis tournament finals at Sendagaya held simultaneously with Tokyo Governor and Mrs. Shunichi Suzuki’s garden party at the Guest House in Meguro. Since I saw the first day of tennis, thought rd better go to Gov, Suzuki’s party — which I enjoyed tremendously.
Toshiro Mifune was there and, as always, attracted a lot of attention, as did Brazilian actress Sonia Braga, celebrating her birthday. That highly respected lady in the film biz, Kashiko Kawakita, was also the center of attention. Someone said she’s like Orphan Annie . . . “she must have dozens of those purple kimono” . . . which she wears everywhere. Alex Ying introduced me to Oscar-winning actor Dr. Haing S. Ngor, and David Puttnam, producer of his film “The Killing Fields,” was also there. David told me he’s been to a lot of “firsts” and he felt the organizing committee for TIFF did an excellent job.
A day or so later, I had the opportunity to have coffee with Dr. Ngor at the Capitol Tokyo and it was an awesome exper-ience to hear of his true-life experiences in the Khmer Rouge pogrom. Don’t miss “The Killing Fields.”
Governor and Mrs. Shunichi Suzuki left Tokyo a hit later for the festivities in New York City celebrating the silver an-niversary of Tokyo-NYC sister-city relations.
The stars here for the tennis tournament, in addition to excelling in their field — enter-tainment — all share another common interest: helping others. All have been involved in many charity projects and have spent much of their own time and money in many worthy projects.
Many can’t play tennis much better than I do and a few who couldn’t play at all were “referees.” Nevertheless, every-one got into the mood of the thing and made it something special.