Thursday, June 7, 2012

Toronto Japanese Film Festival, June 7-21

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Shiseido (Canada) Inc. kick off the inaugural Toronto Japanese Film Festival (TJFF) tonight. The festival is a two week showcase of the best of Japanese contemporary cinema in Toronto. With the support of Alliance Films Inc., TJFF connects Toronto audiences, Japanese filmmakers, industry professionals and supporters.

The opening night film is the award-winning 八日目の蝉 (Rebirth) by 成島出 (Narushima Izuru). It recently swept the Japan Academy Prizes with ten awards including Picture of the Year and awards for Director, Screenplay and Lead Actress 井上真央 (Inoue Mao).

Proceeds go to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund which has already raised over $1.5 million.

Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Kobayashi Hall
6 Garamond Court
North-east of Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue East

Costs: Range: $10 - $19
Cost Information: Admission - Individual Tickets: $10.00 ($8.00 for JCCC members); 3 Film Pass : $27.00 ($22.00 for JCCC members); Deluxe Pass (10 films): $85.00 ($75.00 for JCCC members). Note: Children’s tickets will be offered at $5.00 each

Japanese Film Listings – Full Schedule
Opening Night Screening and Reception
Rebirth (2011)
Reception: 6:30pm, Showtime: 7:00pm
Canadian Premiere
Director: Izuru Narushima
Writer: Mitsuyo Kakuta (serial story “Yôkame no semi”), Satoko Okudera (screenplay)
Stars: Mao Inoue, Hiromi Nagasaku, Eiko Koike, Yoko Moriguchi
Genre: Drama
Release Type: Canadian Premiere
Film Length: 147 min SummaryRebirth In this powerful 2011 drama, based on the popular serial novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta, a woman named Kiwako (Hiromi Nagasaku) abducts a baby from a man with whom she has had an affair. For four years Kiwako raises the child as her own but is ultimately arrested for her crime. The child, Erina, is returned to her birth parents, but she is unable to come to terms with her past. As an adult, Erina (Mao Inoue) also becomes involved with a married man and becomes pregnant. To reconcile her past, Erina decides to return to Shodoshima where she lived with Kiwako as a child. There Erina discovers a shocking truth and is forced to make an unbearable decision… Nominated for 13 Japanese Academy Awards including Best Picture of 2011. For more details and the trailer, click here

Moteki: Love Strikes!(2011)
June 8, 7:00pm
Canadian Premiere
Director: Hitoshi Ohne
Writer: Mitsuro Kubo (manga), Hitoshi Ohne (screenplay)
Starring: Mirai Moriyama, Masami Nagasawa, Kumiko Aso
Genre: Comedy
Release TypeCanadian Premiere
Summary:Moteki is the story of a 31 year-old virgin Yukiyo Fujimoto, a young fellow with no money, no aspirations and no girlfriend. Leaving his temp job, he decides to finally get a life and lands a job as a writer for an Internet news site. But love continues to elude him. At the nadir of his loneliness and social isolation, comes the arrival of his “Moteki” – a period of sexual magnetism and romantic irresistibility.
For more details and the trailer, click here

Guilty of Romance (2011)
June 8, 10:00pm
Toronto Premiere
Director: Sion Sono
Writer: Sion Sono (screenplay)
Stars: Miki Mizuno, Makoto Togashi and Megumi Kagurazaka.
Genre: Drama
Release TypeToronto Premiere
Film Length: 114 min
SummaryGuilty of Romance is a shocking and provocative 2011 crime noir from the award-winning director Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Cold Fish, Himizu). Guilty of Romance is the final and most exhilarating part of Sono’s “hate” trilogy and premiered as part of the Directors Fortnight program at the Cannes Film Festival 2011. For more details and the trailer, click here

Colorful (2010)
June 9, 4:00pm
Toronto Premiere
Director: Keiichi Hara
Writer: Eto Mori (novel), Miho Maruo (screenplay)
Starring the voices of: Kumiko Aso, Aoi Miyazaki, Kazato Tomizawa and Akina Minami
Genre: Animation, Drama, Fantasy
Release TypeToronto Premiere
SummaryColorful is a moving and hopeful 2010 anime feature film, a contemplation of the Buddhist concept of reincarnation, and an examination of tragedy of teenage suicide in Japan. Directed by Keiichi Hara, it is based on the award winning 1999 novel by Eto Mori.
For more details and the trailer, click here

HARAKIRI: Death of a Samurai
June 9, 7:00pm
Canadian Premiere
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Kikumi Yamagishi (screenplay), Yasuhiko Takiguchi (novel)
Starring: Ichikawa Ebizo, Eita, Mitsushima Hikari and Yakusho Koji
Genre: Drama
Release TypeCanadian Premiere
SummaryICHIMEI: Harakiri – Death of a Samurai is Takashi (13 Assassins) Miike’s 2011 remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s 1962 masterpiece Harakiri.Seeking a noble end, poverty-stricken samurai Hanshiro requests to commit ritual suicide at the House of Ii, run by headstrong Kageyu. Trying to dismiss Hanshiro’s demand, Kageyu recounts the tragic story of a similar recent plea from young ronin Motome. Hanshiro is shocked by the horrifying details of Motome’s fate, but remains true to his decision to die with honor.
For more details and the trailer, click here

Ninja Kids (2011)
June 10, 2:00pm
Canadian Premiere
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Yoshio Urasawa (screenplay), Soubee Amako (manga)
Stars: Shidô Nakamura, Naoto Takenaka and Susumu Terajima
Genre: Family, Comedy
Release TypeCanadian Premiere
SummaryNinja Kidsis a charming and hilarious 2011 family comedy from director Takashi Miike (13 Assassins)Based on the popular newspaper comic “Ninja Rantaro Flunks Again” by Sobei Amako, the story revolves around the adventures (and misadventures!) of the “Ninja Eggs” gang, Rantaro, Kirimaru, and Shinbei. They are the first grade students of the Ninja Academy, who aspire to be elite ninjas. Their teachers and senior grade ninjas also take part in their adventures as do their mortal enemies from the rival Ninja group of Dokutake – Poison Mushroom Castle.The film is a fast-paced, non-stop assault of crazy characters, humour and elaborate action set-pieces that must be seen to be believed! It also features a who’s-who of top Japanese comic actors.
For more details and the trailer, click here

Leonie (2010)
June 10, 7:00pm
Canadian Premiere
Director: Hisako Matsui
Writer: Masayo Duus (biography), Hisako Matsui (screenplay)
Produced by: Yuuki Itoh, Masao Nagai, Hisako Matsui
Genre: Biography, Drama
Stars: Emily Mortimer, Shidô Nakamura and Christina Hendricks
Release TypeCanadian Premiere
Summary: Set in the early 20th century, this is the true life story of Leonie Gilmour, an American editor and journalist, who falls in love with a famous Japanese poet, Yone Noguchi, and gives birth to a son: Isamu Noguchi, the world renowned sculptor and architect. For more details and the trailer, click here

Hatsumi – A Grandmother’s journey through Japanese Canadian Internment (2012)
June 11, 7:00pm
Director: Chris Hope
Writer: Chris Hope
Genre: Documentary
Summary:Japanese Canadian filmmaker Chris Hope’s stunning look at the internment of Canadians of Japanese ancestry through the experiences and diaries of his grandmother Nancy Hatsumi Okura. On a trip to the west coast locations of her internment Nancy opens up about her family’s war-time experiences for the first time.On their journey, Nancy’s story comes to life in vivid detail, leading grandmother and grandson through the Japanese-Canadian internment, across Canada and, unexpectedly, to Japan.For more details and the trailer, click here

Permanent Nobara (2010)
June 12, 7:00pm
Canadian Premiere
Director: Daihachi Yoshida
Writer: Rieko Saibara (manga), Satoko Okudera (screenplay)
Stars: Miho Kanno, Yosuke Eguchi and Mari Natsuki.
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Release TypeCanadian Premiere
SummaryPermanent Nobarais an utterly charming bittersweet romantic comedy based on popular manga artist Saibara Rieko’s manga series of the same title. As can be seen from his previous work, such as FUNUKE Show Some Love, You Losers! (Funukedomo, Kanashimi no Ai wo Misero), director Daihachi Yoshida ‘s films have a place for all sorts of lovable, quirky characters. For more details and the trailer, click here

Ending Note: Death of a Japanese Salaryman (2011)June 13, 7:00pm
Canadian Premiere
Director: Mami Sunada
Writer: Mami Sunada
Produced by: Hirokazu Kore-eda, Asako Nishikawa
Genre: Documentary
Release TypeCanadian Premiere
SummaryEnding Note: Death of a Japanese Salarymanis a powerful and emotional documentary from writer/director Mami Sunada. Sunada recorded the last months in the life of her father, Tomoaki Sunada, a typical Japanese ”salaryman” who had worked for over 40 years for the same company. Upon discovering he had terminal stage cancer soon shortly after his retirement, he decides to turn the preparations for his death into his final big project. The film has gained much attention and positive critical response both in Japan and on the international film festival circuit. For more details and the trailer, click here
Chronicle of My Mother (2011)
June 14, 7:00pm
Toronto Premiere
Director: Masato Harada
Writer: Yasushi Inoue (based on his autobiographical novel), Masato Harada (screenplay) < strong style="border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-style: inherit; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">Starring: Yakusho Koji, Kirin Kiki and Aoi Miyazaki
Genre: Drama
Release TypeToronto Premiere
Summary: Chronicle of My Mother is based on the novel by Yasushi Inoue and directed by Masato Harada(“Climber’s High”)Celebrated writer Igami harbors deep resentment toward his mother for abandoning him after the war. His father’s death casts responsibility for his mother on the family. As her dementia worsens, Kosaku must hold his family together and come to terms with the trauma of his abandonment.This exquisitely acted study won the Special Jury Prize at the Montreal International Film Festival and a Asian Film Festival best actor nomination for Yakusho Koji. For more details and the trailer, click here

Post Card (2011)
June 15 7:00pm
Canadian Premiere
Director: Kaneto Shindô
Writer: Kaneto Shindô (screenplay)>
Starring: Etsushi Toyokawa, Shinobu Ohtake, Naomasa Musaka, Akira Emoto
Genre: Drama
Release TypeCanadian Premiere
Summary: 99 year-old director Kaneto Shindo’s film, Postcard, was called the best film of 2011 by Kinema Jumpo magazine and was Japan’s nominee for the best foreign language Academy Award.
Based on the director’s own experiences, Postcard tells the tragic tale of a middle-aged soldier returning from fighting overseas in World War II. Believing he would never return alive from the front, his wife and family had moved on with their lives. Postcard also won the Grand Prize at the Mainichi Film Awards.
For more details and the trailer, click here

Friends After 3.11
June 21, 7:00pm CLOSING NIGHT
Director: Shunji Iwai
Genre: Documentary
Summary: In FRIENDS AFTER 3.11, director Shunji Iwai does more than simply turn his documentary lens on the devastated lives and countryside of the Tohoku region following the devastation of March 11, 2011. He asks the difficult questions: Where is Japan right now? How has the country been changed by what its people experienced? What are the chances of a radical rethink? For more details and the trailer, click here

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