The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) today unveiled the lineups in all sections, as well as announcing the jury members and highlights of this year’s 32nd edition.
At a press conference at Roppongi Academyhills Tower Hall in Tokyo, Festival Chairman Hiroyasu ANDO and Festival Director Takeo HISAMATSU delivered opening remarks and discussed the festival’s focus on Japan. Festival Muse Alice Hirose appeared on video, and wished audiences a “fateful encounter or two with a wonderful film” during the festival.
TIFF’s programing directors then took the stage to introduce the lineup for each section of the festival.
In the Competition section, 14 films* were selected from among 1,804 titles from 115 countries and regions. Representing the two Japanese titles in this main competitive section, director Shin ADACHI from A Beloved Wife, and director Macoto TEZKA from Tezuka’s Barbara, were welcomed on stage and made remarks.
→ The full Competition section lineup
This year’s International Competition Jury members were also announced. Actress ZHANG Ziyi (China) will serve as Jury President, alongside producer Bill GERBER (USA), actor and producer Julie GAYET (France), director Michael NOER (Denmark), and director Ryuichi HIROKI (Japan).
→ 32nd jury members for the Competition and other sections
Acclaimed playwright and screenplay writer Kazuki NAKASHIMA, co-writer of Promare, one of the films in the Japanese Animation section, greeted the audience after the lineup of the section was announced. He will appear at TIFF talk sessions with special guests following his related screenings, Promare and the Ultra Q series.
→ The full lineup of the Japanese Animation section and information on special guests
At the end of the press conference, director Yoji YAMADA from 32nd TIFF’s Opening Film, Tora-san, Wish You Were Here, appeared on stage as a special guest and made remarks.
→ The full Special Screenings section lineup
During the 9-day celebration, 170 films will be screened and unique film-related events will be held every day at the festival venues, including stage appearances, Q&A sessions and symposia featuring celebrated guests from around the world.
The 32nd TIFF will take place October 28 to November 5, 2019 at Roppongi Hills, EX Theater Roppongi, Hibiya Step Square and other venues in Tokyo.
Quotes from Press Conference Guests
–Yoji YAMADA, Director, Tora-san, Wish You Were Here, Opening Film
I feel like I spent 50 years making this film. If I may say so, I’m very proud of this film. I saw the finished film and I was very moved by it. Some people asked me if I used CG to recreate Tora-san. We remastered the prints from 40 or 50 years ago, and they look exactly like a new print. That’s the beauty of digital. While editing, until the very end of the process, I was second- and third-guessing myself. But it was fun, and I enjoyed editing very much. I don’t think other directors have done this, spending 50 years on a series. I never switched the actors, they aged along with the films. When I was writing the screenplay and directing, there were a lot of things I didn’t quite figure out until the editing process. Akira Kurosawa always said that films are combination of cuts, and magic brings them together. Maybe I felt a little of that magic as well. If Kiyoshi Atsumi was here to see it, I think he might say, “Yamada-san, you did a good job.”
–Macoto TEZKA, Director, Tezuka’s Barbara, Competition Section
All the films I’ve created recently have been shown in TIFF, but this is my first Competition selection, so I’m very excited. Among my father’s works, this was a uniquely Osamu-like manga. I found that my father’s story and my own sensitivity fused together really well. [Because the story is controversial] I offered the two protagonists’ roles to several actors, but many were reluctant to take them on. So I’m grateful to Goro Inagaki and Fumi Nikaido. They really inhabited the characters with their entire physical and mental beings.
–Kazuki NAKASHIMA, Screenplay writer, Promare, Japanese Animation Section
Promare opened in theaters 4 months ago, but it’s still incredibly popular, thanks to crazy, devoted fans. I’m so happy it will be shown at this international film festival, so everyone can enjoy participating in the screening, shouting and cheering along with the film’s characters. While the animation looks very simple, it isn’t. It respects the past, but it’s using the latest technology. I also did a screenplay for the Ultraman Max series, and with 4K projection, we’ll be able to see everything up close. I’m honored that my work is going to be screened.
–Shin ADACHI, Director, A Beloved Wife, Competition Section
I was happy to be selected, but I was also surprised. It’s only my second film, and since it’s a comedy, I wasn’t sure if it could be a Competition film. The role played by Gaku Hamada is me, essentially, although I was a much worse husband than in the film. I didn’t have to direct Asami Mizukawa much because I knew she was the best fit for the role. Before they came to the set, I invited them both to my home so they could see my house and my family. I told Ms. Mizukawa to really torment her husband with all her might, and she did. But my wife is two times scarier than the way she appears onscreen. This married couple are independent strangers, but they show the most embarrassing parts of themselves to each other. There isn’t just anger, there’s also love.
Quotes from the TIFF Chairman, Director, Programmers and Advisors
–Hiroyasu ANDO, Chairman, 32nd TIFF
I’m honored to be serving as the inaugural chairman of TIFF this year. A lot of people ask what a film festival should be. I believe it should be a place where people who love films can gather to watch all the films we’ve brought together, and to think about their lives. We have a great lineup this year. For myself, I’m personally looking forward to Yamada’s Tora-san, Wish You Were Here. I’m delighted that it’s the Opening Film. Mr. Yamada made the first Tora-san film in 1962 and for many years, made a new film every 6 months. He has talked about shifting the gears in this first year of the Reiwa Era, and I also believe it’s a good time to shift gears to a new direction.
–Takeo HISAMATSU, Festival Director, 32nd TIFF
We are following the vision that we established for TIFF two years ago, and our three poles — to be expansive, empowering and enlightening — were the keys for the selection of the films. Next month, the new emperor’s enthronement ceremony will be held, and guests will be coming to Japan from all over the world. We also have the Tokyo Olympics next year, which has drawn a lot of attention to Japan. So we’ve also decided to highlight Japan in this year’s TIFF. We are opening with Yoji Yamada’s Tora-san, Wish You Were Here, and we also have a Gala screening of Masayuki Suo’s Talking the Pictures. Japan Now will feature legendary filmmaker Nobuhiko Obayashi, and in the Classics section, we’ll focus on legendary actress Machiko Kyo, who passed away earlier this year. We’ve created a new section, Japanese Animation, to deepen and broaden our coverage of this form. Also we’ll look at the VFX evolution in Japan and we’re having a collaborative event featuring 5G technology. So Japanese films and culture will be highlighted, which I think will be significant for everyone.
–Yoshi YATABE, International Competition and Japanese Cinema Splash Programming Director
There are three keywords this year: challenging, inspiring and entertaining. We believe all 14 of the films, almost all either debut films or second features, will be stimulating to audiences in these three ways. The stories include a tale about a war photographer, a war-scarred veteran, a young woman coping with her family’s fundamentalist religion, a man struggling with physical disabilities, and police fighting drug cartels. We have two Japanese films in competition, a unique fantasy adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s work (Tezuka’s Barbara), and a great comedy based on the director’s own life (A Beloved Wife). This year’s Japanese Cinema Splash section is very exciting, with a lot of young filmmakers making their first features. We also have two documentaries from veteran directors Tatsuya Mori and Kazuo Hara, so it will be interesting to see these veterans along with the emerging filmmakers.
→ The full Competition section lineup
→ The full Japanese Cinema Splash section lineup
–Kenji ISHIZAKA, Asian Future and CROSSCUT ASIA Programming Director
We have eight films in the Asian Future section this year, all by promising young Asian directors. Six of them are world premieres, and the other two are international premieres. I didn’t intentionally do this, but there are multiple works from several countries. There seems to be a polarization happening in Asia, with big commercial films and smaller, fresher films like these. In these films, you will see the reality of the lives of people in the countries represented, a reality that you can’t see on the news, and we hope to continue supporting these types of work. In this sixth collaborative year with the Japan Foundation Asia Center, we have 10 films from Southeast Asia, which is really a paradise of horror films, with each country having a signature type of ghost story. We have selected exciting, interesting films, three of which have been directed by females. They can be considered genre films, but each film embeds the culture, history and even the future, in their stories.
→ The full Asian Future section lineup
→ The full CROSSCUT ASIA section lineup
–Kohei ANDO, Japan Now Programming Advisor
This year we will focus on Nobuhiko Obayashi, whom we are calling the Wizard of Cinema. Despite fighting cancer for the past few years, he has continued to vigorously create films. We wish we could show many more of his works, but we are restricted to just five. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Obayashi and some of his stars during the festival. Among the other nine films in this section, there are three very powerful films by first-time directors, and other wonderful works from emerging and already-acclaimed directors.
→ The full Japan Now section lineup
–Ryusuke HIKAWA, Japanese Animation Programming Advisor
We’ve now turned this into an independent section, rather than focusing on certain directors or types of animated film. Combining animation and VFX this year, we will look at epic, turning-point works like The White Snake Enchantress, Aim for the Best and Akira. The remaining five films evolved during the Heisei period, when animation really came into its own. There are common themes, but different approaches to the storytelling. We’ll also look at the evolution of VFX through the Ultraman Archives Ultra Q series, all being shown in 4K, so we can understand why these works were so influential to Japanese animation.
→ The full Japanese Animation: The Evolution of Japanese Animation / VFX section lineup