The Meryl Streep-starrer, Florence Foster Jenkins from the British director, Stephen Frears, will open the 29th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival on October 25. The movie will have Hugh Grant as Streep’s co-star.
The festival will close on November 3 with a Japanese work, Satoshi: A Move For Tomorrow -- a biopic about the grand chess master, Satoshi Murayama. Actor Kenichi Matsuyama will play the title role.
Like the closing film, Florence Foster Jenkins is a biopic of a legendary New York socialite and heiress -- who was so obsessive about a career in singing that she doggedly pursued it, in spite of the fact that she was terrible at it. She used her family’s riches to push and promote herself as an opera singer.
Streep, who plays the American millionaire-singer, has had a terrific range -- from essaying Thatcher in The Iron Lady, a holocaust survivor in Sophie’s Choice, a high fashion magazine editor in The Devil Wears Prada, a young woman fighting for the custody of her son in Kramer vs Kramer and The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Come 2018, she would be seen in Marry Poppins Returns -- which takes place 20 years after the scintillating musical floored us with its magical innocence.
Grant -- celebrated for movies like Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill -- has been more in the news for his legal wrangles, one of which saw him arrested for having oral sex with a prostitute in LA’s Sunset Boulevard.
Frears has been making films since the 1980s. One of his earliest, My Beautiful Laundrette in 1985, was a fascinating picturisation of racism and homosexuality set in the complex socio-economic climate of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. After works like Dangerous Liaisons and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, Frears made Philomena in 2013 -- a brutally frank look at the Irish Catholic church of the 1950s that separated young unwed mothers from their babies and had them adopted in distant lands like the US.