Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Major films (and a few surprises) join the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival line-up

by Chris MaGee

It was at the beginning of this month that the Toronto International Film Festival announced the very first Japanese titles for its 2011 line-up, and they kicked off strong with Katsuhito Ishii's "Smuggler" and Hiroyuki Okiura's "A Letter to Momo". Of course we knew that there would be more Japanese films coming to the fest, but this past week we had our hopes confirmed, and in a very big way.

Joining "Smuggler" and "A Letter to Momo" in Toronto next month will be new films by Shinya Tsukamoto, Sion Sono, Toshiaki Toyoda, Goro Miyazaki and experimental filmmaker Eriko Sonoda. Also, Toronto will be enjoying the North American premiere of Amir Naderi's Iranian/ Japanese co-production "Cut". Here are the details:

Kotoko (above) - Shinya Tsukamoto joins forces with singer-songwriter COCCO for a thriller about a single mother who has her child taken away due to her double vision.

Himizu - Sion Sono returns to TIFF with his adaptation of Minoru Furuya's manga about a young man (Shota Sometani) who must deal with a traumatizing event in his past. Sono has set the story against the backdrop of the March 11th Tohoku Earthquake.

Up on Poppy Hill - Goro Miyazaki directs a script written by his father Hayao Miyazaki about a young girl who deals with turmoil and first love during preparations of the historic 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Monsters Club - Toshiaki Toyoda assembles a cast which includes Eita, Yosuke Kubozuka and performance artist Pyuupiru to tell the story of a Unabomber-like vigilante who finds himself confrobted by a strange creature.

Cut - Iranian director Amir Naderi directs Hidetoshi Nishijima in the story of a filmmaker who decides to become a human punching bag for the yakuza in order to pay of his debts.

Space is the Place - Experimental filmmaker Erio Sonoda returns to TIFF's Wavelengths programme with a new 6-minute short film.

The 36th annual Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8th to September 18th. Passes are currently on sale and individual tickets will go on sale September 3rd. To check out all of what will be coming to Toronto next month visit the fest's official website here.

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