The 39th edition of the Montreal World Film Festival will take place from August 27th to September 7th 2015,
This year there was no real press conference about the programming and instead the festival unveiled the line-up of films in the World Competition and the First Films Competition through press releases and a virtual press conference where both domestic and international media could simultaneously participate in an online Q&A session. So far, since then, the information has been trickling down little by little and we don't know much about the festival programming. They said that “A digital age requires a digital solution,” but I guess it has also a lot to do with the lack of subsidies and the resulting reduced staff. I don't mind a little austerity as long at it gets the festival going and brings us the diversified, quality cinema the festival is renown for.
We know that, this year, a record number of short films were submitted; that the opening movie will be Muhammad, the latest film by renowned Iranian director Majid Majidi; that this year's festival will offer movies from over 86 countries; that the competition line-up will includes 26 Feature films from 31 countries for the World Competition, plus 25 more movies for the First Feature Competition, and that both competitions will include 36 World Premieres; we know the composition of both the jury for the Grand Prize of the Americas and the jury for the First Feature Prize; finally, a couple of days after the virtual press conference, the festival announced that twenty-four features from a score of countries will be shown in the World Greats (out of competition) category.
Here our interest is mostly with the Japanese movies. At first, with the festival press releases and an article in the august edition of Coco Montreal, we determined that the festival would show at least fourteen Japanese movies. However, with the release of the schedule we astonishingly discovered that a record-breaking number of Japanese movies will be shown this year: seventeen (twenty-one if we count a Liberian movie with a Japanese director, a four-minute short and two documentaries)! See the films index for details. (updated 2015-08-21)
Be careful, the schedule of some movies has changed (updated 2015-08-28).
Coco Montreal have put a more detailed article (this time with english and french translation) on the festival's Japanese movies in their September issue (available both in the issuu.com flash version and on their Facebook page). [updated 2015-09-01]
You can now read some comments about the Festival's Japanese movies (in french) in the first part of the article by my esteemed colleague Claude R. Blouin on the blog Shomingeki. [updated 2015-09-03]
You will find, after the jump, a list of all those movies (plus a few useful links — of course, more details and links will be added as the information become available):
- Gassoh (??): Japan, 2015, 87 mins; Dir.: Tatsuo Kobayashi; Scr.: Aya Watanabe (based on the manga by Hinako Sugiura); Phot.: Hitoshi Takaya; Music: Asa-Chang; Cast: Yuya Yagira (Kiwamu Akitsu), Koji Seto (Masanosuke Yoshimori), Amane Okayama (Teijiro Fukuhara), Joe Odagiri, Mugi Kadowaki, Minami Sakurai, Kai Inowaki, Yuko Takayama, Reiko Fujiwara, Daisuke Ryu, Rie Minemura, Mantaro Koichi, Lily.
The final resistance to the dismantling of the Togugawa Shogunate at the end of the Edo period and the futile struggles of three young men who participated in the Shougitai resistance.
First Feature Competition / Compétition de premières oeuvres
- Dear Deer (????????): Japan, 2015, 107 mins; Dir.: Takeo Kikuchi; Scr.: Noriaki Sugihara; Ed.: Azusa Yamazaki; Music: Takuro Okada; Cast: Yuri Nakamura (Akiko), Yoichiro Saito (Yoshio), Shota Sometani (Fujio), Kôji Kiryû, Rinko Kikuchi, Yûrei Yanagi, Takeshi Yamamoto, Wakana Matsumoto, Yasushi Masaoka.
When their claim to have seen a phantom deer is debunked, three young siblings are denigrated. Now, 25 years later, their father dying, the wounds are still raw.
Schedule: Thu 9/03 11:00 QL9; Fri 9/04 16:00 QL9.
You can read my comments.
- Kagura-me (????): Japan, 2015, 112 mins; Dir.: Yasuo Okuaki; Scr.: Yasuo Okuaki & Nozomu Namba; Music: Kôji Igarashi; Phot.: Hiroshi Iwanaga; Prod. Des.: Takashi Yoshida; Cast: Tomomitsu Adachi, Mayumi Asaka, Masayuki Imai, Tsunehiko Kamijô, Mei Kurokawa, Ryoichi Kusanagi, Ryû Morioka, Nanako Ohkôchi, Maki Seko, Masayuki Shida, Keiko Shirasu, Rina Takeda, Ryoko Takizawa, Mariko Tsutsui, Ren Ôsugi.
A woman bears a 13-year grudge with her father over the traditional dance he was performing that caused him to be absent from her mother's death.
Schedule: Fri 8/28 9:00 QL9; Sat 8/29 15:00 QL9.
- Lost and found (?????????? / Hoshigaoka Wonderland): Japan, 2015, 111 mins; Dir.: Show Yanagisawa; Scr.: Show Yanagisawa, Koko Maeda; Phot.: Keisuke Imamura; Ed.: Etsuko Kimura; Music: Takashi Watanabe; Cast: Tomoya Nakamura (Atsuto Seo), Nozomi Sasaki (Nanami Kiyokawa), Yoshino Kimura (Sawako Kiyokawa—Atsuto's mother), Masaki Suda (Yuya Kiyokawa), Anne Watanabe (Detective Tsunako Obayashi), Hayato Ichihara (Jingo Kusunoki), Hirofumi Arai (Tetsundo Seo—Atsuto's older brother), Yutaka Matsushige (Touji Seo—Atsuto's father).
When Haruto learns that his long estranged mother committed suicide in an amusement park he immediately suspects foul play.
- Neboke (???): Japan, 2015, 115 mins; Dir./Scr./Phot./Ed.: Norihito Iki; Music: Yusuke Orita; Cast: Yasushi Tomobe, Irifunetei Senryu, Kana Ohtake, Maki Murakami, Yuji Akiyama.
Sangoroh, a rakugo artist, has a drinking problem and is annoyed by his partner Manami’s pestering him about it. Can he get his life in order before it’s too late.
World Great (Out of Competition) / Hors-concours
- Blood Bead (????/ Akai Tama / Perle de sang): Japan, 2015, 108 min.; Dir./Scr.: Banmei Takahashi; Music: Gorô Yasukawa; Phot.: Shinji Ogawa; Ed.: Kan Suzuki; Cast: Eiji Okuda (Shuji Tokita), Fujiko (Yui Oba), Yukino Murakami (Ritsuko Kitakoji), Shota Hanaoka (Kenichi Yajima), Shiori Doi (Aiko Kato), Tasuku Emoto (Aoyama), Keiko Takahashi (Yuriko).
Tokita would rather be making movies than teaching about them in film school. But it pays the bills and there’s always Yui, the pretty school secretary. Then Ritsuko enters his life...
Schedule: Fri 8/28 10:00 QL10; Sat 8/29 19:00 QL10.
- The Next Generation Patlabor — Tokyo War (The Next Generation ????? ? ???? / Patoreiba: Shuto Kessen / Lit. “Patlabor: Decisive battle over the capital”): Japan, 2015, 93 min.; Dir./Scr.: Mamoru Oshii; Phot.: Hiroshi Machida, Tetsuya Kudo; Art Dir.: Anri Jojo; Ed.: Yoshinori Ohta; Music: Kenji Kawai; Labor Design: Hideki Hashimoto, Katsuya Terada; Cast: Toshio Kakei (Keiji Gotoda), Erina Mano (Akira Izumino), Seiji Fukushi (Yuma Shiobara), Rina Ohta (Kasya), Shigeru Chiba (Shigeo Shiba), Kanna Mori (Rei Haihara), Kotaro Yoshida (Onodera), Reiko Takashima (Kei Takahata), Yoshinori Horimoto (Isamu Otawara), Shigekazu Tajiri (Hiromichi Yamazaki), Kohei Shiotsuka (Shinji Mikiya), Yoshikazu Fujiki (Yoshikatsu Buchiyama).
In a world where giant robots are built and used for labour, a special police force of robots is created to handle crimes relating to these machines: the Patrol Labor.
Schedule: Sat 8/29 9:30 QL9; Sun 8/30 21:30 QL9.
You can read my comments.
Focus on World Cinema
- At home (??????): Japan, 2015, 110 min.; Dir.: Hiroshi Chono; Scr.: Teruo Abe (based on the novel by Takayoshi Honda); Music: Takatsugu Muramatsu; Phot.: Shinya Kimura; Ed.: Osamu Suzuki; Prod. Des.: Shin Nakayama; Cast: Yutaka Takenouchi (Thief), Yasuko Matsuyuki (Swindler), Kentaro Sakaguchi (Jun Moriyama), Yuina Kuroshima (Asuka Moriyama), Yuto Ikeda (Takashi Moriyama), Jun Kunimura, Itsuji Itao, Seiji Chihara.
A father, a mother, an elder son, a daughter and a younger son. A family of five. For all appearances, a perfectly normal, happy family. But none of them related.
- Blowing in the wind of Vietnam (??????????? / Betonamu No Kaze Ni Fukarete): Japan/Vietnam, 2015, 116 min.; Dir.: Tat Binh & Kazuki Omori; Scr.: Kazuki Omori, Uichiro Kitazaki (based on a novel by Miyuki Komatsu); Phot.: Koichi Saito; Ed.: Naoki Kaneko; Music: Tetsuro Kashibuchi; Cast: Eiji Okuda, Akira Emoto, Kôji Kikkawa, Keiko Matsuzaka, Yôsuke Saitô, Reiko Kusamura, Yûya Takayama, Shigehiro Yamaguchi, Reina Fujie, Yoneko Matsukane, Tan Nhuong, Lan Huong, Tan Hanh.
When Misao returns to Japan from Vietnam for her father’s funeral, she sees that her mother is becoming forgetful, even a bit senile. Can a change of scenery help?
Schedule: Fri 8/28 9:30 QL12; Sat 8/29 21:30 QL12.
You can read my comments.
- Decline of an assassin (??????????/ Norainu ha dansu wo odoru / lit. “Stray dogs are dancing”): Japan, 2015, 100 min.; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Kubota Shouji; Phot.: Hiromitu Nishimura; Music: Ipeei Yogo; Cast: Yoshimasa Kondo, Keisuke Kato, Shogo Suzuki, Hidetoshi Kubota, Yuri Yanagi, Kouta Kusano.
After four decades as the reliable hitman for a criminal gang, Kurosawa is now making mistakes. It may be time to retire. But how can he ever return to “normal” life?
- Early Spring, Sakurajima (???? / Sakurajima soyun / Sakurajima early spring): Japan, 2015, 88 min.; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Hiroshi Toda: Phot.: Guillaume Tauveron, Hiroshi Toda; Music: Mica Toda; Cast: Yoichi Hayashi, Hitomi Wakahara, Kenkichi Nishi, Katsuhiko Nishi.
Back in his hometown after retirement, Takashi Arimura finds life depressing. On his wife’s suggestion he takes up painting. The world now looks very different.
Schedule: Sun 8/30 16:00 QL16; Mon 8/31 9:10 QL16.
You can read my comments.
- Haman (???/ slang blend, or portemanteau expression from ? [Ha, tooth] and ???? [Omanko, vagina] meaning toothed vagina): Japan, 2015, 95 min.; Dir./Scr.: Tetsuya Okabe; Phot.: Yumi Hasegawa; Ed.: Tetsuya Okabe; Music: HIR, Shintaro Mieda; Cast: Nonka Baba, Yusuke Kojima, Maki Mizui, Mukau Nakamura, Shoei Uno.
Love can be deadly but when Haruka decided to make love with her boyfriend she never expected it to be literally true. A dark fantasy about life, sex and love.
Schedule: Tue 9/01 15:50 QL16; Wed 9/02 20:30 QL16.
You can read my comments.
- Ninja Hunter (???? / Ninja Gari) : Japan, 2015, 96 min.; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Seiji Chiba; Phot.: Kenji Tanabe, Arsuchi Yoshida; Music: Kuniyuki Morohashi; Cast: Mitsuki Koga, Mei Kurogawa, Masanori Mimoto, Kentarö Shimazu, Kazuki Tsujimoto.
Four ninjas, forty corpses, four conflicting accounts. A ninja action tale with a Rashomon twist.
Schedule: Fri 8/28 16:00 QL12; Sat 8/29 9:00 QL12.
You can read my comments.
- Out of my hand: USA/Liberia, 2015, 87 min.; Dir.: Takeshi Fukunaga. Scr.: Takeshi Fukunaga & Donari Braxton; Phot.: Ryo Murakami, Owen Donovan; Ed.: Takeshi Fukunaga, Eugene Yi; Prod. Des.: Steve Grisé, Ioannis Socholakis; Music: Tyondai Braxton; Cast: Bishop Blay (Cisco), Zenobia Taylor (Joy), Duke Murphy Dennis (Francis), Rodney Rogers Beckley (Marvin), David Roberts (Jacob), Shelley Molad (Maria).
A struggling Liberian rubber plantation worker risks everything to discover a new life as a Yellow Cab driver in New York City.
- Shinjuku Midnight Baby (????????????): Japan, 2015, 141 mins; Dir./Scr./Phot.: Kazuhiro Teranishi (based on his own book); Ed.: Kiyomi Tochiya; Music: Daisuke Sunny;Cast: Shimako Iwai, Ginji Yoshikawa, Britney Hamada, Tomoko Nakajima, Kimin, Yukimi Watanabe, Hidetsugu Ohara, Marcos Tôma.
When the son of a government minister wants to be in Japan’s first gay marriage - to one of her political supporters, no less - a mysterious lawyer offers to help.
- Summer on the frontline (???? 15??? / Soman kokkyo 15 sai no natsu / Summer of 15 years old on the Soviet national border): Japan, 2015, 94 min.; Dir./Scr.: Tetsuya Matsushima (based on his own novel); Phot.: Kazuo Okuhara; Ed.: Seiichi Miyazawa; Music: Koji Ueno; Cast: Ryuuchiro Shibata, Anna Kijima, Min Tanaka, Isao Natsuyagi.
When the great earthquake of 2012 destroys his high school’s filmmaking equipment, Keisuke, 15, looks forward to a dull summer. He couldn’t be more mistaken.
- That’s It (???? / Soredake) : Japan, 2015, 110 min.; Dir.: Gakuryu Ishii; Scr.: Kiyotaka Inagaki; Phot.: Yoshiyuki Matsumoto; Music: Bloodthirsty Butchers; Cast: Shota Sometani, Erina Mizuno, Kiyoko Shibukawa, Jun Murakami, Go Ayano.
A young drifter hoping to escape from his social dead end, breaks into a gangster’s locker in search of gold. What he finds is a hard drive with very dangerous information.
- The Letters (????? / Popura no aki / lit. “Autumn poplar”): Japan, 2015, 98 min.; Dir./Scr./Ed.: Ken'ichi Ohmori (based on a novel by Kazumi Yumoto); Phot.: Masao Nakabori; Cast: Nene Ohtsuka, Tamao Nakamura, Miyu Honda.
Chiaki, 8, devastated by the death of beloved father, moves into an apartment whose landlady claims to be able to deliver letters to the dead.
- Yoko the cherry blossom (Yoko Zakura) : Japan, 2015, 115 min.; Dir./Scr.: Gen Takahashi; Phot.: Phil Harder; Ed.: Yoshinori Ota; Music: Benjamin Be’doussac; Cast: Takashi Sasano, Koji Matoba, Maki Miyamoto, Yuki Kazamatsuri.
The true story of a Japanese teacher's quest to create a hybrid cherry blossom, to fulfill a promise he made to his students before they were sent off to die in World War II.
- Alone in Fukushima (????????? / Naoto hitorikkiri): Japan, 2015, 98 min., Dir./Scr./Phot./Ed.: Mayu Nakamura; Music: Saho Terao; Sound: Masashi Furuya.
Alone in Fukushima is a feature length documentary about Naoto Matsumura, a man who remained alone in a no-man's land after the nuclear disaster. The film follows Naoto struggling to survive with the animals in a small town which Japan tries to erase from the map.
- Behind “The Cove” (?????????? / `Za k?vu' no uragawa): Japan, 2015, 110 min.; Dir./Scr./Phot./Ed.: Keiko Yagi.
Keiko Yagi never bothered to see the 2010 film THE COVE, thinking it just another exaggerated attack on Japan’s dolphin hunt. But she decided to see for herself.
- Master Blaster: Japan, 2015, 4 min.; Dir./Scr./Phot./Ed.: Sawako Kabuki.
An animated short in competition at the Student Film Festival. A girl would like to hide in her sweetheart’s anus, to be with him forever.
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