Thursday, May 7, 2009

Miwa Nishikawa's "Dear Doctor" hopes for a big win at this year's Montreal World Film Festival

by Chris MaGee

The Montreal World Film Festival has always had impressive line-ups of Japanese films and they haven't been shy about handing out their top prize, the Grand Prix des Amériques, to a few of them. In 2006 Eiji Okuda's "Nagai Sanpo ( A Long Walk)" took home the award, while last year Montreal was one of the first festivals to honour Yojiro Takita's "Okuribito (Departures)" with their top prize. Now the folks at Bandai Visual are hoping that the Montreal jury's hearts and imaginations will be captured by yet another Japanese production, namely their film "Dear Doctor".

"Dear Doctor" tells the story of a much loved small town physician, played by rakugo performer Tsurube Shofukutei, who one day mysteriously disappears. It's through the search for him that his colleagues, friends and the townsfolk begin to discover exactly their doctor is. Along with Shofukutei the cast of "Dear Doctor" includes Eita, Teruyuki Kagawa, Kimiko Yo, and Ryo Iwamatsu and is directed by 35-year-old filmmaker Miwa Nishikawa, best known in North America for the 2006 drama "Yureru (Sway)" starring Jo Odagiri.

There was a real buzz about Nishikawa, the protégé of famed filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda and assistant director on his 2001 film "Distance, when I was at the recent Nippon Connection Film Festival in Frankfurt. A lot of people I spoke to were wondering out loud if she might not be one of the, if not the most important up and coming directors in Japan. A win at the Montreal World Film Festival could certainly help cement her reputation, that's for sure.

The 33rd Annual Montreal World Film Festival is set to run between August 27th to September 7th and as more of this year's line-up is revealed we'll make sure to let you know. For now check out the teaser trailer for "Dear Doctor" below. Thanks to Tokyograph for the details on this story.

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