The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre’s 6th annual Toronto Japanese Film Festival will be held from June 8 to 28 and features over 20 films including many International, North American and Canadian premieres.
Now in its sixth year, the festival showcases the finest Japanese films that have been recognized for excellence by Japanese audiences and critics, international film festival audiences and the Japanese Film Academy. The festival’s program includes popular genres such as historical (samurai) jidaigeki, contemporary dramas, comedies and action, literary adaptations, children’s, art-house and anime films. Screenings are accompanied by musical performances, sake tastings, martial arts demonstrations, art exhibitions and of course, delicious sushi.
Some highlights of the 2017 Japanese Film Festival include:
FUELED – THE MAN CALLED PIRATE
Director, Takashi Yamazaki – Canadian Premiere
Opening Night: Thursday, June 8, 7:30pm
With a workforce decimated by the war, and foreign governments sealing oil transportation routes, maverick oil company president Tetsuzo Kunioka risks international incident by commandeering a large scale oil tanker and secretly sending it to Iran, earning himself the moniker “pirate.” A thrilling true story and study of the Japanese spirit of resiliency featuring an all-star cast including Junichi Okada, Haruka Ayase, Shota Sometani, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Kaoru Kobayashi.
The true story of Satoshi Murayama, the shogi (Japanese chess) master who died of an intractable disease at age 29. Satoshi devoted his life to fighting not only the disease but also his rivals, feverishly pursuing the highest title, at risk to his life. Kenichi Matsuyama intense central performance was nominated for a Japanese Academy Award. With Director Mori in attendance.
THE HONNOJI HOTEL
Director, Masayuki Suzuki
Thursday, June 15, 7:30pm
This film mixes history, comedy and samurai action. A young woman mysteriously time-slips from her Kyoto hotel to the 16th century court of Oda Nobunaga, one of Japan’s most important historical figures, on the night before his final battle and overthrow.
Director, Tai Kato
Monday, June 12, 7pm
Thirty-five years after its heralded premiere and subsequent disappearance from public view, Tai Kato’s documentary masterpiece Za Ondekoza returned at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival. The film tells the story of the co-founding members of Ondekoza, a group of young musician, living communally in Sado Island who created the Japanese traditional taiko drumming style that has since become internationally famous. Members went on to become the legendary Kodo Drummers of Japan. The film will be introduced by Sado-trained drummer Kiyoshi Nagata and followed by a performance by Canada’s premiere taiko ensemble, Nagata Shachu.
SAMURAI HUSTLE RETURNS
Director Katsuhide Motoki
Saturday, June 10, 7pm
Penniless country bumpkins Lord Naito and his samurai have just managed to complete their ritual visit to the capital when they learn villages and families are under attack from arch-nemesis, Lord Nobutoki. They must hike up their kimonos and sprint across Japan in two days to take up the fight.
Other films include Sang-il Lee’s RAGE, Junji Sakamoto’s DANCHI, Yasuhiro Yoshida’s BIRTHDAY WISHES, Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi’s SHIN GODZILLA, Norihiro Koizumi’s CHIHAYAFURU PARTS I and II, Joji Matsuoka’s MIDNIGHT DINER PARTS I and II, and a special August screening of Kenji Kamiyama’s ANCIEN AND THE MAGIC TABLET.
All films at the Toronto Japanese Film Festival are screened at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. For full film and event listings, box office information, and schedule, please visit jccc.on.ca.