“True to its mandate, which is to encourage cultural diversity, to stimulate quality cinema, to discover and promote new talent, the Montreal World Film Festival presents a program that is more diverse and inclusive than ever, with pride of place to discovery even when offering a showcase to established artists. (...) The Festival team worked hard to find films off the beaten track, especially to offer young filmmakers an opportunity to show their talent.“
This year the festival is offering us twelve Japanese movies: nine features, two documentaries and one “rerun.” Of the twenty features from twenty-four countries that make up the World Competition section, three are Japanese. That's a much bigger Japanese selection than last year.
The World Competition [list]
- Akunin (Villain), 139 min., directed by Sang-Il LEE, Cast: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eri Fukatsu, Masaki Okada, Hikari Mitsushima, Kirin Kiki, Akira Emoto. A young insurance saleswoman is found strangled at Mitsuse Pass. Her family and friends are shocked. The pass — which tunnels through a mountainous region of southern Japan — has an eerie history... Schedule: 9/5, 21:30, TM.05.2; 9/5, 9:00, CI.05.1; 9/6, 16:30, CI.06.3.
- Box — Hakamada Jiken — Inochi Towa (Box: The Hakamada Case), 117 min., directed by TAKAHASHI Banmei, Cast: Masato Hagiwara, Hirofumi Arai, Riona Hazuki, Takeoni Murano, Naoki Hosaka, Ryo Ishibashi. Based on a criminal case in Japan in mid 1960s, the story centres on two men who was born in the same year; one is sentenced to death for murder and the other is the judge who believes his innocence.
Schedule: 9/2, 21:30, TM.02.1; 9/2, 9:00, CI.02.1; 9/3, 16:30, CI.03.4.
- Hisshiken Torisashi (Sword of Desperation), 114 min., directed by HIRAYAMA Hideyuki, Cast: Etsushi Toyokama, Chizuru Ikewari, Koji Kikkawa. During the Edo Period in Japan, Kanemi Sanzaemon, a skilled swordsman and chief of the Unasaka battles to rid his clan of political corruption.
Schedule: 8/27, 21:30, TM.27.1; 8/27, 9:00, CI.27.1; 8/28, 14:00, CI.28.3.
- Torocco (Rail Truck), Japan/Taiwan co-production, 116 min., directed by KAWAGUCHI Hirofumi. Cast: Machiko Ono, Kento Harada, Kyoichi Omae, Hong Liu, Chang Han, Wan Fan, Bryant Chang, Mei Fang. When Yumiko Yano travels with her sons, Atsushi and Toki, from her home in Tokyo to the Taiwanese village of her late husband, the boys discover a culture and a society that is alien to their Japanese existence.
Schedule: 9/2, 12:00, L10.02.2; 9/2, 19:00, L10.02.5; 9/4, 19:20, L10.28.3.
- Bushi no Kakeibo (Abacus and Sword), 120 min., directed by MORITA Yoshimitsu. Cast : Masato Sakai, Yukie Nakama, Keiko Matsuzaka, Masahito Nishimura, Masatoshi Makamura, Mitsuko Kusabue. In the Edo era, Japan was facing a period of upheaval. The great Tenpo famine of the 1830s and other developments have left the finances of the Kaga Domain in a precarious financial position...
Schedule: 8/30, 10:00, L12.30.1; 831, 21:30, C!.31.6; 9/1, 14:30, L12.01.3.
- Caterpillar (Le soldat-dieu), 85 min., directed by WAKAMATSU Koji. Cast : Shinobu Terajima, Shima Ohnishi, Ken Yoshizawa, Keigo Kasuya, Emi Masuda, Sabu Kawahara. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, in 1940, Lieutenant Kurokawa returns home as a honoured and decorated soldier, but deprived of his arms and leg, lost on the battlefield in mainland China.
Schedule: 9/2, 21:40, L17.02.5; 9/3, 14:50, L17.03.3; 9/4, 21:40, L17.04.6.
- Inshite Miru (The Incite Mill), 110 min., directed by NAKATA Hideo. Cast : Tatsuya Fujiwara, Haruka Ayase, Satomi Ishihara. Ten people respond to a preposterous job posting — a short term project promising to pay $1200 an hour. Sounds dodgy but the money is hard to resist.
Schedule: 9/2, 10:00, L15.02.1; 9/2, 21:40, L15.02.6; 9/5, 19:20, L16.05.5.
- Shitsuren Satsujin (Lost Love Murder), 100 min., directed by KUBOTA Shoji. Cast : Mao Miyaji, Yurei Yanagi, Ryuchi Ohura, Kinuo Yamada, Kouta Kusano, Mari Hoshino. Suichi is madly in love with his wife, but he suspects that she is unfaithful, and this gnawing jealousy leads to a bizarre murder.
Schedule: 9/2, 21:40, L16.02.6; 9/3, 10:00, L17.03.1; 9/4, 12:10, L16.04.2.
- Suito Rituru Raizu (Sweet Little Lies), 117 min., directed by YAZAKI Hitoshi. Cast : Miki Nakatani, Nao Omori, Chizuru Ikewaki, Junichi Kobayashi. Ruriko, an artist, has been married to Satoshi for three years and on the surface their marriage seems ideal. In fact, however, they have been gradually growing distant.
Schedule: 8/29, 14:50, L10.29.3; 8/30, 19:20, L12.30.5; 9/1, 10:00, L9.01.1; 9/5, 21:40, L16.05.6.
- Dancing Chaplin, 131 min., directed by SUO Masayuki. A filmed record of the Roland Petit’s well- known ballet but also a union of dance and film that reflects the serendipitous meeting of the great talents of Chaplin, Petit and Japanese director Masayuki Suo.
Schedule: 9/3, 12:10, L15.03.2; 9/4, 21:21, L15.04.6; 9/5, 17:00, L15.05.4.
- Umareru (Being Born), 8 min., directed by TOMO. Junichi, an emergency medical technician, and his wife Takako, a nurse, who work with life and death daily, now want a new life of their own, a baby.
Schedule: 8/28, 12:30, L14.28.2; 8/28, 19:20, L14.28.5; 8/29, 14:20, L14.29.3; 8/30, 17:30, L14.30.4.
- Shall We Dance (1996), 120 min., directed by SUO Masayuki. Cast: Koji Yakusho, Tamiyo Kusakari, Naoto Takenaka. A workaholic’s dull life takes a funny turn when he signs up for a ballroom dance class – just to meet the sexy dance teacher. But when he finally goes for lessons, he winds up with a different instructor and her colourfully eccentric class of beginners.
Schedule: 9/3, 20:30, Outdoor on Place des Festivals.
Here is the video of the programming press conference (34:23 min.):
The schedule [PDF] is now available online [ Part 1, Part 2, Index ]
I've made a calendar to help visualize the time and location of all the Japanese movies' screenings. What were they thinking: putting eight screenings of Japanese movies on the same day (Sept. 2nd)?
I've also made a nice, printable PDF file gathering all the useful information from the festival guide.
For the first time in years the MWFF has put in advance on their web site a list of the upcoming press conferences.
More details and links will be added as the information become available. [Updated 08/11 (more details & links), 08/21 (schedule, better description & link's icon), 08/22 (calendar), 08/24 (FFM web links, Google links, PDF), 08/27 (link for press conferences list), 08/31 (icon & link press conference), 9/04 (programming press conference video), 9/09 (more press conferences video links)]
[I have updated the “MWFF 2009 Overview” blog entry with a few corrections, links and new logos for some links. More update to come. Please have a look!]