Monday, September 20, 2010

Tokyo Filmex 2010 brings the best of new and classic Japanese film to the screen

by Chris MaGee

I am very happy to report that come this November the Pow-Wow will be heading to Tokyo when I will be attending the 11th annual Tokyo Filmex Film Festival. The plane ticket has been booked and so have the hotel reservations, and I've been waiting impatiently to find out what Filmex programmers will have on hand for both local and international visitors. Well, during the wonderfaul chaos that was this year's Toronto International Film Festival word finally came out about this year's Tokyo Filmex line-up, and yet again, it doesn't disappoint.

Not only will this year's Tokyo Filmex open with a film that has already wowed Toronto audiences, Sion Sono's "Cold Fish", but it will also have a pair of new Japanese films entered into competition. The first is Nobuteru Uchida's "Love Addiction", billed as a "romantic drama"; the second is a new documentary from "Campaign" and "Mental" director Kazuhiro Soda titled "Peace". This new film, originally conceived of as a film on issues of peace and co-existence turned into an exploration of the lives of Soda's father-in-law, taxi driver Toshio Kashiwagi, and 91-year-old Shiro Hashimoto, a man cared for by Soda's mother-in-law.

Fans of Japanese horror will have a cinematic feast at this year's Filmex with a quartet of short films commissioned by NHK and based on well known Japanese ghost stories written by accalaimed Japanese authors. What's best is these films have been helmed by some of Japan's most revered filmmaker. Masayuki Ochiai tackles Yasunari Kawabata's "The Arm", Shinya Tsukamoto adapts Osamu Dazai's "The Whistler", Sang Il-Lee brings Ryunosuke Akutagawa's "The Nose" and Hirokazu Koreeda brings us his take on Muro Sasei's "The Days After".

Tokyo Filmex has long been a showcase for classic Japanese films from the 30's, 40's and 50's that have fallen off the radar in Europe and North America. Once again programmers are bringing more great films out of the vaults to introduce a whole new generation to these works. Eight films by director Minoru Shibuya will be screened - 1952's "Doctor's Day Off" (above) and "Modern People", 1957's "Righteousness", 1958's "The Days of Evil Women", 1961's "The Shrikes" and "A Good Man, A Good Day", 1962's "Drunkard's Paradise" and 1965's "The Radish and the Carrot". Along with Shibuya's films proghrammers have brought together both Keisuke Kinoshita Carmen comedies, 1951's "Carmen Comes Home" and its sequel 1952's "Carmen's Innocent Love". Joining these will be Kinoshita's 1948 film "The Portrait". To round out this classics programme Yasujiro Ozu's Noriko Trilogy - 1949's "Late Spring", 1951's "Early Summer" and 1953's "Tokyo Story" - will be screened.

These of course are only the Japanese entries in the Filmex line-up. To see the full list of films from around the globe that will be screened in Tokyo from November 20th to November 28th check out the 2010 Tokyo Filmex official website here.

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