The 29th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival -- running from October 25 to November 3 -- will have two Japanese movies among the 16 titles that will make up the prestigious competition section.
The full competition lineup will be announced on September 26 in Tokyo. The package was picked from the 1502 films that were submitted by 98 countries, including India.
Last year at Tokyo, there were three Indian entries: Mani Ratnam’s gripping O Kadhal Kanmani, Ishaan Nair’s (Mira Nair’s nephew) Kaash (produced by Irrfan Khan and starring Kalki Koechlin) and Umesh Aggarwal’s biopic, Jai Ho, on the Mozart of Madras, AR Rahman.
The Japanese movies this year are Daigo Matsui’s Japanese Girls Never Die and and Kiki Sugino’s Snow Woman.
Japanese Girls Never Die is based on a new novel by Mariko Yamauchi (celebrated for her earlier It’s Boring Here, Pick Me Up), and explores a town’s angst when one of its citizens, a young woman, goes missing. This leads to a mysterious attack by an unidentified group of schoolgirls on random men.
The festival’s Competition Programming Director, Yoshi Yatabe, said in a note: “Daigo Matsui cleverly depicts the small-town claustrophobia of his generation through his protagonist, played by Yu Aoi, and gives us an honest, personal portrayal that could only be done now. The zaniness and originality with which Matsui uses girl power to push his characters out of their lethargy is where his talent truly shines.”
Sugino’s work, whose pastel tones harken back to the aesthetics of Japanese classics are amazing. Sugino also plays the protagonist, the Snow Woman, who exudes luminous beauty as she does ominous terror. Portraying a great piece of folklore, Snow Woman is being touted as one of the most original movies from Japan this year.