In a press conference today, document.write(“”); the Montreal World Film Festival announced the programming of its 36th edition, which will be held from August 23 to September 3. During the twelve days of its duration, the festival will present 432 films from 80 countries, including 212 feature-length movies, 16 medium-length and 204 short films. 212 of those features will be the first film of its director and 216 of those productions will be world or international premieres! You can read more details in the press release announcing this impressive line-up.
This year the festival is offering us eleven Japanese movies (more than last year): three in competition (including one Canadian co-production and one in the first film competition), three in the World Great category and five in the Focus on World Cinema (including one short).
The World Competition
- Karakara: Japan/Canada, 2012, 103 min.; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Claude Gagnon; Phot.: Michel St-Martin; Light.: Motoshi Kinjo; Sound: Masahiro Yokozawa & Louis Collin; Cost.: Yuko Arai; Ass. Dir.: Masato Tanno; Mus.: Yukito Ara; Theme Song: Sakishima Meeting (Yukito Ara & Isamu Shimoji); Prod.: Takako Miyahira, Samuel Gagnon, Claude Gagnon; Exec. Prod.: Yuri Yoshimura Gagnon; Cast: Gabriel Arcand, Youki Kudoh, Megumi Tomita, Yuichi Atta, Toshi Moromi, Tenyu Okuda, John Potter, Takayuki Ichise, Mieko Taira and a special appearance by Toshiko Taira. Was screened at Cannes in May 2012 as part of “Perspective Canada.”
Looking to embark on a spiritual journey, Pierre Masson, a 61-year-old retired Quebec university professor, ends up making a short, unsettling trip around Okinawa with Junko, a 40-year-old runaway wife. The unprepared intellectual would rather not get involved with this unlikely and passionate lover, especially in an unfamiliar and disorienting cultural context. The confused, unwilling sexagenarian decides nevertheless to follow his destiny, unsure of where it (she?…) will take him.
- Anata e (Dearest): Japan, 2012, 111 min.; Dir.: Yasuo Furuhata; Scr.: Takeshi Aoshima, Yasuo Furuhata (based on a story by Seichi Ichiko); Phot.: Junichiro Hayashi; Ed.: Jun’ichi Kikuchi; Mus.: Yusuke Hayashi; Cast: Ken Takakura, Yuko Tanaka, Koichi Sato, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Kimiko Yo, Haruka Ayase, Takahiro Miura, Tadanobu Asano, Takeshi Kitano, Mieko Harada, Hideji Otaki, Kyozo Nagatsuka, Takashi Okamura.
Eiji’s wife leaves a posthumous request for her ashes to returned to the sea off the coast of her hometown. She also informs Eiji that there is a letter awaiting him there in the post office.
First Films World Competition
- Sono Yoru no Samurai (The Samurai That Night): Japan, 2012, 119 min.; Dir./Scr.: Masaaki Akahori (based on a play by himself); Cast: Sakura Andô, Gô Ayano, Tomorowo Taguchi, Mitsuki Tanimura, Hirofumi Arai, Maki Sakai.
Nakamura is released from prison after serving five years for killing a woman in a hit-and-run accident. The woman’s husband has vowed revenge.
World Great (Out of Competition)
- Yamamoto Isoroku (Admiral Yamamoto): Japan, 2011, 140 min.; Dir.: Izuru Narushima; Scr.: Yasuo Hasegawa, Kenzaburo Iida; Phot.: Takahide Shibanushi, Hiroshi Futsuta; Ed.: Hirohide Abe; Mus.: Tarô Iwashiro; Prod.: Shohei Kotaki; Cast: Koji Yakusho, Hiroshi Tamaki, Akira Emoto, Toshiro Yanagiba, Hiroshi Abe, Eisaku Yoshida, Kippei Shiina, Takeo Nakahara, Ikuji Nakamura, Mitsugoro Bando, Mieko Harada, Asaka Seto, Rena Tanaka, Toru Masuoka, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Shunji Igarashi, Asaka Seto, Rena Tanaka, Toru Masuoka, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Shunji Igarashi. See description on AsianWiki.
Japan, summer 1939. Pressure is building for Japan to sign a pact with Germany and Italy, but admiral Yamamoto is reluctant to go to war with the US, whom he considers too powerful.
Schedule: Sat 8/25 11:00 L9.25.1; Sun 8/26 18:40 L9.26.5.
Read our commentary on this movie.
- Nobou no Shiro (The Floating Castle): Japan, 2012, 146 min.; Dir.: Isshin Inudo & Shinji Higushi; Scr.: Ryo Wada (based on his 2007 novel); Mus.: Koji Ueno; Prod: Osamu Kubota; Cast: Mansai Nomura, Koichi Sato, Hiroki Narimiya, Tomomitsu Yamaguchi, Nana Eikura, Honami Suzuki, Masachika Ichimura, Yusuke Kamiji, Takayuki Yamada, Takehiro Hira, Machiko Ono, Mana Ashida, Gin Maeda, Tokyo Dageki Dan, Sohkoh Wada.
In the year 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi is on the verge of conquering all of Japan. One obstacle remains: a floating fortress known as Oshi Castle, defended by only 500 men.
Schedule: Tue 8/28 18:40 L9.28.4; Wed 8/29 16:30 L15.29.4; Thu 8/30 11:40 L15.30.2.
Read our commentary on this movie.
- Itai (Reunion): Japan, 2012, 100 min.; Dir.: Ryoichi Kimizuka (based on a non-fiction book by Ishii Kota); Cast: Nishida Toshiyuki, Ogata Naoto, Katsuji Ryo, Kunimura Jun, Sakai Wakana, Sato Koichi, Sano Shiro, Sawamura Ikki, Shida Mirai, Tsutsui Michitaka, and Yanagiba Toshiro. The story is set in a morgue of Kamaishi, Iwate, in the aftermath of the great March 11th 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. More details on Tokyo Hive or AsianWiki.
In March 2011, following the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami, a small town on northeastern Japan is faced with the problem of collecting and disposing of the victims’ bodies.
Focus on World Cinema
- Kazoku no Kuni (Our Homeland): Japan, 2012, 100 min.; Dir./Scr.: Yong-hi Yang; Phot.: Yoshihisa Toda; Ed.: Takashige Kikui; Mus.: Tarô Iwashiro. Cast: Sakura Andô, Arata, Ik-Joon YangYang, Kotomi Kyôno, Masane Tsukayama, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Tarô Suwa. More details on The Japan Times.
A Japanese family of Korean origin are torn apart by ideology as they welcome one of their own after 25 years in a “repatriation program.”
- Kon-shin: Japan, 2012, 134 min.; Dir.: Yoshinari Nishikori (based on Kenichi Kawakami novel); Cast: Sho Aoyagi, Ayumi Ito, and Naomi Zaizen. The story revolves around a Sumo wrestler preparing for a big classical Sumo Wrestling tournament held at Mizuwaka Temple on Oki island, Shimane Prefecture.
Originally, Sumo was not a sport but a sacred ceremony. The classic Sumo culture and practice is still alive on the Oki islands.
- Boku no Naka no Otoko no ko (The Little Girl in Me): Japan, 2012, 100 min.; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Shoji Kubota; Cast: Ryoma Baba, Bengaru, Ryûnosuke Kawai, Naoki Kawano, Hôka Kinoshita, Kouta Kusano, Yuri Nakamura, Kiriko Shimizu, Asahi Uchida, Kinuwo Yamada, Yûrei Yanagi.
Devastated after being fired from his job, Kensuke locks himself up in his room, with only the Internet as his window to the outside. Then he discovers the world of cross-dressing.
- Tsui no Shintaku (The Terminal Trust): Japan, 2012, 144 min.; Dir./Scr.: Masayuki Suo (based on a short story by Saku Tatsuki); Cast: Tamiyo Kusakari, Kôji Yakusho, Takao Osawa, Tadanobu Asano. A movie about euthanasia.
Shinzo Egi suffers from severe asthma but he does not want to be placed on life support.
- B/W Foxes and the Cave of Light: Japan, 2012, 15 min.; dir.: Kiyoshi Endo; Cast: Takuma Wada. Short Film opening for Boku no Naka no Otoko no ko.
“In a world of black and white, ore dug from the cave is shedding colored light. Mikuro, the “Black Fox” bandit, appears before the white-haired boy Kohaku, who is captured by a gang of thieves.“ (Festival’s program)
Read our commentary on this movie.
The complete, searchable schedule is now available. (8/17)
See some press coverage on the festival:
- The Gazette‘s Festival Central
- Cyberpresse (in french)
- Le Devoir (in french)
- Radio-Canada (in french)
You can also read the comments of Claude R. Blouin on the japanese movies presented at the festival on the Shomingekiblog.
More details and links will be added as the information become available.
Updated: 8/8 (MWFF teaser, Karakara & Anata e info); 8/9, 8/10, 8/11 (more movies info), 8/15 (more info, schedule & Karakara’s trailer link), 8/16 (a few details), 8/17 (FFM links), 8/27 (press coverage links) & 9/16 (Shomingekiblog link).