by Chris MaGee
November was already shaping up to be a great month for Japanese film in Toronto, what with the 13th annual Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival bringing Yoshihiro Nakamura's "Fish Story" to the Innis Town Hall Theatre on the 14th, the Japan Foundation and Marty Gross Productions hosting screening of Shochiku's Cinema Kabuki films at the Scotiabank Theatre, and the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre holding a screening of one of my favorite Shohei Imamura films of all time, 1988's "Black Rain" on November 26th. Then I got an email from a friend letting me know that Toronto Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival have programmed Takeshi Kitano's 2008 film "Achilles and the Tortoise" as it's closing night film.
"Achilles and the Tortoise" included in a line-up of films that explore issues of mental health and addiction? How does that work? After talking with Matthew Hogue, head programmer for Rendezvous with Madness it seems like a perfect fit. "Achilles and the Tortoise" follows Kitano's character from a boy to an adult as he compulsively pursues artistic fame, and ends up alienating his wife and daughter in the process. As Hogue explains it it's a level of compulsion that for mental health professionals can sound alarm bells, "Often when a person does not have a voice in everyday life they turn to the world of art to make themselves heard."
As a longtime fan of Kitano it's great to see one of his films getting chosen to cap of the 17th offering of this unique and important festival. The Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival runs from November 5th to the 14th with Kitano's "Achilles and the Tortoise" screening on Saturday, November 14th at 7:00PM at the CAMH Queen Street Mental Health facility, 1001 Queen Street West. To check out the full Rendezvous with Madness line-up and to find out how you can get tickets check out out their official site here, and then brush up on Kitano's latest film by checking out its trailer below.