Saturday, August 09, 2014

Japanese movies at the MWFF 2014

In a press conference last tuesday, the Montreal World Film Festival announced the programming of its 38th edition, which will be held from August 21st to September 1st. The festival will present 350 films including 160 feature-length movies (of which 100 will be world or international premieres, and 32 North American premieres), and 190 short films. 51 of those fiction features-length movies will be first features (the first film of its director), of which 19 will be in competition. It is less than the previous years but this rich selection from 74 countries is nevertheless quite a feat considering that the festival has been denied nearly one million dollars in subsidies this year! (On this subject, see my post [in french] “Le FFM se prépare à une 38e année difficile”). For more programming details, please read my post “Programmation FFM 2014” [in french] or check the full press release on the festival web site.

The World Film Festival of Montreal will take place from August 21st to September 1st 2014, at the Imperial (1430 Bleury - Metro Place des Arts) and Quartier Latin (350 rue Emery - Berri-UQAM) theatres. Tickets will be available from August 16 at noon at the offices of the Imperial (CI) and the Latin Quarter (QL) theatres, and ticketing networks from August 22. Individual tickets are $ 10, Passports are $ 100 and Cinephile Card is $ 250. Booklets of 10 coupons redeemable against individual tickets are available for $ 70. More details on the festival website:

This year the festival is offering us eleven twelve Japanese features movies and three five short films: two feature films [and one short film] in the “World competition” category, three in “Out of competition”, five feature films and three four shorts in the “Focus on World Cinema” [all those short films are conveniently shown together] and one two feature films in the “Tribute to Michael J. Werner” [there's another movie shown as a tribute to Alain Resnais]. There are no Japanese movies this year in “First Films World Competition”, “Documentary” or the “International selection of the Student Film Festival” categories.

At the press conference announcing the festival's programming, Serge Losique reiterated his love for Japanese cinema. He tells us that Japan is one of the most film-loving countries in the world and has given us lots of great filmmakers (especially Akira Kurosawa). He tells us also that a Japanese film in competition this year will be accompanied by a host of top Japanese actors. The delegation for this film will include forty-five people, in addition to numerous representatives of Japanese media (from five television stations and eight newspapers)! [You can see the clip of Losique talking Japanese cinema from 1:05 to 2:00 mins on the press conference video that I posted on Vimeo and on my “Programmation FFM 2014” post [in french]]

More information on the festival's japanese movies can be found on the Facebook page of the Canada-Japan Cultural Exchange magazine, Coco-Montreal.

Update [2014-08-15]: The schedule for the 2014 Montreal World Film Festival is now available on the festival web site [as a downloadable PDF file]!

Update [2014-08-20]: Details on each of the Japanese movies shown at the festival are now available on the festival's web site.

After the jump, you will find a list of all the Festival's Japanese movies with description [taken from the festival's program] and supplemental links (more details and links will be added as the information become available):

The World Competition

  • Cape Nostalgia (ふしぎな岬の物語 / Fushigina Misaki no Monogatari / The Tale Of A Cape): Japan, 2014, 117 min; Dir.: Izuru Narushima; Scr.: (based on Akio Morisawa novel); Prod.: Sayuri Yoshinaga; Cast: Sayuri Yoshinaga (Etsuko), Hiroshi Abe (Koji), Yuko Takeuchi, Tsurube Shofukutei, Takashi Sasano, Eiko Koike, Shota Shunputei, Arata, Takeo Nakahara, Renji Ishibashi.
    “Etsuko Kashiwagi runs the Cape Café in a peaceful little town looking across the sea to distant Mt Fuji. It is the town's favourite meeting place, where farmers, fishermen, hospital workers, clergy, and even the occasional police officer, gather to taste Etsuko's special brew and trade gossip. The two most important things in Etsuko's life are her jack-of-all-trades nephew Koji and the spring water she brings every day from a small island nearby. In every cup Etsuko brews is a prayer for the well-being of her customers, and coffee at her café is an uplifting experience for all. Koji is 45, and devoted to Etsuko, who lives in a shack beside her café. He is hot-tempered, quick to jump to conclusions and a bit of a troublemaker. The winds of change have started to blow through the placid existence of the Cape Café.” (from the Festival's press release)

    Schedule: Fri 8/29 9:00 CI; Fri 8/29 19:00 CI; Sat 8/30 14:00 CI.

  • The light shines only there (そこのみにて光輝く / Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku): Japan, 2014, 120 min.; Dir.: Mipo O; Scr.: Ryo Takada (based on the novel by Yasushi Sato); Cast: Gou Ayano, Chizuru Ikewaki, Masaki Suda, Hiroko Isayama, Taijiro Tamura, Kazuya Takahashi, Shohei Hino.
    “ Tatsuo has given up working and is idling his life away. One day at a Pachinko parlour, he gets to know a coarse but friendly young man, Takuji. Tatsuo accepts Takuji's invitation and follows him home, which turns out to be a rundown, isolated house. It is here that Tatsuo meets Takuji's older sister, Chinatsu. They feel a quick mutual attraction and become close, but Chinatsu's life is difficult as she struggles to support her family. Even so, Tatsuo remains steadfast in his love for Chinatsu, and his unwavering feelings begin to sway her. Since finding a connection with Chinatsu, Tatsuo's reality quietly begins to regain its colour…” (from the Festival's press release)

    Schedule: Sun 8/31 9:00 CI; Sun 8/31 19:00 CI; Mon 9/01 14:00 CI.

The World Competition -- Short Films

  • Kemukujara: Japan, 2014, 13 min.; Dir.: Akihito Nonowe, Isao Sano, Konoka Takashiro. No dialogue. First episode of the stop motion experimental animation Keblujara. [Facebook]

    Schedule: Wed 8/27 9:00 CI; Wed 8/27 19:00 CI; Thu 8/28 14:00 CI.

World Great (Out of Competition)

  • Our family (ぼくたちの家族 / Bokutachi no Kazoku): Japan, 2014, 117 min.; Dir.: Yuya Ishii; Cast: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Mieko Harada, Sosuke Ikematsu, Kyozo Nagatsuka, Mei Kurokawa, Yusuke Santamaria, Shingo Tsurumi, Yuka Itaya, Mikako Ichikawa.
    The emotional journey of a four-member family that fails to recognize that it is rapidly growing apart until the mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    Schedule: Sun 8/24 11:30 QL15; Mon 8/25 21:30 QL15; Tue 8/26 14:10 QL15.

  • A drop of the grapevine (ぶどうのなみだ / Budou no namida / lit. “Tears of Grapes”): Japan, 2014, 117 min.; Dir. & Scr.: Yokiko Mishima; Cast: Yo Oizumi (Ao), Shota Sometani (Roku), Yuko Ando (Erika), Tomorowo Taguchi, Tomoya Maeno, Lily, Kitaro,
    Ren Osugi, Kyoko Enami.
    In Hokkaido, Ao grows grapes for wine while his younger brother, Roku, tends to the wheat field inherited from their father. Then a mysterious women enters their lives.

    Schedule: Sat 8/30 11:40 QL16; Sat 8/30 19:00 QL16; Sun 8/31 14:20 QL16.

  • A courtesan with flowered skin (花宵道中 / Hanayoi dochu): Japan, 2014, 102 min; Dir.: Keisuke Toyoshima; Cast: Yumi Adachi (Asagiri), Yasushi Fuchikami (Hanjiro), Ena Koshino, Yoko Mitsuya, Hanako Takigawa, Ayano Tachibana, Saki Takaoka, Tomochika, Kanji Tsuda.
    In 1860s Japan, popular courtesan Asagiri is about to be freed from her indentured service. One day at a local festival she meets a young artisan, Hanjiro, an encounter that changes her destiny.

    Schedule: Thu 8/28 10:00 QL15; Thu 8/28 19:00 QL15; Fri 8/29 17:00 QL15.

Focus on World Cinema

  • Fly, Dakota, Fly! (飛べ! ダコタ / Tobe! Dakota): Japan, 2014, 109 min; Dir.: Seiji Aburatani; Scr.: Kuniho Yasui, Naoyuki Tomomatsu; Phot.: Shigeru Komatsubara; Prod.: Kiyoshi Mizuno; Cast: Manami Higa, Masataka Kubota, Akira Emoto, Yoriko Douguchi, Kumi Nakamura, Miyoko Yoshimoto, Yukijiro Hotaru, Yukiyo Sono, Minoru Sawatari, Mark Chinnery, Dean Newcombe, Toshiki Ayata, Bengal.
    January 1946. A British military plane carrying diplomats makes a crash landing on the beach in a small village on a remote Japanese island. The pilots need help but the locals were enemies just half a year ago.

    Schedule: Sat 8/30 13:00 QL15; Sat 8/30 21:30 QL15; Sun 8/31 17:00 QL15.

  • Blossom bloom (サクラサク / Sakura saku): Japan, 2014, 107 min.; Dir.: Mitsutoshi Tanaka; Scr.: Masashi Sada (based on his short story), Eriko Komatsu; Phot.: Takeshi Hamada; Prod.: Norihisa Ohara, Ryosuke Otani; Cast: Naoto Ogata (Shunsuke Osaki), Kaho Minami (Akiko), Tatsuya Fuji (Shuntaro), Karen Miyama, Masato Yano.
    With a highly paid job, a beautiful wife, and two independent teenage kids, not to mention his own father living with him at home, Shunkuze, 47, seems to have it all. But appearances can be deceiving.

    Schedule: Fri 8/22 19:20 QL12; Sat 8/23 11:40 QL12; Sun 8/24 16:40 QL12.

  • A sparkle of life (Sansan): Japan, 2014, 81 min.; Dir.: Bunji Satoyama; Phot.: Shogo Ueno; Ed.: Hitomi Katô; Mus.: Sayaka Asaoka, Asuka Matsumoto; Cast: Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Akira Takarada, Natsue Hyakumoto, Michiyo Miyata, Kanami Tagawa, Masatake Takei, Kei Takushima, Kazuko Tauchi, Yoichi Toyama, Toshiko Tsumura, Gaku Yamamoto.
    Lonely after the death of her husband, whom she nursed for years, 77 year-old Tae Tsurumoto decides to find a new life partner. Her family and friends try to dissuade her.

    Schedule: Wed 8/27 19:20 QL14; Thu 8/28 12:30 QL14; Fri 8/29 14:10 QL14.

  • One third (サンブンノイチ / Sanbun no ichi): Japan, 2014, 119 min.; Dir.: Hiroshi Shinagawa; Scr.: Hiroshi Shinagawa (based on a novel by Hanta Kinoshita); Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Koki Tanaka, Ryuichi Kosugi, Mika Nakashima, Yosuke Kubozuka, Shinnosuke Ikehata, Ryo Kimura, Sho Aikawa, Mitsu Dan, Ayumi Shimozono.
    Three small-time crooks desperate to turn their lives around manage to pull off a successful bank hit in broad daylight. But they aren't the only ones after the loot.

    Schedule: Fri 8/22 14:30 QL15; Sat 8/23 21:50 QL15; Mon 8/25 10:00 QL15.

  • Tokyo: The city of glass (東京〜ここは、硝子の街〜 / Tôkyô: Koko wa Glass no Machi): Japan, 2014, 100 min.; Dir.: Kazuhiro Teranishi; Scr.: Oroba Irie & Kazuhiro Teranishi; Phot.: Shigeru Iwamatsu; Ed.: Kumiko Arai; Mus.: Naoto Okabe; Cast: Atsushi Kimura, JK, Tomoko Nakajima.
    A graduate student who runs a bar in Shinjuku N-chome, Tokyo's gay district, meets a Korean man and falls in love, but a 20-year-old homicide case makes this more than a love story.

    Schedule: Fri 8/22 19:00 QL15; Sat 8/23 10:00 QL15; Sun 8/24 14:00 QL15.

Focus on World Cinema -- Short Films

  • All He Knows Right: Japan, 2014, 5 min.; Dir.: Akihito Nonowe, Isao Sano, Konoka Takashiro. No dialogue. Second episode of the stop motion experimental animation Keblujara. [Facebook]
  • No return on perishables (Koi ha kangaeruna, ai ha kanjiro): Japan, 2014, 18 min.; Dir.: Takatsugu Naito.
  • Suicide volunteers (Tokko Shigan): Japan, 2014, 25 min.; Dir.: Kenshow Onodera. [IMDb]
  • When the sun falls (Hi-wa-ochiru): Japan, 2014, 39 min.; Dir.: Yuji Kakizaki. [IMDb]

    All four shorts are shown together:
    Schedule: Tue 8/26 21:40 QL13; Wed 8/27 16:20 QL13.


  • Norwegian wood (ノルウェイの森 / Noruwei no mori): Japan, 2010, 128 min.; Dir.: Tran Anh Hung; Scr.: Haruki Murakami (based on his novel) & Anh Hung Tran; Phot.: Pin Bing Lee; Prod.: Chihiro Kameyama, Shinji Ogawa; Cast: Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kiko Mizuhara, Tetsuji Tamayama, Kengo Kora, Reika Kirishima, Eriko Hatsune, Tokio Emoto, Shigesato Itoi, Haruomi Hosono, Yukihiro Takahashi. Shown as part of the tribute to Michael J. Werner.
    Tokyo, the late 1960s. Students around the world are uniting to overthrow the establishment and Toru Watanabe’s personal life is similarly in tumult.

    Schedule: Sat 8/30 21:30 QL12; Sun 8/31 16:10 QL12.

  • Tôkyô Sonata (トウキョウソナタ): Japan, 2008, 119 min.; Dir.: Kiyoshi Kurosawa; Scr.: Max Mannix, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Sachiko Tanaka; Phot.: Akiko Ashizawa; Ed.: Kôichi Takahashi; Mus.: Kazumasa Hashimoto; Cast: Kazumasa Hashimoto, Kyoko Koizumi, Kai Inowaki, Yu Koyanagi, Koji Yakusho, Haruka Igawa. Shown as part of the tribute to Michael J. Werner.
    An ordinary Japanese family slowly disintegrates after its patriarch loses his job at a prominent company, then detours into the comic, the macabre and the sublime.

    Schedule: Thu 8/28 16:30 QL12; Fri 8/29 16:30 QL12.

  • Hiroshima mon amour (二十四時間の情事 / Nijūyojikan no jōji / lit. "Twenty-four-hour affair"): France / Japan, 1959, 90 min.; Dir.: Alain Resnais; Scr.: Marguerite Duras; Phot.: Michio Takahashi, Sacha Vierny; Mus.: Georges Delerue, Giovanni Fusco; Cast: Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Bernard Fresson, Stella Dassas, Pierre Barbaud.
    A French actress filming an anti-war film in Hiroshima has an affair with a married Japanese architect as they share their differing perspectives on war.

    Schedule: Sat 8/30 19:20 QL11.

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