28th TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: SPECIAL EVENTS & PRESS CONFERENCES
28th TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: SPECIAL EVENTS & PRESS CONFERENCES
Along with their new focus to the diverse works of Japanese Cinema, while still being a platform to increase the exposure to young filmmakers throughout Asia and especially from their country, this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) packed with special events and lots of exciting press conferences. Not only to put more highlights of the festival in its international status and well-acknowledged world movie celebration, these events and conferences, including special talk events worked as a strong ways to the exposure, where all the guests could share their thoughts to the audience, from the media to loyal fans beyond boundaries.
THE INTERNATIONAL JURY MEMBERS PRESS CONFERENCE
No less than last year’s list of jury members lead by ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn, this year’s juries, led by Bryan Singer as the President of the Jury, still formed from various countries; and of course with an impressive range of festival awards and also box office successes mostly as directors or producers.
The press conference runs almost too serious in responding all the questions from the medias, still move around criterias for selecting winning films, the perceptions of a great selections in such international movie festival and each personal influences. Though so, this six members of the International jury really had good chemistry beyond Bryan Singer’s jokes through the conference, also when responded to Bent Hamer’s ‘Rashomon’- inspired premise idea of a dead man whose four ex-wives portray in different ways as Lawrence Kasdan’s classic ‘The Big Chill’ meets Zhang Yimou’s ‘Raise the Red Lantern’.
To Singer, as a high profilic director – producer of some of the most famous blockbuster franchise from ‘Superman Returns’ to ‘X-Men’, also an award quality films like ‘The Usual Suspects’ and ‘Apt Pupil’ who made him came to Japan in previous years, a great festival is a festival with a very diverse group of films, that isn’t afraid to take a variety of genres, and that isn’t pretentious. He said that how boring is a pretentious act, and tell that TIFF’s gonna be a very exciting one that spread many genres from drama, comedy, even horrors.
As this year’s TIFF selections to compete for the Tokyo Grand Prix, Special Jury Prize, Award for Best Director, Best Actress / Actor, and Artistic Contribution consists of 16 films, including for the first time in a decade – three Japanese movies, they said that Japanese films has played an important key role in their careeres and taste, from Yasujiro Ozu to Akira Kurosawa, and even modern ones.
About the influences, director Tran Anh Hung said that he was inspired by Mizoguchi, Ozu, Naruse, Kurosawa and as well Yanagimachi, Hashighuchi and Kore-eda from Japanese cinema. This too, why he directed the acclaimed adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s novel, ‘Norwegian Wood’, back in 2011. The legendary Kurosawa also mentioned by the other jury members, from Bryan Singer to the only Japanese jury, director Kazuki Omori. Omori said that Kurosawa-san’s ‘Red Beard’ once influenced him to go to medical school until he realized he wanted to become a film director and leaving for good. While Singer acclaimed that he had seen almost every Kurosawa’s films while studying at USC in the Little Tokyo Cinema there. He loved Japanese cinema from an early age and noted that Kurosawa was his inspiration along with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
Regarding the criteria of a good film, all the jury members agreed on one thing in common; films that can move and connected to them. Bent Hamer from last festival entry ‘1001 Grams’, also Norway’s official entry to the Oscar race, said that beside a filmmaker, in watching films, they’re also an audience, and not like sports, he felt it hard for films to compete in any art form.
The Oscar winning writer-director Susanne Bier added that a good movie is the one that can make you feel engaged and seduced by it. “You don’t want to forced into emotions, but you want to forget that you’re watching a movie. However, it’s a completely different platform at festivals, where the selected movies are not necessarily aimed at commercial audiences, so they can be sometimes tedious to some, but to other, fascinating”.
The other jury members that considered Japan is like her second home since she already visited Japan like hundred of times, Chinese producer Nansun Shi, explained that the connection in watching movies is very difficult to describe. Though she said, she will easily know which film that can enriches or enhances her in the right way, no matter what the genre is, the ones that moves her the most.
The most exciting thought might comes from Anh Hung, who said “For me, a good movie should has the right language to deal with its subject”, and the language he meant lies in the specific ways to tell the whole story. Omori added that he’s looking forward to see how the selected movies could convey the changes in the film industry, since the film industry itself has gone through many revolutionary changes.
The conference ended by a photo sessions over Singer’s joke to make the lineup looks like ‘The Usual Suspects’ poster. May they find the movies that can enriches, enhances and move them, as well as the one with specific language of its own.
THE 2nd SAMURAI AWARD SPECIAL TALK “IN PERSON: JOHN WOO”
From Tim Burton and Takeshi Kitano, the last year’s recipients of first established TIFF’s ‘Samurai Award’ which was given to filmmakers who continue to create groundbreaking films that carve a path to a new era, the award now handed to John Woo and legendary Japanese director Yoji Yamada. Pre-delivering the awarding ceremonial, this year’s ‘Samurai Award’ Special Talk Event featured John Woo in the same concept like last year’s event where the legendary director meets several young award-winning student filmmakers to share his thoughts and ideas in front of crowd-packed audience and the medias.
Woo, as we all known, is certainly the remarkable filmmaker that has pioneered the new benchmark in ‘80s Asian Action in modern style. All the glorified gunfights chaos that mostly throws Chow Yun-Fat to the very top of his career, slow motion – bloody violence in most police – friendship action melodrama with even more stylistic signatures that includes long jackets, black glasses, two guns showdown and even white doves, from HK genre cinema with timeless international reputations – ‘A Better Tomorrow’ trilogy, ‘The Killer’, ‘Hard Boiled’, ‘Bullet in the Head’ to Hollywood action blockbusters – ‘Hard Target’, ‘Broken Arrow’, ‘Face/Off’ and ‘Mission: Impossible 2’, all defines Woo’s incredible career before his return to Asia with more serious cultural content like ‘Red Cliff’ and the recent ‘The Crossing’ which some known as the Asian ‘Titanic’, but without ever losing the legacy and influences to nowadays action movies and filmmakers.
Held in the Academy Hills Tower Hall, Woo shared his thoughts and experience rumbling in the leading world action cinemas. Woo said that he first entered the HK film industry in the 1960s over his love to movies since he was a child. Since in ‘60s HK there were no film school, he read about movies at the library. Then, he learned to shot film, also making films not just as director but also write and produce, but never as easy as many gaps between senior and junior filmmakers in the industry. It was one of the manager of Cathay chain that first hired him as a scriptor. He admitted the influence came from Akira Kurosawa, David Lean, Sam Peckinpah and Jean-Pierre Melville. While Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’ and Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ influenced him the power to represent humanity through action in storytelling, Peckinpah’s classic western ‘The Wild Bunch’ taught him about the use in violence as styles and Melville’s Alain Delon feature ‘Le Samourai’ has given the love to European police – crime genre especially where the long-coat costumes style came from.
Woo then told that ‘A Better Tomorrow’ (1986) was his turning point as an action director. Before that, many crime movies has cliche lines with black and white portrayal between cops and gangsters, but Woo approach ‘A Better Tomorrow’ (released under the straightly badass title ‘Gangland Boss’ in Indonesian theatres) differently with its phenomenal ‘anti-hero with lots of heart’ characters in giving more message or values to the content. He felt thankful to producer Tsui Hark for giving him the freedom unlike any production system worked in HK movie industry. ‘A Better Tomorrow’ which then followed by two official sequels, opened his way to even more legendary action movies, mostly marked his long-collaboration with Chow Yun-fat in ‘The Killer’ – which Woo said truly a homage to Japanese director Teruo Ishii and Melville’s ‘Le Samourai’, and also ‘Hard Boiled’.
But ‘The Killer’ is the one that gave Woo chance to fly internationally and work in Hollywood, first with Jean-Claude Van Damme as his vehicle in ‘Hard Target’ after another four years. Though so, Woo, who once impressed by the US production system, found that it’s not easy to have pure freedom in production. Unlike in HK industry where the director usually has total power over the script and other creative decisions, in Hollywood, the A-list stars has more power to change his final ideas in wrapping the movies altogether. He still finds the same problem, not rarely became a clash, in his next Hollywood movie ‘Broken Arrow’ starred John Travolta and Christian Slater and also ‘Face/Off’ which marked his second collaboration with Travolta – paired with Nicolas Cage in his golden action era.
However, he then eventually won over the conflict in ‘Face/Off’ ending and made the movie became not only his most classic Hollywood film, but also huge hit and nominated for an Oscar in Sound Editing category. That movie, produced by Paramount Pictures & Touchstone with his ex-partner Terence Chang, finally giving him the creative freedom to control everything including the final word on editing, which quite unusual for a Hollywood blockbuster and might be owned by just five directors in the industry.
Quite long after directed Tom Cruise’s franchise vehicle ‘Mission: Impossible 2’ which panned by critics but still loved by the action fans, Woo finally decided to return to Hong Kong in 2008 to take part in China’s emergence as a major film production hub. Not only he was called to receive an award at first, he always wanted to encourage young filmmakers to Chinese film industry and introduce more of China-based movies. Answering the various questions from seven young Japanese directors about his style, methodology and philosophy, Woo claimed that in his films, emotions and humanity reflections is the most important thing over actions. He also said that a movie has to convey a sense of justice, too.
But the most exciting thing was when Woo explained his action style and his choice to action genre as his biggest expression. His love for musical genre, which until now he never conceived although almost happened once, runs beyond the beauty of Woo’s remarkably stylish action scenes. Mostly in editing his actions, which Woo considered as the most important part in designing action scenes, he listens to music, especially jazz or classics, so the actions, like music or dance, could runs in the right rhythms. He said “I decided the movement, the angle, the frame, everything, by the music”. All who really knew his action signature should’ve realize more about this rhythmic things, one that made the slo-mo in gunfights moves so beautifully convincing. There also, with his love to musicals, the process to convey humanity through the violence and bloody actions could blend perfectly. “Action is only one of the methodology, but the most important thing is humanity. Action can be transform into the great power to reflect humanity and I mostly learned that from Kurosawa’s films”.
Woo still gave his time answering some questions from the audience before closing the session with his thoughts on Japanese films. He said “Maybe I’m old, but I prefer older Japanese films and that old Japanese filmmaking spirit”. After ‘The Crossing Part 2’ which just released in Asian and internationally, Woo will helm an adaptation of a Japanese novel that was previously filmed in 1976, Junya Sato’s ‘Hot Pursuit’ (also this year’s lineup in TIFF’s commemorative section) starred one of his favorite Japanese actor, Ken Takakura and reportedly will shot some of its scenes in Japan.
THE SPECIAL NIGHT EVENT AT KABUKIZA THEATRE AND THE SAMURAI AWARD CEREMONY
Continuing last year’s TIFF special night event in Tokyo’s historical Kabukiza Theatre, a Japanese distinct art that first opened in 1889 and being renovated five times since it was destroyed during the war until now, this year’s event is also filled with a dynamic Kabuki performance from Kataoka Ainosuke, one of today’s leading Kabuki actor and practitioner of the art. Playing different performance under the colorful Kumadori make-up, short play ‘Ame no Goro‘ a.k.a. ‘Goro in the Rain’comes to the Kabuki stage and captured all the audience wondefully well.
To add the excitement, there’s also a special menu provided by Kabukiza Theatre Kitchen and master chef Hidekatsu Shoji for the invited guest. Not only being a usual bento box, this is especially selected along with the theme of The Special Night. Contains over 20 signature menus, the choice was depicted the highlights of the show. A sushi rolled in seaweed was actually reflected the shape of ‘Kanjincho’ – which is the Kabuki-play source to Akira Kurosawa’s film screened in the special night, while sweet potatoes and turnips were originally from Ishikawa prefecture where the ‘Ataka Barrier’ from the movie is located.
A short ceremony then was held for TIFF’s second Samurai Award to John Woo (HK) and Yoji Yamada (Japan). The award commends the achievements of innovative, pioneering filmmkaers whose work has made major contributions to the cinema all over the world and still continues. While Yamada is widely known as the creator of Japan’s iconic Tora-san in the long-running series and also the modern Samurai Trilogy (‘The Twilight Samurai’, ‘Hidden Blade’ and ‘Love and Honor’), Woo, of course, as the remarkable director who has change and set the new standard for the ‘80s Asian Action Cinema.
Receiving the crystal statuette award from TIFF Director General Yasushi Shiina, and also joined with two of their biggest fans, actress – producer Sayuri Yoshinaga who appeared in Yamada’s first two Tora-san franchise and his upcoming film, and director Keishi Otomo from ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ that has been Woo’s fans since long, even meeting Woo in L.A. 17 years ago with an important advice he remembered until now, that to direct movies, one should also be able to write scripts. Yamada said that he’s been a part of the festival since the very beginning with the screening of his work, ‘The Yellow Handkerchief’ in the first edition, thus he’s so happy and very honored to receive this year’s Samurai Award. Yamada also congratulates John Woo and said that along with the samurai spirits in his movies, his films also characterized with the spirit of Woo’s films.
Presenting his speech in english, John Woo said that he felt honored to received the award along with Yamada, whom he respect and considered as a great master. Just like Woo’s effort on humanity in his films, he felt that Yamada’s films were also filled with love and humanity. “Humanity is always the one that made me fall in love with movies and decide to devote my life to making them. I will continue trying to make better movies”, Woo said.
The special night event was closed with the special screening of Akira Kurosawa’s rare – banned work before the WWII, ‘They Who Step on the Tiger’s Tail’ in 35mm. The movie was based on ‘Kanjincho’, a Kabuki play that also was Ainosuke’s first performance in Kabuki theatre.
‘BORN TO BE BLUE’ PRESS CONFERENCE
As one of this year’s competition film, Robert Budreau’s Canadian ‘Born to be Blue’ was sure something to look at. Starred Ethan Hawke as the real life West Coast jazz sensation – an Elvis Presley of jazz, trumpeter Chet Baker, in one of Hawke’s finest perfomance of his acting career, the movie actually never played as a straight biopic. Instead, Budreau came with a different approach to portray Baker’s parts of life events pieces by pieces, mostly fictionized. It was indeed based on some key facts, but on the deepest layer, the movie tells a story of a musician struggling with addiction, a chance to comeback beyond a sort of sexy romance and overall, the spirit of jazz through movie-in-movie style of storytelling, which made the movie even more interesting. Carmen Ejogo co-starred as Baker’s fictional love interest.
Accompanied with the movie producer Jennifer Jonas and music composer David Braid, Budreau answered my question about how he actually describe the biopic subgenre of the movie; is it a metafiction, anti-biopic or something else? He described that as an improvisational art, he wanted to capture the spirit of jazz in the story. Based on those key facts from various source, he said that Chet Baker was actually approached by the legendary Dino De Laurentiis, Fellini’s producer, to do a movie about himself. The movie never happened, but I like the idea of pretending that it did happen. And I think using that as a stepping stone to kind of create an improvisational surreal kind of world made sense for a jazz movie. Ethan shared the sentiments with me and I think there is a certain fallacy with the purported authenticity of certain biopics. Nobody really knows what happened, even Chet Baker himself, in described the beating which he suffered as one of the central theme in our story, very differently over time. I think calling it a re-imagining of his life in the late ‘60s is how we like to describe it”, Budreau said.
About the Carmen Ejogo’s part (Jane), Budreau explained that the female character supposed to be combining all the women and wives in Chet Baker’s life into one. “So Jane clearly doesn’t exist. She was the female that Chet was starring in a movie with and I was able to focus and make the film much more of a love story – again, because Chet Baker did have a lot of women in his life. And it allowed us to explore a more universal love story in that sense”.
As for the struggle for addiction, it really something Chet Baker was infamous for, apart of his acclaimedly soulful and lyrical trumpet style. Chet mostly played his best up until the mid-50s, before the addiction. This was one part that inseparable in explaining his struggle to comeback, but they tried it in a non-judgmental way, thus can bring out his essential humanness, describing the complexity of the character. Also with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie as portyrayed in the film, they mentioned Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker a lot, too, although some of them were fictional, but Baker did mention Davis in a lot of his interviews. The point is with jazz in the ’40s – ’50s, Budreau tried to describe the conflict between East Coast and West Coast musicians during that times, and how Baker as the most popular, a good looking white jazz musicians, still tried to seek respect of the East Coast jazz black musicians by going into their music territory, as one of the key scenes where Baker played in Birdland for the first time in the ’50s.
Budreau also talked about how Ethan Hawke brought out that complexity in his role – multidimentionally as a rock-star kind of jazz musician. That he had a full six months practice of trumpet and the fingerings, resembled Baker’s looks with soft intonations – even did his own singing, and moreover, the part of David Braid who composed the whole rendition of Chet Baker’s classic used in the film.
Braid, who was a jazz pianist, added his own story behind the music. To him, ‘Born to be Blue’ was like a dream project because Chet Baker was the first artist whom the record he bought and also the most influential to him. Braid was so related to his lyrical style and felt Chet Baker’s music was a part of his musical identity from the very early age. Re-composing Baker’s music in the film, in other way, was a real challenge to Braid because not just doing re-arrangements, he also must chosen selectively and arranged them in a certain way it could be enjoyable at the same time communicate the struggle of the injured artist which was the central theme of Budreau’s idea. Luckily he has Kevin Turcotte, a Canadian trumpet artist and Ethan to made those arrangements coming alive on the screen.
One of the hardest part of ‘Born to Be Blue’ to Braid was a scene where Baker keeps failing technically in a recording session. “Kevin was so magnificent in building this scene with his expert trumpet play, and clearly – somehow, in a beautiful way, improvised it.
So just like jazz, the movie improvises. It might be a metafiction of Chet Baker’s life, but also captured the spirit of his remarkable legacies.
HELEN MIRREN AND SIMON CURTIS AT ‘WOMAN IN GOLD’ SPECIAL APPEARANCE
Presenting the movie ‘Woman in Gold’, Helen Mirren and director Simon Curtis appearing together in TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills. Mirren, who portrayed the real-life character Maria Altmann, a woman who battled the Austrian government over the ownership of a famous portrait of her aunt in the intriguing trial, said that introduced by her director husband, she respected many masters of Japanese Cinema such as Ozu, Kurosawa and Kenji Mizoguchi. They also joined by actor Koji Ishizaka.
More about her part, Mirren then said “When I got offered the part, my actress instinct told me, this role is a good one. On top of that, when I read this story really hit me in the chest. I was born right after the war, but I wanted to become someone who communicates the sadness of losing your family – with whom you share all the memories, and also to feel how cruel it was to lose your identity to war”.
‘THE INERASABLE’ PRESS CONFERENCE
It is quite unusual that a horror movie selected as the entry in the Competition Section. Having Yoshihiro Nakamura’s return to J-horror after ten years, ‘The Inerasable’ seems like breaking a barrier that might lies over this year’s special focus on the diverse works of Japanese cinema. The movie itself indeed contains a deep social context on the Japanese culture than just an eerie horror show; where most people in Japan still believe that the properties renting or buying might has a thing with its previous history, mostly if it’s related to mysterious deaths and uneasy spirits.
Attended by Yoshihiro Nakamura and two lead actress Yuko Takeuchi and Ai Hashimoto, they also claimed that they were slightly intimated when they received the script – based on a best selling novel, mostly because they had never appeared in a horror film before. Then again, same with Nakamura-san, they also found the premise is appealing that the story isn’t so set and offers new discoveries, as well as some new details. According to him, instead of just a horror movie, they tried to build ‘The Inerasable’ more as a mystery that requires solving than a horror story that needs to be endured.
Moreover, Nakamura also expressed his surprise that the movie had been accepted in the Competition entry list. While the usual idea of the competition films tend to be super serious, horror is supposed to be fun.
BALTASAR KORMAKUR, NAOKO MORI & JAPANESE TAKE ON EVEREST IN ‘EVEREST: SUMMIT OF THE GODS’ PRESS CONFERENCE
This year’s ambitious survival – disaster blockbuster ‘Everest’, directed by Baltasar Kormákur also had its 3D screening in Special Screening section. Appeared in the press conference with actress Naoko Mori who portrayed Japanese climbing veteran Yasuko Namba, who’s hoping to complete her last of the Seven Summits on its true event, they shared their experience on making ‘Everest’. From the challenging weathers and overcoming fears where some notable Hollywood actors, as Kormákur said, tried to leave the production along the way, he tried to make every scenes in ‘Everest’ as real as possible.
But the more interesting thing in the press conference is that Kormákur and Mori weren’t the only spotlight on ‘Everest’ because Japan, through Kadokawa Pictures, also made their take on the Everest mountain-climbing adventure. Based on the 1998 novel by Yumemakura Baku who also wrote the script and then became manga series ‘Kamigami no Itadaki / The Summit of the Gods’, the film, titled ‘Everest: Kamigami no Itadaki / Summit of the Gods’ followed Fukamachi (played by Junichi Okada), a Japanese photographer who finds a camera supposedly belonging to George Mallory, a mountaineer who went missing on Mount Everest. Solve the mystery whether Mallory became the first person to successfully climb Everest on June 8, 1924; long before the Kormákur’s ‘Everest’ took places, goes on a mountain-climbing adventure along with the legendary isolated Alpinist Habu Joji (played by Hiroshi Abe).
Attending the press conference, where they also screened 6 mins behind the scenes and the trailer of the movie, were the producer Hideyuki Hirayama, Tsuguhuki Kadokawa from Kadokawa Pictures and scriptwriter (also the writer of the source novel) Yumemakura Baku. Shared their thoughts on the making of the movie, Hirayama said that at first, he was actually scared of heights, but after reading Baku-san’s script, he felt this movie will be really challenging and then decided to go on. To make it as real as possible, they even set to do shots in Nepal and Mount Everest, climbed up the mountain with large risk along with the actors and actresses who had the same spirits to make it happen.
The movie scheduled to be release in next March, was also the first Japanese movie shot in Mount Everest, and some of the box office money will be donated to the people of Nepal.
THE WORLD OF GUNDAM
Following last year’s special focus on Japanese animation with the special program ‘The World of Hideaki Anno’ and his phenomenal ‘Evangelion’ in Toho Cinema Nihonbashi, this year’s festival aim at one of the greatest – monumental work of robot animation that ran for 36 years and has been shown in more than 25 countries. ‘The World of Gundam’ screened all 26 installments of the franchise including theatrical naimation, TV series and short films from the first 1979’s ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino to the latest 2015 ‘Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin I Blue-Eyed Casval’.
This epic tale of a universe in which an era of cosmic battles is expanding and a group of young people joins in the terrific mobile suit robot war also had created a splash among world’s toys and plastic model of ‘Gundam’, with total volume of sales products released is approximately 445 million units until now. The franchise is actually a pioneer in robot animation genre that followed by many franchises after.
Screened in Shinjuku’s Toho Cinemas (Shinjuku Wald 9, Shinjuku Picadilly & the new Toho Shinjuku), some screening featured special talk with each directors including Yoshiyuki Tomino himself; who considered the theme of ‘Gundam’ is still relevant until now; and also the special original filmstrip souvenir for all the attendees.
THE GIRL’S HOUSE PRESS CONFERENCE
‘The Girl’s House (Khane-ye Dokhtar)’, Iran entry in the Competition might be quite an important film to look at. The 2014 Iranian production, directed by Shahram Shah-Hosseini, marked the continuous banning of film in Iran over sensitive topics. Over the premise of the death of an Iranian bride-to-be that unfolds like a mystery by her friends investigations, the film deals with important issues that still facing Iranian women until now.
According to the news, conservative medias have slammed the film for the modernized visions against traditional family values. The film also faced intense attacks from conservative circles when it was screened for the first time in Fajr Film Festival. Director Hosseini, who attended the press conference with the lead actor, Hamed Behdad, admitted the film might felt critical as an implicit criticism of Iran society, but it also posed a very big questions. The point is he didn’t want to judge anything and rejected any accusations that the film is against Iranian or Islamic morals. Behdad then clarified that in over the Iran revolution he thought they’re actually moving forward in a positive way, in the hope to strike a balance in the future.
They also answered the question about the film’s enigmatic title. Though they didn’t really reveal, but they expressed ‘the house’ in the title could represent a girl’s very intimate territory that needs an approval to enter. Moreover, about the film’s plot, Hosseini added that in Iran, family, religion and human relationships – caring for each other – is extremely important. And from a Muslim perspective, suicide is a sin. The film highlights a tragedy that might be specific to Iranian, but carries a universal message of how a life, or rather, the end of life, affects all who are left behind.
THE SCREENING OF ‘RAN’ & ‘SHANE’ IN DIGITAL REMASTERED EDITION
Along with the screening of Akira Kurosawa’s classic masterpiece ‘Ran’ in 4K digital restored for both picture and sound to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary after first screened in the first edition of the festival in 1985, this year’s TIFF also held a special symposium on the digital remaster process.
The classic 1953 western, George Stevens’ ‘Shane’ starred Alan Ladd also received a digitally remastered treatment for its first screening in Japan. The film was never screened in Japan cinemas since it was released. Author Go Osaka and film critic Saburo Kawamoto conducted a special talk show after the film screened in Toho Cinemas Shinjuku. The film, that set in the plains of Wyoming in the frontier period, was actually quite a pioneer in the themes of a hero that fought for a family, mostly in western genre.
Kawamoto expressed his thought about how ‘Shane’ had a different kind of charm from other western at the time it was released. “It’s a love story, as well a family story that has lots of female fans. Westerns up until that point had been pretty macho, but Alan Ladd, which not a tough-guy character, and the whole film is portrayed through the eyes of 9 year old child, in a soft manner”, he explained. He also said that as a different western, ‘Shane’ stands after the passage of time, and even though it was softer, the duel climax was still has sufficient features as a question.
While Go Osaka pointed Jack Palance performance as a bad guy, ones that created the typical bad guy role for him ever since, was really frightening. He said that Palance’s performance was appealing to the audience on a deep psychological level. On praising George Stevens, he then said that no matter how many times he watched the movies, there is always something new to discover.
J-HORROR NIGHT EVENT : THE HAUNTED HOUSE EXPERIENCE
As one of Japanese Cinema’s hottest contents beside animations, this year’s festival also celebrated the J-Horror that featured the works of 3 famous horror maestros; Hideo Nakata, Takashi Shimizu and Kiyoshi Kurosawa. 4 movies to be screened are Hideo Nakata’s latest ‘Ghost Theater’, his 1996 horror ‘Don’t Look Up’, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s 1997 psycho suspense masterpiece ‘Cure’ and Takashi Shimizu’s ‘Ju-On’ that has created local and international franchise ever since.
Held in Shinjuku Piccadilly on the 28th over Japan’s unique Halloween atmosphere, the J-Horror Night Event also featured special talk and one day only Haunted House (Obake-yashiki) installation at the theatre. The special talk session is attended by Hideo Nakata, Takashi Shimizu, actress Haruka Shimazaki & Rika Adachi, actor Keita Machida and the producer of Haunted House Hirofumi Gomi. (dan)
all photos ©2015 TIFF