Today, the 31st Montreal World Film Festival announced its programmation. The Festival, which will be held from August 23 to September 3, 2007, will offer 230 movie features and 215 shorts from 70 countries (including 53 world premieres (PM), 56 international premieres (PI), 59 North American premieres (PNA), and 42 Canadian premieres (PC))!
Unfortunately, there is very little Japanese movies at the festival this year: two in competition (COMP), one out of competition (HC), four in the “Focus On World Cinema” segment (REG) and one short:
KURO-OBI (Black Belt) (COMP) (PM) Japan / 2006 / 95 min / Dir.: Shunichi Nagasaki; Cast : Akihito Yagi, Tatsuya Naka, Yuji Suzuki, Takayasu Komiya, Yasuto Kosuda, Kenji Anan, Masahiro Sudo, Taro Suwa, Arashi Fukasawa, Narumi Konno. Set in the 1930s in Japan, three martial arts practitioners who are competing to inherit the mantle of their late master, are ordered to enlist in the military. Having no choice, the trio leave their dojo for an encounter with fate. Review.
OH-OKU (Oh-Oku, The Women Of The Inner Palace) (COMP) (PI) Japan / 2007 / 128 min / Dir.: Toru Hayashi; Cast : Yukie Nakama, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Haruka Igawa, Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Kaoru Sugita, Machiko Washio, Kaori Yamaguchi, Maki Kubota, Yuki Matsushita, Reiko Takashima. Set during the short reign of child Shogun Ietsugu Tokugawa, OH-OKU recounts the legendary power struggle between the young shogun's natural mother and his official wife, who must watch her stake in the bloodline. Review.
BIZAN (HC) (PNA) Japan / 2007 / 120 min / Dir.: Isshin Inudo; Cast : Nanako Matsushima, Takao Osawa, Nobuko Miyamata, Aya Enjoji, Tatsuo Yamada, Manami Kurose, Toshiyuki Nagashima, Takeo Nakahara, Ken Kaneko. A Tokyo travel agent who returns to her hometown when her mother is hospitalized for cancer discovers that the father she never met is not dead as her mother always claimed. She sets out to find him and perhaps re-unite the family before it is too late. Review.
DEAR FRIENDS (REG) (PI) Japan / 2007 / 115 min / Dir.: Kasuyuki Morosawa; Cast : Keiko Kitagawa,Yuika Motokariya, Masaya Kikawada, Airi Toriyama, Mao Sasaki, Hatsune Matsushima, Mantaro Koichi, Naoko Otani, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Ren Osugi; Prod. & Sales: Toei Company Ltd.
MAMIYA KYOUDAI (The Mamiya Brothers) (REG) (PNA) Japan / 2006 / 119 min / Dir.: Yoshimitsu Morita; Cast : Kuranosuke Sasaki, Muga Tsukaji, Miyuki Nakajima, Takako Tokiwa, Erika Sawajiri, Keiko Kitagawa, Hiromi Iwasaki, Ryuta Sato, Teppei Yokota, Koji Sato, Kenichi Katsura; Prod. & Sales: Yasushi Tsuge, Kazuko Misawa, Asmik Ace Entertainment, Inc.. The nerdy Mamiya brothers live in a comfortable Tokyo apartment, work 9-to-5 jobs and have done everything together for over thirty years. Everything but date girls. Which they've never done at all. They decide a curry-and-Monopoly party might kick-start their love lives... Review.
SAKURAN (REG) (PC) Japan / 2007 / 111 min / Dir.: Mika Ninagawa; Cast : Anna Tsuchiya, Kippei Narimiya, Yoshino Kimura, Miho Kanno, Masatoshi Nagase, Minami, Hiroshi Yamamoto; Prod.: Mitsuru Uda, Yoshinori Fujita, Asmik Ace Entertainment, Inc. An elegant red light district flourished in In 17th century Edo, as Tokyo was then known. SAKURAN tells the story of one woman living in the lustrous world who was determined to stand on her own two feet and live life as she pleased. Review.
TANA-NO-SUMI (The Dark Corners Of The Shelves) (REG) (PI) Japan / 2007 / 81 min / Dir.: Hajime Kadoi; Cast : Ren Osugi, Ryoko Uchida, Makiko Watanabe, Hideo Sakaki; Prod.: Kazuhiro Koike, Little Bird (Espero Keikaku). A woman comes into Yasuo's toy shop and, without a word, buys an old toy and leaves. The woman is Yoko, Yasuo's former wife who walked out on him and their son eight years ago... Review.
Grand Odyssey (REG - Short) (PNA) Japan - France / 2007 / 19 min / Dir.: Tomoyuki Kato; Cast : Yuzo Kayama, Natsumi Okumura. Review.
Check the festival's web site for more details. Bon festival!
See the full Event Report in Protoculture Addicts #96: 71.
See also our quick overview of the festival and our Picture Gallery.
[updated 2007/8/20 and 2008/5/13]