The Tokyo International Film Festival announced the 200-film lineup for its 30th edition (Oct 25th-November 3rd) yesterday at a press conference held in Roppongi Academy Hills.
15 films were selected among 1,538 titles from 88 countries and regions for the competition section. The selections include four Asian titles: Aqérat (We the Dead) (阿奇洛) by Malaysia’s Edmund Yeo, serial killer thriller The Looming Storm (暴雪將至) by China’s Dong Yue, as well as two Japanese titles – Takahisa Zeze’s The Lowlife (最低。), based on a novel by AV starlet Mana Sakura, and Akiko Ooku’s romantic comedy Tremble All You Want (勝手にふるえてろ). All four films are world premieres.
Yeo also has a second film in the lineup: Yasmin-san. Screening in the Crosscut Asia program, the documentary follows the production of Isao Yukisada’s Pigeon, which was part of TIFF’s omnibus project Asian Three-Fold Mirror last year. Yeo was previously in competition in 2014 with River of Exploding Durians (榴蓮忘返).
This year’s competition jury is led by American actor Tommy Lee Jones, who has been appearing in a popular series of canned coffee ads in Japan since 2006. Jones will be joined by French director Martin Provost, Iranian director Reza Mirkarimi, Chinese actress-director Vicki Zhao, and Japanese actor Masatoshi Nagase.
“The tendency we have seen this year, compared to last year, is that there has been a shift in focus from social issues to individual stories, especially stories about females and males struggling with life,” noted competition programming director Yoshi Yatabe.
The Asian Future competition section includes eight world premieres, including Taiwanese LGBTQ drama Alifu, the Prince/ss (阿莉芙), India’s Bioscopewala, Burmese-language Japanese production Passage of Life (僕の帰る場所), Filipino musical The Portrait (Ang Larawan), Thai drama Someone From Nowhere (มา ณ ที่นี้) and Turkey’s Taksim Hold’em.
The Japanese Cinema Splash competition features world premieres of nine new local films, including Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops (アイスと雨音) by Afro Tanaka director Daigo Matsui, Eiji Uchida’s Between Men and the Gods (神と人との間), Party ‘Round the Globe (地球はお祭り騒ぎ) by Hirobumi Watanabe, who was in last year’s Japanese Cinema Splash with Poolside Man (プールサイドマン), and Listen to Light (ひかりの歌) by Kyoshi Sugita.
The festival added a new Midnight Film Festival section, featuring five sets of all-night film screenings. They include one devoted to the works of Shinkai Makoto, a commemoration program for the late George A. Romero and the world premiere of short films by young directors. There are also retrospectives of films by animation director Keiichi Hara, remastered Japanese classics, classic films from the George Eastman Museum, and a tribute to the musical genre.
As announced last week, there will also be a three-film retrospective devoted to the works of Steven Soderbergh featuring his latest film Logan Lucky, Sex, Lies and Videotape, and Ocean’s Eleven. Soderbergh will attend a Q&A session for Logan Lucky.
The festival also announced last week that musician Ryuichi Sakamoto will be the recipient of this year’s Samurai Award. Sakamoto will hold a special talk on November 1st, and documentary Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda will also be screened at the festival.
“For this 30th anniversary year, we are looking back to our past as well as enhancing our vision for the future. We have enriched our existing sections and also added exciting new sections. The program is really well balanced in terms of art and entertainment, from new films by emerging filmmakers to classics that have been digitally restored,” said TIFF’s new festival director Takes Hisamatsu.
The festival also announced the second installment of its Asian Three-Fold Mirror series, which will feature shorts by Japan’s Daishi Matsunaga (Pieta In the Toilet トイレのピエタ), Indonesia’s Edwin (Postcards From the Zoo), and China’s Degena Yun (A Simple Goodbye 告别). The film, sponsored by the Japan Foundation, will premiere at next year’s TIFF.
The festival will open with the live-action adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師) and a special presentation of new footage from Chen Kaige’s Legend of the Demon Cat (妖貓傳). It will close with climate change documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.