World firsts and retrospectives at 32nd Tiff

The Tokyo International Film Festival returns with a feast of cinema from all around the world

The Tokyo International Film Festival (Tiff) is back, and as ever, it features a fantastic line-up of Japanese and international cinematic treats. The 32nd edition of Tiff, one of the biggest film fests in Asia, will be held at Roppongi Hills and other venues throughout Tokyo from Monday until Nov 5.

Opening this year's festival is the world premiere of Tora-san, Wish You Were Here by Yoji Yamada. Marking beloved character Tora-san's long-awaited return to the big screen after 22 years, Tora-san, Wish You Were Here is the 50th entry in the film series, which began all the way back in 1969, and features brand new footage and 4K restored images. There will also be a gala screening of Talking The Pictures by Masayuki Suo, about a man who dreams of becoming a narrator for silent movies.

The festival's Crosscut Asia section will feature a selection of Southeast Asian films, ranging from thrillers to romantic horrors. Notable titles include The Halt by Lav Diaz, a sci-fi depicting a post-apocalyptic Manila set in the near future. Tatami and Mother's Love from HBO's Folklore anthology series will also feature.

From Thailand, Sisters (Krasue Siam) brings a modern interpretation of this age-old Thai ghost story to international audiences. Other Thai films that will be shown at the festival are Where We Belong by Kongdej Jaturanrasmee and Motel Acacia, an international co-production with Bradley Liew.

Fans of anime will be excited by the Tiff Plus section, which charts the evolution of Japanese animation and VFX. This starts with The White Snake Enchantress, the country's first coloured animation, released in 1958, and includes modern hits like Weathering With You, Ride Your Wave (now showing in Thai cinemas) and Children Of The Sea (set for an Oct 31 release here). There will also be an accompanying exhibition on Japanese animated film history at Roppongi Academyhills.

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi will serve as jury president. The international competition jury will be made up of American producer Bill Gerber, French producer Julie Gayet, Danish director Michael Noer and Japanese director Ryuichi Hiroki. Thai filmmaker Pimpaka Towira (Island Funeral), meanwhile, is a jury member in the Asian Future category.

Alicia Vikander (Tomb Raider) will also attend the festival to promote her latest film Earthquake Bird, which will be released on Netflix next month.

Some recommended titles at Tiff 2019

A Beloved Wife.

A Beloved Wife

(Japan)

Shin Adachi, writer of the award-winning sports drama 100 Yen Love, directs this film based on his semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Turning his own self-torment into laughter, this romantic dramedy revolves around an unemployed screenplay writer and his family. When he has to travel to write a new screenplay, he proposes a family trip with his wife and daughter. The film stars Gaku Hamada, Asami Mizukawa and Chise Niitsu.

Chaogtu With Sarula.

Chaogtu With Sarula

(China)

Mongolian couple Sarula and Chaogtu live an ordinary life on the prairie. But while Sarula is content with this simplicity, her husband Chaogtu craves something more and longs to break free of their monotonous lifestyle. Their relationship becomes strained by their opposing desires in this rich drama which depicts a traditional way of life clashing with the onset of modernity. The film is directed by Wang Rui.

La Llorona.

La Llorona

(Guatemala and France)

Directed by Guatemalan filmmaker Jayro Bustamante (Ixcanul), La Llorona is a depiction of oppressed women seeking revenge. A former dictator accused of genocide manages to avoid justice. But when a mysterious woman arrives to replace one of the servants, his household becomes beset by horrific occurrences. Also known as The Weeping Woman, it is inspired by a Latin American ghost story.

Old Men Never Die.

Old Men Never Die

(Iran)

Reza Jamali brings his directorial debut for its world premiere at the festival. This compelling drama is set in a village where nobody has died for decades, and those that remain are mostly elderly and disabled men. Aslan, now 100 years old, and his friends are so tired of life that they begin to contemplate suicide as a way out. The film stars Nader Mahdilou, Hamdollah Salimi and Salman Abbasi.

In This Corner (And Other Corners) Of The World

In This Corner (And Other Corners) Of The World

(Japan)

An extended version of the beautiful 2016 anime In This Corner Of The World, this take on the story provides further insights into the lives of the people around Suzu, the film's protagonist. We follow Suzu, a young woman who lives with her husband's family, and the details of her life before, during and after World War II. The new version features sequences from the original comic, plus scenes from the previous film. It is directed by Sunao Katabuchi.

The Painted Bird.

The Painted Bird

(Czech Republic, Ukraine and Slovakia)

Václav Marhoul directs this black-and-white war drama, adapted from Jerzy Kosinski's novel of the same name. A young Jewish boy is left to fend for himself in a primitive and hostile Eastern Europe at the close of World War II. The film's brutal depiction of wartime horrors has led to walkouts from some audience members at some screenings. It stars newcomer Petr Kotlár as the boy.


For more information on the 32nd Tokyo International Film Festival, visit 2019.tiff-jp.net.