Toronto JFF FILMS 2013

 

Photo Credit: Tenchi; ©2012 TENCHI: The Samurai Astronomer Film Partners

TitleTenchi – The Samurai Astronomer 天地明察
Director: Yojiro Takita
Writer: Tow Ubukata (novel), Masato Kato
Stars: Junichi Okada, Aoi Miyazaki, Kiichi Nakai
Genre: Historical Drama
Release Type: Canadian Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 141 min
Summary: In Oscar-winner Yojiro (Departures) Takita’s light-hearted historical tale, young samurai Santetsu is an avid astronomer with a passion for go and mathematical puzzles. So when he is asked to devise a new calendar – a task which involves charting the stars across the length and breadth of Japan – he throws himself into the project with gusto.However, the idea of a new calendar and the ideological change it could bring poses a threat to certain powerful figures in society, who seek to hamper Santetsu’s progress. With the stakes continually rising, will he be able to complete his calendar – or will he run out of time? Based on the award-winning novel by Ubukata Tow. Starring Junichi Okada, Aoi Miyazaki, Ryuta Sato. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleRent-a-Cat  レンタネコ
Director: Naoko Ogigami
Writer:  Naoko Ogigami
Stars: Mikako Ichikawa, Kei Tanaka
Genre: Comedy
Release Type: Canadian Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 110 min
Summary: This gentle, whimsical comedy by director Naoko Ogigami (Kamome Shokudo, Megane) celebrates self-discovery explores the importance of finding companionship, both human and otherwise. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleHelter Skelter ヘルタースケルター
Director:Mika Ninagawa
Writer: Kyoko Okazaki(manga), Arisa Kaneko
Stars: Erika Sawajiri, Kaori Momoi, Kiko Mizuhara, Kozue Yoshikawa, Mieko Harada and Shinobu Terajima
Genre: Suspense Drama
Release Type: North American Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 127 min
Summary: In this wildly over-the-top and unique piece of sensationally visual cinema, dangerously beautiful superstar model LiLiCo has the world at her feet. She also has a secret: she owes her entire ‘perfect’ body to plastic surgery. When a naturally gorgeous new talent arrives on the scene, LiLiCo’s reign is threatened – but this is just a precursor to her startling physical and psychological collapse. Erika Sawajiri’s controversial and terrifying central performance was nominated for a Japanese Academy Award prize. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleDirty Hearts 汚れた心
Director: Vicente Amorim
Writer: David França Mendess
Stars: Tsuyoshi Ihara, Eiji Okuda and Takako Tokiwa
Genre: Historical Drama
Release Type: Encore presentation
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 107 min
Summary: It is 1946. But in Brazil the war is not over. Believing it to be merely Allied propaganda, a right-wing terrorist death squad is hunting down Brazilian-Japanese community members who acknowledge Japan’s defeat. Vicente Amorim’s brilliant thriller Dirty Hearts was one of Brazil’s most popular and celebrated films of last year. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleRuroni Kenshin るろうに剣心
Director: Keishi Ohtomo
Writer: Nobuhiro Watsuki(manga), Kiyomi Fujii (screenplay), Keishi Ohtomo (screenplay)
Stars: Takeru Sato, Emi Takei, Yu Aoi, Eiji Okuda and Teruyuki Kagawa
Genre: Action, manga, romance
Release Type: Canadian Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 134 min
Summary: Set in 1868, Keishi Otomo’s massively popular adaptation of a Meiji-era manga series follows former legendary assassin Kenshin Himura who has now become a wandering masterless samurai (ronin) offering aid and protecting those in need as atonement for his past deeds.During this time he comes across and aides Kaoru Kamiya (her father opened the Kamiya Kasshin-ryu, a kendo school located in Tokyo) and Kaoru is now an instructor there. Kaoru invites Kenshin to stay at her dojo. Their relationship develops further, but Kenshin is still haunted by his violent past and an outlandish collection of villains he must defeat.    For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleTokyo Family 東京家族
Director: Yoji Yamada
Writer: Yoji Yamada, Emiko Hiramatsu
Stars: Yu Aoi, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Yui Natsukawa
Genre: Drama
Release Type: Canadian Premiere
Year of Release: 2013
Film Length: 146 min
Summary: This homage and update of Tokyo Story by Yasujiro Ozu also celebrates Yoji Yamada ’s 50th anniversary as a director. As in the original film an old married couple leaves their idyllic island home on the Seto Inland Sea to visit their three grown children in Tokyo.  For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleBEING BORN  うまれる
Director: Tomo Goda
Writer: Tomo Goda
Genre: Documentary
Release Type: Toronto Premiere
Year of Release: 2010
Film Length: 104 min
Summary: Umareru (Being Born) is Tomo Goda’s heartbreakingly beautiful documentary on the trails and joys of four Japanese families and their experience with birth.
One couple struggles to come to grips with becoming parents because of their own childhood experience with parental abuse and strife. A couple lose their child on the day of delivery, while another couple has accepted a childless life after struggling overcome infertility. A fourth couple pour there love and their lives into raising an infant with an incurable disability. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleThe Life of Budori Gusuko グスコーブドリの伝記
Director: Gisaburo Sugii
Writer: Kenji Miyazawa
Genre: Family / Animation
Release Type: North American Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 108 min
Summary: Directed by Gisaburo Sugii and based on the classic fairy tale by Kenji Miyazawa, this charming and beautiful anime 2012 film will be enjoyed by the whole family. Budori Gusuko lives peacefully with his parents and younger sister in the Ihatobu forest but the arrival of an endless winter that snatches his family away from him. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleReunion  遺体 ~明日への十日間
Director: Ryochi Kimizuka
StarsNishida Toshiyuki, Ogata Naoto, Katsuji Ryo, Kunimura Jun, Sakai Wakana, Sato Koichi
Genre: 3.11 Drama
Release Type: Toronto Premiere
Year of Release: 2013
Film Length: 105 min
Summary:Based Kota Ishii non-fiction account, Ryochi Kimizuka’s Reunion chronicles a city’s attempt to deal with an overwhelming number of victims in the wake of the March 11 tsunami.The movies movingly depicts a middle-school turned temporary morgue in Kamaishi City and the city workers, doctors and volunteers who dealt with the victims, identifying the remains and returning them to their bereaved families. The focus is on Aiba (Toshiyuki Nishida), a retired funeral-home employee who dedicates himself to bringing dignity to the treatment of the deceased as the enormity of the catastrophe gradually becomes apparent – half the town has been swept away. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleThe Millennial Rapture 千年の愉楽
Director: Koji Wakamatsu
Writer: Kenji Nakagami
Stars: Shinobu Terajima, Shirô Sano, Kengo Kôra, Sôsuke Takaoka and Shôta Sometani
Genre: Drama
Release Type: Toronto Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 118 min
Summary:The Millennial Rapture is acclaimed maverick director Koji Wakamatsu’s final film. He was tragically killed in a Tokyo traffic accident shortly after returning from the film’s Venice Film Festival premiere.Adapted from Kenji Nakagami ‘s 1982 bestseller Sennen no Yuraku, the story is set in a small, isolated coastal village where Oryu, a midwife, has spent a lifetime watching its people being born, growing up, living and dying. As old age catches up with her, she begins to converse with the souls of the dead, particularly those of the beautiful sons of the”noble but unholy” Nakamoto Clan.For more details about the movie, click here.

 

Photo Credit: Key of Life: ©2012 “Key of Life” Film Partners

TitleKEY OF LIFE 鍵泥棒のメソッド
Director: Kenji Uchida
Writer: Kenji Uchida
Stars: Masato Sakai, Teruyuki Kagawa and Ryoko HirosueGenre: Comedy
Release Type: TIFF Encore Presentation
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 128 min
Summary: Winner of the Japanese Academy Award for Best Screenplay, Kenji Uchida ‘s screwball comedy tells the story of a failed actor who switches identities with a stranger in bath house accident — only to find himself filling the shoes of a ruthless underworld assassin. The killer, suffering amnesia from the encounter, applies himself to learning the actor’s method. Touching, brilliantly plotted and simply hilarious.  For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleThe Samurai That Night その夜の侍
Director: Masaaki Akahori
Writer: Masaaki Akahori
Stars: Masato Sakai, Takayuki Yamada, Hirofumi Arai and Sakura Ando
Genre: Drama
Release Type: Toronto Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 119 min
Summary: Stage actor-director Masaaki Akahori turns film director with this adaptation of one of his own best plays. The ‘samurai’ of the title is Kenichi Nakamura, manager of a small ironworks foundry, who is obsessed with the idea of
avenging his wife, killed in a hit-and-run incident five years earlier. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

Photo Credit: Terminal Trust ©2012 Fuji Television Network, Toho, Altamira Pictures

TitleA Terminal Trust 終の信託
Director:  Masayuki Suo
Writer: Masayuki Suo
Stars: Tamiyo Kusakari, Koji Yakusho, Tadanobu Asano, Takao Osawa
Genre: Drama
Release Type: Toronto Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 144 min
Summary: Masayuki Suos’ 2012 film reunites his Shall We Dance cast for a beautiful and thought-provoking drama about the relationship between a doctor and her terminally ill patient. After a failed attempt at suicide, Dr. Orii finds herself in an intense doctor/patient relationship with chronic asthma sufferer Shinzo, and her empathy towards him sparks an emotional connection. Realizing that his life is coming to an end, Shinzo makes a solemn request, leaving Dr Orii faced with a decision that could have profound effects on both Shinzo’s life and her own. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleJapan in a Day  ジャパンインアデイ
Director: Philip Martin and Gaku Narita
Genre: Documentary
Release Type: Canadian Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 91 min
Summary: Sunday 11 March 2012 marked the first anniversary of the catastrophic 3.11 eathquake and tsunami. To commemorate the tragedy, Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions and Fuji TV asked people across Japan to pick up a camera and capture something about their day. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleCasting Blossoms to the Sky この空の花 - 長岡花火物語
Director: Nobuhiko Obayash
Writer: Nobuhiko Obayash
Stars: Yasuko Matsuyuki, Masahiro Takashima, Natsuki Harada, Minami Inomata
Genre: Drama
Release Type: Toronto Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 160 min
Summary: Nobuhiko (House) Obayashi’s dizzyingly fast-paced semi-documentary-drama tells the story of the Nagaoka fireworks festival, a remembrance of the 1945 air raid which serves as a symbol of peace and hope. For more details about the movie, click here.

Photo Credit: FLY with the Gold © 2012 avex entertainment Inc. / nkt Entertainment inc. / Happinet Corporation / EISEI GEKIJO Co., Ltd. / Memory-Tech Corporation / DENTSU INC. / Yahoo Japan Corporation / PIA CORPORATION All Rights Reserved

TitleFLY WITH THE GOLD 黄金を抱いて翔べ
Director: Kazuyuki Izutsu
Writer: Kaoru Takamura, Yasuhiro Yoshida, Kazuyuki Izutsu
Stars: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Tadanobu Asano, Kenta Kiritani
Genre: Crime
Release Type: North American Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 129 min
Summary: Based on Kaoru Takamura’s best-selling novel, Kazuyuki Izutsu’s popular 2012 thriller finds a pair of former college mates embarking on a daring 1.5 billion yen gold bar heist from the HQ of Sumita Bank. Their 6 man team also includes and explosives expert, the bank security guard, a former elevator engineer and a North Korean spy (played by Korean pop superstar Chang-min of TVXQ)! For more details about the movie, click here.

Photo Credit: Floating Castle ©2011 “The Floating Castle” Film Partners

TitleThe Floating Castle のぼうの城
Director: Isshin Inudo ,Shinji Higuchi
Writer: Ryo Wada
Stars: Tamiyo Kusakari, Koji Yakusho, Tadanobu Asano, Takao Osawa
Genre: Samurai Drama
Release Type: Toronto Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 144 min
Summary: Adapted from the best-selling novel by Wada Ryo and based on true events, Floating Castle is an epic samurai action-comedy packed with wonderfully over-the-top characters, beautiful visuals and spectacular battle sequences. In 1590, powerful daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi nears his plan to unify all of Japan, but he comes across a floating fortress known as Oshi Castle. The good-hearted but inept Narita Nagachika and his 500 men (plus one warrior princess) must protect the “floating castle” against Hideyoshi’s vast army of 20,000. For more details about the movie, click here.

 

TitleThe Kirishima Thing 桐島、部活やめるってよ
Director: Daihachi Yoshida
Writer: Ryo Asai (novel), Kohei Kiyasu, Daihachi Yoshida
Stars: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Ai Hashimoto, Shizuka Ohgo and Masahiro Higashide
Genre: Drama
Release Type: Canadian Premiere
Year of Release: 2012
Film Length: 103 min
Summary: Winner of the Japanese Academy Award for Best Film of the Year and Best Director, Daihachi Yoshida’s deceptively simple, but poignant story explores the human geography and intense hierarchies of Japanese high school as they descend into turmoil by the disappearance of the unseen character Kirishima. For more details about the movie, click here.