—Tsukiyama Speaking in Tongues
Tsukiyama Shuu Speaking in Tongues
- Ravissant (Delightful!). See you later, Kaneki-kun.
- Merci beaucoup.
- Be cool.
- Monsieur Savarin—
- Tschüss (Bye-bye), Kaneki-kun!
- Kaneki-kun, bon appétit!
- …in a maestoso (majestic, dignified) location, with Kaneki-kun reaching a crescendo*, until at last I… fortissimo*.
- Bonsoir, mademoiselle.
- …I was eighteen.
- Très bien!
- Such an unexpected hors d’oeuvre*!
* These are actually accepted loan words, according to my dictionary, but I left them in for the dramatic effect. I made note of the others he uses (not in the sound file) which you can find under the cut.
The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival launches in just over two weeks and lasts from September 04th to September 14th. As is usually the case, the line-up of films is impressive. I don’t know how Toronto does it but every year they get a selection of great Japanese films. This year there are four films I desperately want to see from three directors I love. Well, three – Sion Sono, Shinya Tsukamoto, and Takashi Miike. All of them have been or are released this year and all from the top end of Japanese commercial cinema. Here are the films:
Taking part in the Vanguard Category, a place where the films are described as ‘provocative, sexy… possibly dangerous’, are two films which fit the bill perfectly.
Japanese Title: 渇き
Running Time: 118 mins
Release Date: June 27th, 2014 (Japan)
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima
Writer: Tetsuya Nakashima (Screenplay), Akio Fukamachi (Novel),
Starring: Koji Yakusho, Nana Komatsu, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Joe Odagiri, Fumi Nikaido, Ai Hashimoto, Miki Nakatani, Jun Kunimura, Asuka Kurosawa,
This is my most anticipated film of the year. I went ape over the trailer when it was released a couple of months ago and I couldn’t contain my excitement when it got its release in June and blathered on about it at length.
The quality of the cast and staff are high. The guy in the director’s chair is Tetsuya Nakashima who was the director of school-drama Confessions (2010), Kamikaze Girls (2004), and Memories of Matsuko (2006). He was also slated to direct the live-action Attack on Titan film, but I think he did the right thing and bugged out to do this movie. The film stars awesome actors like Koji Yakusho (Cure,The Woodsman & the Rain), Satoshi Tsumabuki (Judge!, For Love’s Sake), Fumi Nikaido (Himizu, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?) and Ai Hashimoto (The Kirishima Thing, Another).
The trailer is very, very impressive with a lot of action and visual flare but it is also spoilery and I have managed to avoid watching it more than twice since it premiered. I’m also keeping the plot synopsis vague to avoid giving anything away. The festival website is just as vague.
This is getting a release in the west thanks to Third Window Films and people in North America can see it on the big screen at Toronto!
An alcoholic ex-detective named Showa Fujishima (Yakusho) investigates the disappearance of his teenage daughter Kanako (Komatsu), a girl who seemed to be a model student. What he finds leads him into a disturbing situation…
Japanese: 喰女 －クイメー
Release Date: August 23rd, 2014 (Japan)
Running Time: 90 mins.
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Kikumi Yamagishi (Screenplay), Tsuruya Nanboku IV (Original Kabuki Play)
Starring: Ebizo Ichikawa, Kou Shibasaki, Hideaki Ito Miho Nakanishi, Maiko, Toshie Negishi, Koichi Sato, Hiroshi Katsuno, Toshiaki Karasawa, Kenichi Hagiwara, Kei Sato,
Takashi Miike gets his latest film released and it is in an update of Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan, a kabuki play by Tsuruya Nanboku IV. The new script sees a group of modern thespians bringing to life the play and finding their lives imitating the fiction they are portraying. The film stars kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa and Kou Shibasaki, the star of Miike’s J-horror film One Missed Call (2004). The great thing about the film is that it looks to be in the mould of traditional J-horror films thanks to the yurei and the emphasis on atmosphere.
Kosuke Hasegawa (Ichikawa) and his lover Miyuki Goto (Shibasaki) are both cast in a new stage version of the play “Yotsuya Kaidan” which is a ghost story about a man under a family curse that ensures that any relationship with a woman will end in betrayal, supernatural vengeance, and murder. They are both in the lead roles, Kosuke playing the philandering Iemon and Miyuki playing the tragic Oiwa. It seems that fact mirrors fiction as Kosuke is a faithless lover who cheats on Miyuki with other actresses in the same play. Perhaps it is this which makes it hard for Miyuki to separate herself from the character she is portraying as she slowly becomes filled with love, anger and hate. As the two get more involved with the play, reality and fiction become one…
Wavelengths is considered the place for ‘Daring, visionary and autonomous voices. Films that expand our notions of cinema.’ That sounds perfect for Shinya Tsukamoto and his newest film:
Japanese Title: 野火
Release Date: N/A
Running Time: 87 mins.
Director: Shinya Tsukamoto
Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto (Screenplay), Shohei Ooka (Original Novel)
Starring:Shinya Tsukamoto, Lily Franky, Tatsuya Nakamura, Yuko Nakamura, Dean Newcombe,
Shinya Tsukamoto takes his latest film to Venice and then to Toronto in September. I wrote about it last week and how it may have trouble finding an audience and so appearances in film festivals like this grants it wider exposure and allows cinephiles a chance to see something interesting from a unique filmmaker. Fires on the Plain is based upon the 1951 Yomiuri Prize-winning novel of the same name and that was then adapted into a film in 1959 by Kon Ichikawa. It took Tsukamoto 20 years to bring his adaptation of the film to the screen. it looks like it will star the director, Shinya Tsukamoto, who surrounds himself with interesting actors like Yuko Nakamura Kotoko (2011) and Lily Franky, Judge! (2014) and Like Father, Like Son (2013). I’m very interested in seeing what he does in the film. No trailer yet, so here are pictures.
The film Fires on the Plain follows a demoralised Japanese army in the Philippines. We see how bad things are for the Japanese troops through the desperate struggle of a conscript named Tamura who is sick with TB and forced into the field by a commander who cannot waste resources on a dying man. Tamura doesn’t want to give up so easily and clings to life but it is a struggle that will lead him down a dark path that hint at some of the atrocities carried out by soldiers…
The traditional home of Sion Sono is usually the Midnight Madness strand and he makes a reappearance here. The film will already be screened in Japan when the west gets to see its international premiere.
Japanese: トーキョー トライブ
Romaji: To-kyo- Toraibu
Release Date: August 30th, 2014 (Japan)
Running Time: 116 mins.
Director: Sion Sono
Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay), Santa Inoue (Original Manga)
Starring: Ryohei Suzuki, Young Dais, Nana Seino, Ryuta Sato, Riki Takuechi, Denden, Shota Sometani, Shoko Nakagawa, Yosuke Kubozuka, Takuya Ishida, Shunsuke Daito, Yui Ichikawa, Mika Kano,
Sion Sono! All of the directors listed in this post have made great films but Sono is my absolute favourite thanks to works like Suicide Club (2002) and Strange Circus (2005). Last year saw him make an incredibly funny yakuza wars comedy film called Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and it looks like he’s still in the mood for making entertainment films if this title is anything to go by. Tokyo Tribes is a film based upon a seinen manga created by Santa Inoue and serialised in the urban fashion magazine Boon from 1997 to 2005 and judging by the trailer, this film looks like a riot. I covered this film in a trailer post covering the casting and so forth.
The film takes place in the future and five years have passed since the Shibuya riots and different clans called “Tribes” exist in Tokyo. Kai Deguchi is a member of the Musashino Saru tribe led by Tera. When Tera dies at the hands of Bukuro Wu-RONZ tribe leader Mera, Kai finds himself facing off against a former best friend.
Contemporary World Cinema has a lot of Japanese titles, some familiar, one very, very new.
Romaji:Futatsume no Mado
Release Date:July 26th, 2014
Running Time:120 mins.
Writer:Naomie Kawase (Screenplay),
Starring: Nijiro Murakami, Jun Yoshinaga, Tetta Sugimoto, Miyuki Matsuda, Makiko Watanabe, Jun Murakami, Hideo Sakaki, Fujio Tokita
Still the Water was released last month and at this year’s Cannes film festival where it got mixed reviews, some praising its beauty and atmosphere while others lamenting the heavy handed symbolism used throughout the film.
It is the full-moon night of August and on Amami-Oshima traditional dances take place. A 14-year-old boy finds a dead body floating in the sea. With the help of his girlfriend, the two set about trying to solve the mystery. As they investigate the two grow into adults by experiencing the interwoven cycles of life, death and love.
Japanese Title: さよなら 歌舞伎町
Romaji: Sayonara Kabukicho
Release Date: January, 2015 (Japan)
Running Time: 135 mins.
Director: Ryuichi Hiroki
Writer: Haruhiko Arai (Screenplay)
Starring:Shota Sometani, Atsuko Maeda, Kaho Minami, Nao Omori, Yutaka MAtsushige, Jun Murakami, Tomorowo Taguchi,
SURPRISE!!! This is slated for a January release in Japan but Toronto gets the scoop. The film is all about the lives of a group of people connected to a love hotel in Kabukicho such as two lovers, a cleaning woman and her husband, a slarayman, a music producer, a prostitute scout and call girl business manager. It stars Shota Sometani, Atsuko Maeda and Tomorowo Taguchi.
There’s also a number of films set in or influenced by Japan such as the tender comedy Tokyo Fiancee, a film about a Japanophile young Belgian woman who has a whirlwind romance with a Francophile Japanese student. There is also Oh Lucy!, a short from Atsuko Hirayanagi. That’s an absurdist comedy about an office lady who, when wearing a blonde wig, discovers a new identity as a teacher named “Lucy”.
That is the Japanese line-up so far. More films are being added and I will keep checking back. If you have one film you can only see? That’s tough. I’d pick The World of Kanako because it looks to balance entertainment with inventiveness and a great story. There are a lot more films on offer and the Japanese films look to be some of the best!Japanese Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2014 The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival launches in just over two weeks and lasts from September 04th to September 14th…