Toronto Japanese Film Festival Unveils This Year’s Line-up

Toronto Japanese Film Festival takes place in Kobayashi Hall at the world renown Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre from June 6 to June 20, 2024

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre’s 13th annual Toronto Japanese Film Festival will be held from June 6th to 20th at the JCCC’s Kobayashi Hall. The festival has now grown into one of the largest film events of its kind in the world and is recognized by the Japanese film industry as a vital conduit for bringing Japanese film to the world. 

TorontoJFF is programmed to reflect the rich diversity of the world 4th largest film industry and the 2024 edition will feature 23 films including the International Premieres of Kosai Sekine’s mystery drama STAY MUM「かくしごと 」starring Anne Watanabe and Eiji Okuda and Toshiyuki Teruya’s heartwarming Okinawa-based comedy KANASANDO「かなさんどー 」. 

The festival is also very proud to present the World Premiere of Alice Il Shin’s LANDSCAPES OF HOME 「故郷の風景」 from producer Eiko Kawabe Brown. The film is an investigation of Japanese Canadian struggle from a new perspective redefining what it means to find home against a backdrop of war and loss. 

The opening night film is North American Premiere of Hayato Kawai’s comic retelling of the 47 Ronin story DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD!「身代わり忠臣蔵 」. Other North American Premieres are Isao Yukisada’s lavish anti-war actioner REVOLVER LILY 「リボルバー・リリー 」with a fierce turn by Haruka Ayase as an assassin battling militarist factions within the government. Sho Miyake’s gentle tale of friendship amid mental-health struggles, ALL THE LONG NIGHTS「夜明けのすべて 」, Yoshiyuki Kishi’s winner of the Audience Award and Best Director at the 36th Tokyo International Film Festival, (AB)NORMAL DESIRE 「正欲」 , Toshiro Saiga’s up-beat musical comedy set among the traditional hot-spring inns of the famous Kaga Onsen region, THE DANCING OKAMI「レディ加賀」and Izuru Narushima’s story of loneliness, connection and identity, 52-HERTZ WHALES 「52ヘルツのクジラたち」.  

Also making their North American premieres are Keisuke Yoshida’s kidnapping drama  MISSING「ミッシング」 featuring a career-best turn by Satomi Ishihara as a desperate mother fighting fading media interest in the disappearance of her daughterHiroaki Matsuyama’s light-on-its-feet detective thriller DON’T CALL IT MYSTERY 「ミステリと言う勿れ」 Takehisa Zeze’s ONE LAST BLOOM 「春に散る」a boxing drama so authentic that it inspired star Ryusei Yokohama to actually qualify as a pro boxer and  Eiji Uchida’s edge-of-your-seat stalker shocker MATCHED  「マッチング」Director Uchida (winner of Best Film of the Year for 2021’s MIDNIGHT SWAN) will be in attendance.

The closing night film is the Canadian Premiere Mitsuhiro Mihara’s heartwarming foodie flick, TAKANO TOFU「高野豆腐店の春」about a troubled generational succession of a traditional tofu maker. 

Other Canadian premieres are 91-year-old master Yoji Yamada’s 90th work MOM, IS THAT YOU?! 「こんにちは、母さん」, Nobuhiro Yamashita’s feel-good surrealist romantic comedy ONE SECOND AHEAD, ONE SECOND BEHIND 「1秒先の彼」, a remake of Taiwanese hit “My Missing Valentine” and Takayuki Hamana’s lighthearted family anime THE KLUTZY WITCH らくだい魔女 フウカと闇の魔女」.

Keiko Tsuruoka’s heartfelt blend of traditional arts, family conflict and the issue of traditional gender roles, TSUGARU LACQUER GIRL 「バカ塗りの娘」makes its Toronto debut with Director Tsuruoka in attendance. 

Also announced is a special edition of Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winner THE BOY AND THE HERON「君たちはどう生きるか」 featuring an introduction from composer Joe Hisaishi and a drawing session with animation director Takeshi Honda, and Sokichi Nakara’s inspiring and edge-of-your-seat documentary LIFE IS CLIMBING「ライフ・イズ・クライミング!」 with the director an leads Koichi Kobayashi and Naoya Suzuki (four-time IFSC Para-climbing World Champions) in attendance. 

Peter Michael Dowd’s MR. JIMMY 「ミスタージミー」 document’s the extraordinary Akio Sakurai, the Jimmy Page of Japan. Returning after its premiere at TIFF 2023 is Kei Chika-ura’s GREAT ABSENCE 「大いなる不在」, a delicately devastating excavation of a life — and a love story — wrapped in the torn tissue of mental deterioration. 

The festival takes place entirely at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre where visitors can also enjoy Japanese food, art and historical exhibitions, martial arts practices and a range of pre-screening musical performances. 

Multi-film passes and individual tickets for all Toronto Japanese Film Festival screenings go on sale May 8. Keep watching www.torontojff.com for further announcements. 

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