34e Festival du Film japonais de Montréal


Comme a chaque année la « Japan Foundation » de Toronto et le Consulat Général du Japon à Montréal ont le plaisir d’offrir gratuitement des projections de films japonais. Veuillez noter que la bande originale japonaise est sous-titrée en anglais. Les places sont limitées et seront attribuées selon le principe « premier-arrivé, premier-servi », sans réservation préalable.

L’événement aura lieu les vendredi 20 octobre et samedi 21 octobre à la Cinémathèque québécoise (335, boul. de Maisonneuve Est, près du métro Berri-UQAM).

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FFM 2017 wrap-up

The 41st Montreal World Film Festival (FFM) is now over. This year was a slim pick for the Japanese cinema aficionado since there was only two Japanese movies (two others were co-productions with non-Japanese directors). Besides that, the festival went smoothly for me. However, the only question remaining above our heads is: will there be a festival next year? Of course Serge Losique wants to be reassuring and said that the FFM was here to stay. He even announced the dates for the next two years: August 23rd to September 3rd 2018 and August 22nd to September 2nd 2019 !!

One of the event that I would have liked to attend (but couldn’t by lack of time) was the press conference and Master Class held at L’Astral by Chinese Martial Art Filmmaker Xu Haofeng (The Hidden Sword) on Monday August 28th. It seems that it was one of the rares (if not the only one) press conference held at the FFM this year. I really miss those… (and the film market and the press room!)

The closing film of the festival was a surprise to be announced after the awards, just a few hours before its free screening. It was meant as a gift for the movie fans.

A press release announced the awards for the 48th Student Film Festival: for the Canadian competition it went to Land by Samiramis Kia (York University, Toronto) and for the International competition it went to Elene by Seven Kayhan (Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey).

Another press release announced the awards for the festival itself: the Grand Prix of the Americas (Best Film) went to And Suddenly the Dawn by Silvio Caiozzi (Chile) and the Special Grand Prix of the Jury went to Dear Etranger by Yukiko Mishima (Japan). Check the press release for the other awards.

To summarize, I’ve seen and commented on two Japanese movies:

I also wrote a few informational posts about the festival:

Finally, here are the latest comments about the FFM in the media:

 

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Capsule reviews (02.017.247)

Bande-dessinée

Yoko Tsuno #28: Le temple des Immortels

Une autre aventure plutôt invraisemblable de l’électronicienne nippone. Leloup développe ici des éléments de récits qu’il avait laissé en plan dans des albums précédents ( #12: La Proie et l’ombre, #25: La Servante de Lucifer, #27: Le Secret de Khâny ). Comme c’est souvent le cas dans ses oeuvres plus récentes, le récit semble un peu précipité alors qu’il essai de raconter son histoire dans le cadre étroit  du format traditionnel de quarante-deux pages. On a l’impression de vivre le récit en accéléré…

Le problème avec des albums qui font sans cesse référence à des volumes précédents est qu’on ne se rappelle pas toujours des détails qui s’y étaient déroulés, ce qui laisse des lacunes dans la bonne compréhension (et l’appréciation) du récit. Toutefois l’idée de moines médiévaux avec des Vinéens et des tributs celtiques vivant au creux de la terre, dans un gouffre profond, a quand même du charme. C’est une lecture nostalgique mais tout de même un peu décevante, donc d’un intérêt moyen…

Cela donne le goût de relire de vieux albums (car étrangement je suis resté sur ma faim — c’est presque toujours le cas avec ces très court albums à l’européenne). Comment un artiste peut-il vivre en publiant juste de tels albums aux deux ans? C’est un dur contraste avec les mangakas nippon qui produisent en moyenne une quantité de pages similaires (en noir et blanc toutefois) CHAQUE SEMAINE (!) pour la pré-publication en périodique…

[ AmazonBiblioDupuisGoodreadsWikipediaWorldcat ]

Commentaire aussi disponible sur Goodreads et Les Irrésistibles.

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Magazine

AnimeLand #216

Le numéro de juin-juillet 2017 nous offre des dossiers sur l’importance du visuel dans la société nippone (“Quand la 2D se tape l’incruste”), sur le marché de l’anime en France en 2016 (qui ne progresse pas aussi positivement que celui du manga car divisé, à 70% / 30%, entre le DVD et le Blu-ray et considérablement affecté par la popularité du simulcast, qui a toutefois l’avantage de faire régresser l’utilisation de sites illégaux de diffusion), et sur les anime “engagés” (socio-politiquement: Harmony, Genocidal Organ, Ghost in the Shell S.A.C., Galactic Hero Legend, Gundam; ou écologiquement: L’école emportée, Conan: Fils du Futur, Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, Pompoko, Ponyo sur la falaise, Earth Girl Arjuna, etc.).

Comme toujours, AnimeLand nous fait découvrir de nombreux anime (Hirune Hime, Dans un recoin du monde, Golgo 13, Le grand méchant renard, My hero academia, Atom: The Beginning, la saison 2 de L’attaque des titans, Dragonball Super, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul, Capitaine Flam), mangas (Kenshin, One Piece, Mob Psycho 100, Les mémoires de Vanitas, Reine d’Égypte, Voyage à Tokyo, Tenjin, Gloutons et Dragons), et jeux video (Persona 5, et un article sur les mondes ouverts). On nous trace aussi des portraits de seiyu (Mamoru Miyano) ou de musicien (Akira Yamaoka) et nous présente une dizaine d’interviews avec Kenji Kamiyama (Hirune Hime), Eric Goldberg & Neysa Bové (Vaiana), Masashi Kudo (Chain Chronicle), Yasuyuki Muto (Rolling Girls), Studio La Cachette, Nobuhiro Watsuki (Kenshin), Kiyo Kyujyo (Trinity Blood), Tatsuki Fujimoto (Fire Punch) et Chie Inudoh (Reine d’Égypte). Finalement, on retrouve les indispensables actualités et commentaires sur les parutions récentes.

Nul doute que AnimeLand est une source inépuisable d’information sur l’animation et la bande-dessinée japonaise, et le seul magazine francophone sur ces sujets. Toutefois, je n’ai rien trouvé de bien excitant dans ce numéro…

[ AmazonSite webWikipedia ]

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Manga

Pline #2: Les rues de Rome

Ce second tome, s’il nous offre beaucoup moins d’action que le premier, n’en est pas moins intéressant car il approfondit de beaucoup notre connaissance des protagonistes. Euclès découvre la maison (remplit de manuscrits!) de son nouveau maître, Pline. Celui-ci souffre grandement de l’asthme mais se méfie beaucoup des médecins. Il finira cependant par se soumettre au traitement du médecin grec Silénos, qui lui recommande surtout l’air pur de la Campanie. Euclès tombe amoureux d’une jeune esclave, Plautina, qu’il a rencontré par hasard, mais celle-ci est aussi tombé dans l’oeil de l’empereur Néron! Celui-ci se sent un peu égaré sans les conseils de son précepteur, Sénèque, qu’il a exilé. On y découvre une image plus humaine de Néron, qui apparait moins comme un tyran qu’un jeune homme cultivé mais moralement faible. Poppée, qui n’est pas très aimée du peuple, se fait lancer des pierres. Elle annonce à Néron qu’elle est enceinte, ce qui le convainc finalement de la marier et de régler le sort d’Octavie. Felix, le garde du corps un peu frustre de Pline, a une famille à Rome mais sa femme se plaint de ses absences prolongées et surtout des conditions de vie difficile dans les insulae romaines. Alors Pline leur offre de s’installer dans l’une de ses maisons. Mais le personnage le plus important de ce tome, c’est sans doute Rome elle-même alors que l’on découvre plus en détails ses bas fonds et ses lupanars!

C’est une lecture passionnante si vous êtes amateur de manga historique et de Rome antique. Et ce qui est particulièrement remarquable dans cet ouvrage c’est le grand détail et la qualité du dessin de Mari Yamazaki et Tori Miki. À lire absolument!

Voir aussi mon commentaire sur Pline #1: L’appel de Néron

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Movies

Jackie

Slow, boring movie that shows a not very sympathetic, selfish Jackie, control freak of her image and obsessed with Lincoln funeral and the fact that his widow died destitute and penniless. Is this a well researched bio pic or just an iconoclast fiction? In the end, it is all about the making of the modern myth of the American camelot.

After John‘s death, Jackie meets with a journalist and reminisce about her traumatic ordeal in order to reshape her husband’s presidency. What makes a president great and be remembered like Lincoln was? His accomplishment or his image?

 

[ AmazonBiblioIMdBOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

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TV Series

Samurai Gourmet

Someone recommended to my wife this Japanese TV series streaming on Netflix. The subject is cool, I had already heard about the writer of the original manga and the main character is played by an actor that I like, therefore I had no hesitation to subscribe to Netflix in order to binge on this mini series of twelve episodes of twenty minutes each. I have absolutely no regret. It was quite funny and very interesting as I leaned a few things about Japanese cuisine. Highly recommended!

Nobushi no Gourmet (???????) is based on a manga written by Masayuki Kusumi and drawn by Shigeru Tsuchiyama (first pre-published in November 2013 by Gentosha Plus web magazine and then in print in June 2016 — I have already commented on the very similar manga that Masayuki Kusumi did with Jiro Taniguchi in 1994-96 titled Kodoku no gourmet). It tells the story of 60-year-old salaryman Takashi Kasumi (Naoto Takenaka) who just retired. Having lost his corporate title and the support of his company, he finds himself with lots of time on his hands. His wife Shizuko (Honami Suzuki) is always busy with something (choir practice, etc.), so he goes for a walk, wandering around and decides to enter a restaurant. For the first time he has a beer in the afternoon and rediscovers the pleasure of a good meal! Being a great fan of Sengoku Period samurai stories, he often imagine what a masterless samurai (played by Tetsuji Tamayama) would do in his situation — which always creates hilarious scenes!

As most of the episode is made of showing off food and the protagonist inner monologue, you might think it is quite boring: in the contrary, it’s an excellent series (see comments on Japan Times, Eater, Thrillist) as proven by a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes!

[ IMDbNetflixWikipedia ]

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Dear Etranger

Based on the novel from Kiyoshi Shigematsu, this is the story of Makoto Tanaka, a 40-years-old who has remarried. His wife is Nanae and they care for 2 daughters from Nanae’s prior marriage. Makoto tries to have an ordinary family but Nanae becomes pregnant and things are bound to change.

 

 

 

WARNING: May contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot’s elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.

Dear Étranger is an average Japanese family drama: it’s both funny and sad, offers excellent acting but is rather slow moving. It’s a touching story about Makoto, a man in his forties, who has remarried and must deal with the difficulties of a blended family. He has one pre-teen girl (Saori) from a previous marriage (with Yuka). His new wife, Sanae, has two daughters (Kaoru, a tweenager, and Eriko, a preschooler) from her own previous marriage (with Sawada, who used to beat her and the children). When she gets pregnant, the delicate balance of their couple is challenged. Of course, in such situation, the children are suffering the most (with emotional or psychological stress). Can they really call themselves a “family”? Can he call himself a “dad”? Can he succeeds to keep a good relationship with BOTH his tweenage daughters? Or is he just a “dear stranger” to them?

The movie tackle quite realistically many aspects of the modern Japanese society: divorce, one of its causes (domestic violence) and one of its increasingly frequent consequences, the stepfamily. Divorce in Japan is relatively similar to what it is in the West (although there is no joint custody). Still not as frequent as in the West, the Japanese divorce rate has been steadily increasing (up to one in three marriages, quadrupling the rate of the post-WW2 era — mostly among retiring-age couples) but it has recently started to decrease due to a corresponding diminution in marriages (men are too busy at work and don’t feel economically confident enough to seek marriage and have children). The Japanese society is evolving and it is not surprising that we also see an increase in the number of female movie directors, who are more likely to want to use sociological theme in their storytelling.

I cannot pass over in silence the superb inclined elevator that regularly appears in the film. The Nashion inclined elevator (????????????  / Nashion shak? ereb?t?) is located in Higashiyamadai, Nishinomiya (Hy?go prefecture) near Kobe and Osaka. Many scenes were shot in that area. It offers a beautiful scenery but might also symbolise the hardship of the main protagonist as he must step up to resolve his delicate situation.

Anyway, when you put together two interesting writer and script-writer, a skilled director (who already came to the FFM in 2014 with A Drop of the Grapevine) and a great cast of actors, you can only get a good movie. And, apparently, the Jury of the 2017 Montreal World Film Festival agreed with this, since they awarded Dear Étranger with the Special Grand Prix of the Jury (a kind of “second best” award).

Dear Etranger (?????????? / Osanago Warera ni umare / lit. “Children born to us” or We’re having a Baby): Japan, 2017, 127 mins; Dir.: Yukiko Mishima; Scr.: Haruhiko Arai (based on a novel by Kiyoshi Shigematsu); Cast: Tadanobu Asano (Makoto Tanaka), Rena Tanaka (Nanae), Shinobu Terajima (Yuka), Raiju Kamata (Saori), Sara Minami (Kaoru), Miu Arai (Eriko), Kankurô Kudô (Sawada), Shingo Mizusawa, Narushi Ikeda.

Film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival on Friday September 1st 2017 (Cinema Imperial, 19:00 — the attendance was about an hundred people) as part of the “World Competition” segment. Shinji Sakoda, the international sales representative from Pony Canyon, was there to introduce the movie.

 

For more information you can visit the following websites:

[ AsianWiki — IMDbOfficial webVimeo —  Youtube ]

Dear Etranger © 2016 ????????????????? .

See also the comments of Mark Schilling (Japan Times) and Claude R. Blouin (Shomingeki).

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Noise

Eight years have passed since the Akihabara massacre. A pop star whose mother was killed in the incident, a teenager who left her home of Akihabara, a delivery boy who turns his anger to the city. This is a story about the characters striving to grasp the string of hope within the darkness surrounding the city, the incident, and the people.

 

 

WARNING: May contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot’s elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.

In this movie we see Japan like we rarely see it in movies: people being poor, homeless, destitute, at their wits’ end. Japan is interiorizing everything, hiding the pain, the ugliness and sometimes the boil needs to burst. The Akihabara massacre wasn’t the cause of anything, it was a symptom. It also shows the ugly underside of Akihabara, the low level idols that are struggling, the delivery guys who deliver goods by feet because they lost their driving licenses in accidents, the almost-sex industry exploiting young girls, etc.

This docudrama is interesting because this director is willing to show us what others wouldn’t dare: the price Japan is paying for past economic crises and for a rigid society that must always preserve the appearance. Unfortunately, this young director is lacking the skills to express all this in a beautiful, well-organized manner. The result is a loud (it’s called noise isn’t it?), disjointed, awkward, disorganized movie. There are too many characters, scenes transition that comes without warning or coherence which makes the story quite difficult to follow. However, it is  compelling and the actors’ play is excellent.

It is a hard movie that requires patience like most unpolished gems. In the end, it gets easier to understand as we get to know each character better. Noise has potential with such an interesting subject and its great acting, but it unfortunately doesn’t succeed to be artistically good enough. However, it is entertaining and well worth watching.

Noise : Japan, 2017, 124 mins; Dir.: Yusaku MATSUMOTO; Cast: Kokoro Shinozaki, Urara Anjo, Kosuke Suzuki, Kentaro Kishi, Takashi Nishina, Kenji Kohashi, Hiroshi Fuse.

Film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival on August 25th, 2017 (Cinema du Parc 1, 20:15 — the attendance was around fifteen people out of a capacity of about two-hundred seats) as part of the “First Feature Competition” segment. There was no production team member to introduce the movie or do a Q&A.

For more information you can visit the following websites:

[ IMDbOfficial WebVimeoYoutube ]

Noise © ?Noise?????? 2017. All rights reserved.

See also the comment on this movie by Claude R. Blouin (in french).

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Japanese movies at the FFM 2017

There are only four Japanese movies at the Montreal World Film Festival this year. You will find bellow all the details we could find on each of them:

World Competition / Film en compétition

Dear Etranger (?????????? / Osanago Warera ni umare / lit. “Children born to us”): Japan,  2017, 127 mins; Dir.: Yukiko Mishima; Scr.: Haruhiko Arai (based on a novel by Kiyoshi Shigematsu); Cast: Rena Tanaka, Tadanobu Asano, Miu Arai, Narushi Ikeda, Raiju Kamata, Kankurô Kudô, Sara Minami, Shingo Mizusawa, Shinobu Terajima.

Based on the novel from Kiyoshi Shigematsu, this is the story of Makoto Tanaka, a 40-years-old who has remarried. His wife is Nanae and they care for 2 daughters from Nanae’s prior marriage. Makoto tries to have an ordinary family but Nanae becomes pregnant and things are bound to change.

Schedule : Cinema Imperial — Fri 09/01 19:00 / Cinema Imperial — Sun 09/03 11:00.

[ AsianWiki — IMDbVimeo —  Youtube ]

First Feature Competition / Compétition des premières oeuvres

Noise : Japan, 2017, 124 mins; Dir.: Yusaku MATSUMOTO; Cast: Kokoro Shinozaki, Urara Anjo, Kosuke Suzuki, Kentaro Kishi, Takashi Nishina, Kenji Kohashi, Hiroshi Fuse.

Eight years have passed since the Akihabara massacre. A pop star whose mother was killed in the incident, a teenager who left her home of Akihabara, a delivery boy who turns his anger to the city. This is a story about the characters striving to grasp the string of hope within the darkness surrounding the city, the incident, and the people.

Schedule : Cinema du Parc 3 — Fri 08/25 10:00 / Cinema du Parc 1 — Fri 08/25 20:15 / Cinema Dollar 1 — Sat 08/26 21:00.

[ IMDbOfficial WebVimeoYoutube ]

Focus on World Cinema / Regards sur les Cinéma du Monde

Nightscape : S. Korea / Japan, 2017, 71 min.; Dir.: In-chun Oh.

Based on a true event. There was a new team chasing after a suspicious Taxi. It started with just a small suspicion. But… what happened to them that midnight?

Schedule : Cinema Dollar 2 — Sat 08/26 21:00 / Cinema du Parc 3 — Thu 08/31 12:00 / Cinema du Parc 3 — Mon 09/04 17:00.

[ IMDbOfficial webVimeo teaser 1Vimeo teaser 2 ]

Shorts / Courts métrages

No song to sing : Japan / United Kingdom, 2017, 24 min.; Dir./Phot.: Lukasz Gasiorowski; Scr.: Maiko Takeda; Ed.: Masahiro Hirakubo; Mus.: Ewen Bremner; Cast: Make Takeda, Takuji Suzuki, Shinjiro Takahashi, Nobuyuki Kobayashi, Kayo Takeda, Ryubun Sumori, Issei Yamashita, Kenichi Masuda.

Natsu, a professional femme fatale works for a typical Tokyo “Telephone Date Club”. She enjoys selling fantasies to lonely men, but as she becomes emotionally entangled in the web of her own deceptions, she finds herself unable to pay the price of her own merchandise.

Schedule : Cinema du Parc 3 — Sun 08/27 16:00 / Cinema du Parc 3 — Tue 08/29 16:15 / Cinema Dollar 2 — Sun 09/03 21:00.

[ IMDbOfficial webVimeo ]

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FFM Update

The 41st edition of the Festival des Films du Monde is offering us this year only ninety-two movies and forty-two shorts from countries all over the world. It might be a reduced formula (no printed program, no press room, no film market) but, still, no other festival could offers such diversity.

The information has finally finished to trickle down and we now know the complete list of the movies to be screened and their schedule. Unfortunately, aficionado of Japanese cinema will feel a little short-changed this year as the lists includes only FOUR Japanese movies:

The movies will be screened in three theatres:

Day 1: I went to see my first movie tonight, Noise. The theatre was almost empty, but that’s to be expected for a Japanese movie on a Friday night. I have taken notes on the bus ride on my way back, and I’ll post my comments on the movie as soon as I can. However, I will not see much movies this year: the one in competition for sure (Dear Etranger), but I’ll see for the other two (a horror movie and a short ?). The first day went smoothly so, even with the minimalist organisation, the festival seems to be doing well (I guess that with the experience of last year’s disaster they were better prepared this time). I hope it will continue and get better in the future. This year is the eighteeth time I have been covering and reporting on the FFM and I wish I’ll reach the twentieth time…

Here is what they say about the FFM in the news:

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FFM – First Film World Competition

Today, the FFM announced the nineteen movies included in the First Film World competition. There is one Japanese movie in the list:

Noise : Japan, 2017, 124 mins; Dir.: Yusaku MATSUMOTO; Cast: Kokoro Shinozaki, Urara Anjo, Kosuke Suzuki, Kentaro Kishi, Takashi Nishina, Kenji Kohashi, Hiroshi Fuse.

Eight years have passed since the Akihabara massacre. A pop star whose mother was killed in the incident, a teenager who left her home to Akihabara, a delivery boy who turns his directionless anger to the city. This is a story about the characters striving to grasp the string of hope within the darkness surrounding the city, the incident, and the people.

[ IMDbOfficial WebVimeoYoutube ]

No screening schedule has been announced yet. We will post more information as it becomes available.

Here is what they say about the FFM in the news:

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FFM Schedule

The schedule for the competition movies has been posted last night. Those screenings will be held at the  Imperial Cinema. The schedule for the screenings at the Cinema du Parc and Dollar Cinema will be announced later.

The only Japanese movie in Competition will screen at the Imperial on Friday September 1st at 19:00 with English subtitles and on Sunday September 3rd at 11:00 with French subtitles.

DEAR ETRANGER (?????????? / Osanago Warera ni umare): Japan, 2017, 127 mins; Dir.: Yukiko Mishima; Scr.: Haruhiko Arai (based on a novel by Kiyoshi Shigematsu); Cast: Rena Tanaka, Tadanobu Asano, Miu Arai, Narushi Ikeda, Raiju Kamata, Kankurô Kudô, Sara Minami, Shingo Mizusawa, Shinobu Terajima.

Based on the novel from Kiyoshi Shigematsu, this is the story of Makoto Tanaka, a 40-years-old who has remarried. His wife is Nanae and they care for 2 daughters from Nanae’s prior marriage. Makoto tries to have an ordinary family but Nanae becomes pregnant and things are bound to change.

[ AsianWiki / IMDb / Youtube ]

We will post more information as it become available.

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