In a press conference today, document.write(“”); the Montreal World Film Festival announced the programming of its 37th edition, which will be held from August 22 to September 2. The festival will present 432 films including 218 feature-length movies (of which 113 will be world or international premieres, along with 39 North American premieres and 41 Canadian premieres), 14 medium-length and 200 short films. 71 of those fiction features-length movies will be first features (the first film of its director), of which 20 will be in competition.
This year the slogan of the festival is “The world is yours” and the “dominant theme in the films of the competition this year, is that of human beings caught a changing world, facing new realities”. Screenings will be held at the Cinema Imperial (CI) and Théatre Maisonneuve (TM) for the movies in competition, and at the Cinema Quartier Latin (QL) for the rest. You can read more details in the press release announcing this year’s line-up.
This year the festival is offering us eleven Japanese movies: one in official world competition, one in the World Great category (out of competition), eight in the Focus on World Cinema (including one short) and one short student movie.
Here’s some Clips from World Competition films on Youtube:
The World Competition
- Rikyu ni Tazuneyo ( ??????? / Ask This of Rikyu ): Japan, 2013, 123 min.; Dir.: Mitsutoshi Tanaka; Scr.: Eriko Komatsu (Based on a novel by Kenichi Yamamoto); Phot.: Takeshi Hamada; Ed.: Kazunobu Fujita; Mus.: Taro Iwashiro; Distri.: Toei; Cast: Miki Nakatani, Ebizô Ichikawa, Yusuke Iseya, Nao Omori.
“As thunder crashes and rain pours down, 3000 soldiers surround the home of tea master Rikyu. Chancellor Toyotomi Hideyoshi has ordered him to commit suicide. As he sits and contemplates his death, his wife So-on speaks to him: “There is one who is always in your thoughts.” Old memories are revived… Son of a fish shop owner Tanaka Yoshiro studied the Japanese tea ceremony and became one of the great influences on its traditions. An exponent of the “wabi” style of ceremony, which eschewed expensive accoutrements in favour of rustic simplicity,Tanaka, now going by the name of “Soeki”, came to the attention of Oda Nobunaga who appointed him tea master. When Oda died and power passed to Hideyoshi, Soeki continued in his role as “emperor of tea” and was ennobled with the name of “Rikyu” so that he could enter the palace as Hideyoshi’s assistant. But Hideyoshi is a jealous and paranoid ruler and he purges his closest confidants. The final object of Hideyoshi’s obsession is connected with Rikyu’s youth…” (Festival’s Program)
World Great (Out of Competition)
- Kiyosu Kaigi ( ???? / The Kiyosu Conference ): Japan, 2013, ? min.; Dir. & Scr.: Koki Mitani (based on his own novel); Mus.: Kiyoko Ogino; Phot.: Hideo Yamamoto; Ed.: Soichi Ueno; Prod. Des.: Yohei Taneda; Cost. Des.: Kazuko Kurosawa; Cast: Koji Yakusho, Yo Oizumi, Fumiyo Kohinata, Koichi Sato, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Tadanobu Asano, Susumu Terashima, Denden, Kenichi Matsuyama, Yusuke Iseya, Kyoka Suzuki, Miki Nakatani, Ayame Goriki, Minosuke Bandou, Kenji AnanShinpei Ichikawa, Shota Sometani, Eisuke Sasai, Keiko Toda, Zen Kajiwara, Catherine Seto, Yoshimasa Kondo, Kazuyuki Asano, Kankuro Nakamura, Yuki Amami, Toshiyuki Nishida.
“In 1582, before the unification of Japan, Nobunaga Oda was forced to take his own life at Honno-ji Temple during a violent revolt led by Mitsuhide Akechi. Following Oda’s death, the powers in Japan held the Kiyosu Conference — the “conference that changed the course of history” — to resolve the Oda clan’s succession of leadership and redistribute Mitsuhide Akechi’s territories. Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Nagahide Niwa and Tsuneoki Ikeda meet to decide on a successor. The conference would become Japan’s first group-made political decision. In this film, director Koki Mitani, known especially for his comedies, gives us his unique interpretation of the intricate web of human relationships involved in this process as the brave general Katsuie Shibata and Hideyoshi Hashiba, who would later unify Japan, engage in a battle of wits, deceit and bargaining.” (Festival’s Program)
Schedule: Wed 8/28 19:00 QL9; Thu 8/29 12:10 QL15; Mon 9/2 16:20 QL15.
Read our commentary on this movie.
Focus on World Cinema
- Botchan ( ????? / Bozo ): Japan, 2013, 130 min.; Dir.: Tatsushi Omori; Scr.: Tatsushi Omori & Hidemori Tsuchiya; Mus.: Yoshihide Ohtomo; Phot.: Atsuhiko Fukaya; Ed.: Ryô Hayano; Art Dir.: Michitoshi Kurokawa; Prod.: Takahiko Kondo, Shinichiro Muraoka; Cast: Shingo Mizusawa, Shohei Uno, Yasushi Fuchikami, Ai Tamura, Shinsuke Suzuki, Masashi Endo, Emiko Imaizumi, Kagetora Miura, Jyo Hyuga.
“Tomoyuki Kaji, 28, is socially inept and thoroughly lacking in self-confidence. “If you die, are you happy then?” he asks on the Internet. An employment agency sends him to work at a factory in Nagano where he meets Tanaka, a co-worker who suffers from narcolepsy. “To the stars, we’re all alike,” he muses, and the pair become fast friends. This is new territory for Kaji, and he is exhilarated. Out for a drive one night, they meet Yuri, a young girl who has fled the clutches of their co-worker, Okada. Charmed by Yuri, they attempt to protect her. But this isn’t as simple as they imagine…” (Festival’s Program)
Schedule: Fri 8/23 13:30 QL12; Sat 8/24 10:10 QL12; Sun 8/25 11:30 QL12.
Read our commentary on this movie.
- Hakoiri musuko no koi ( ??????? / lit. “Love of a Son who is in the Box” / Blindly in love ): Japan, 2013, 108 min.; Dir.: Masahide Ichii; Scr.: Masahide Ichii, Takahiro Tamura; Mus.: Ren Takada; Phot.: Daisuke Sôma; Ed.: Chieko Suzaki; Prod.: Chikako Nakabayashi, Yumiko Takebe; Cast: Gen Hoshino, Kaho, Sei Hiraizumi, Ryoko Moriyama, Ren Osugi, Hitomi Kuroki, Honoka, Shuntaro Yanagi, Miyako Takeuchi, Kanji Furutachi.
“Shy and socially inept, Kentaro Amanosizuku, 35, works for the city but lives with his parents, a pet frog and video games as his chief interests. Worried about their son’s future, Kentaro’s parents look into matchmaking services, seemingly to no avail. Then a nibble. Would Kentaro be interested in meeting their daughter Naoko? A meeting is arranged. Naoko is a beautiful young woman but she is blind. Kentaro is smitten. But Naoko’s father has his doubts about Kentaro and the meeting comes to nought. Then, one day, Naoko’s mother comes to visit at Kentaro’s office. Is he still interested in her daughter?” (Festival’s Program)
Schedule: Tue 8/27 21:20 QL9; Wed 8/28 13:40 QL9; Thu 8/29 12:00 QL9.
- Judas ( ?? / Yuda ): Japan, 2013, 109 min.; Dir.: Izumi Ohtomi; Scr. Izumi Ohtomi & Kurumi Tachibana (based on her autobiography); Phot.: Natsuha Nakamura; Ed.: Masaki Murayama; Mus.: Masataka Kitaura; Prod.: Harumi Hoshino; Cast: Ayame Misaki, Sho Aoyagi, Kenji Mizuhashi, Noriko Aoyama, Ryohei Suzuki, NorA, Yusei Tajima, Itsuji Itao.
“Erika’s life fall aparts when her boyfriend leaves scars on both her heart and her face. The manager of the family restaurant where she works part time refuses to let her work with a scarred face, and she has no way to pay for an abortion. She resolves never again to be at the mercy of sentiment. She decides to become a hostess at the Elleseine nightclub in Tokyo’s notorious Kabukichio entertainment and red-light district. Before long she has risen to the top, becoming the club’s number one hostess. But material fortune doesn’t always translate into personal happiness. Can she have her cake and eat it?” (Festival’s Program)
- Case of Kyoko, Case of Shuichi: Japan, 2013, 135 min.; Dir. & Scr.: Eiji Okuda; Phot.: Takahiro Haibara; Ed.: Manabu Shinoda; Mus.: Hibiki Inamoto; Prod.: Takahito Obinata, Miyako Kobayashi; Cast: Sakura Ando, Tasuku Emoto.
“Minamisanriku, Japan, was devastated by the tsunami of March 11, 2011, with most buildings destroyed by waves of 16 metres or higher, and over half the town’s population swept away or drowned. With 90% of the town gone, there’s no “home” there anymore for former residents Kyoko and Shuichi. For psychological reasons as well: left behind were a mother and a child. What does the future hold for the living?” (Festival’s Program)
Schedule: Sat 8/24 13:10 QL12; Sun 8/25 21:10 QL12; Thu 8/29 19:00 QL12.
Read our commentary on this movie.
- Shanidar no hana ( ???????? / The flower of Shanidar ): Japan, 2013, 105 min.; Dir.: Gakuryu Ishii; Scr.: Hiroaki Jinno, Gakuryu Ishii, Tomofumi Tanaka; Phot.: Yoshiyuki Matsumoto; Mus.: Michiaki Katsumoto; Cast: Gou Ayano, Haru Kuroki, Kanji Furutachi, Ayumi Ito, Rio Yamashita, Yuiko Kariya.
“The “shandihar flower” only grows on certain women. Mysterious buds germinate on their skin and then bloom into beautiful flowers whose extracts lead to a new miracle drug at the “Shanidar Laboratory”. Kyoko and Ohtaki work at the lab, and are always on the lookout for new donors, but not all women are cooperative. That’s when Kyoto’s charm comes into play. Meanwhile, abnormal side effects begin to appear stemming from the flower-removal surgery. Harvesting these flowers may be triggering something dangerous.” (Festival’s Program)
Schedule: Fri 8/23 16:40 QL15; Sat 8/24 16:30 QL9; Sun 8/25 9:20 QL9.
Read our commentary on this movie.
- Kyoaku ( ?? / The Devil’s Path ): Japan, 2013, 128 min.; Dir.: Kazuya Shiraishi; Scr.: Kazuya Shiraishi & Izumi Takahashi (based on a non-fiction novel); Phot.: Takahiro Imai; Ed.: Hitomi Kato; Mus.: Goro Yasukawa; Cast: Takayuki Yamada, Lily Franky, Chizuru Ikewaki, Pierre Taki.
“Journalist Shuichi Fujii receives a letter from convicted killer Junji Sudo. Writing from death row, Sudo wants to confess to crimes unknown to the police. Visiting Sudo in prison, Fujii learns about “Doc” who masterminded a string of murders. Set up by Doc, Sudo seeks revenge and implores Fujii to find the evidence needed to arrest his former boss. Working from Sudo’s sketchy memories, Fujii begins to piece together a grizzly tale of extortion, torture, rape, and arson. But as his desire to see Doc brought to justice nears a climax, he runs into resistance from unexpected sources.” (Festival’s Program)
Schedule: Fri 8/23 21:30 QL9; Sun 8/25 16:20 QL9; Mon 8/26 11:50 QL9.
Read our commentary on this movie.
- Shijuukunichi no Reshipi ( ???????? / lit. “Recipe of 49 Days” / Mourning Recipe ): Japan, 2013, 130 min.; Dir.: Yuki Tanada; Scr.: Hisako Kurosawa (based on a novel by Yuki Ibuki); Phot.: Ryuto Kondo; Ed.: Ryuji Miyajima; Mus.: Yoshikazu Suo; Cast: Renji Ishibashi, Masaki Okada, Fumi Nikaidô, Hiromi Nagasaku, Taizo Harada.
“When Ryohei’s wife, Otomi, suddenly passes away, Ryohei is deeply depressed, without the strength to live. Two weeks after her death, a woman visits Ryohei and gives him a recipe book which was left by Otomi, a “recipe book” for a happy life. Meanwhile, Ryohei’s daughter Yuriko comes to visit him. Yuriko’s own marriage is about to end in divorce and she will have use for Otomi’s “recipe book”.” (Festival’s Program)
Schedule: Mon 8/26 11:30 QL11; Tue 8/27 21:00 QL11; Wed 8/28 16:30 QL11.
Focus on World Cinema — Short Films
- Rhizome ( ???? ): Japan, 2013, animation, 6 min.; Dir./Scr./Phot./Ed./Prod.: Masahiro Ohsuka; Mus.: Zokei Lab.
“”Write, form a rhizome, increase your territory by deterritorialization, extend the line of flight to the point where it becomes an abstract machine covering the entire plane of consistency.” Inpsired by the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. ” (Festival’s Program)
Best Student Films of the World
- Live with the sea (?????): Japan/Singapore, 2013, 8 min.; Dir./Phot./Ed.: Yuichiro Nakano.
“When the massive tsunami hit northern Japan in March 2011, a fisherman just barely escaped on his boat. He lost everything, including friends and family. Grateful to have survived, he donates fish to needy people. ” (Festival’s Program)
Our cinema: review of a year of hits
- Karakara (????): Canada/Japan, 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.
Korean Cinema of Today — Feature Films
- Mai Ratima, by Ji-Tae Yoo. 126 min.
- Bun-no-ui Yul-li-hak (An Ethics Lesson), by Myung-rang Park. 110 min.
- Jiseul, by O Muel. 109 min.
- Nuna (A Boy’s Sister), by Won-sik Lee. 104 min.
- Namyeong-Dong (National Security), by Ji-young Chung. 106 min.
- Kashi-Ggot (Fatal), by Don-ku Lee. 103 min.
- Don Kuerai Mami (Don’t Cry, Mommy), by Yong-han Kim. 93 min.
- Sum-Ba-Ggok-Jil (Hide N Seek), by Han-uk Lee. 49 min.
- My Paparotti, by Jong-chan Yoon. 127 min.
There’s also some information on Coco Montreal Facebook page (Oops! In Japanese only)
See the coverage of the festival on La Presse (in french).
More details and links will be added as the information become available (whenever I can).
Updated: Details on “Ask This of Rikyu”, list of Korean films (8/8); details on “Kiyosu Kaigi” & “Botchan”, AsianWiki links (8/9); details for most of the other films (8/10); schedule links (8/16); Korean movies’ links, schedule, description and remaining details (8/17); commentary link for Botchan (8/23).
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