Japanese Film Trailers and Toronto International Film Festival

After last weeks single trailer there has been a veritable flood and the line-up of films at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival looks awesome. I’ve focussed on the Japanese trailers, some of which I have already posted before, so if you like Japanese films read on!

HOLD IT! Done in the style of Phoenix Wright

Oh yeah, yesterday my entry for Front Room Cinema’s World Icon’s Tour went live. The chap I selected was Kiyoshi Kurosawa and I had a lot of fun writing about him so expect a series of reviews based on his films. Anyway, back to the post!

Oh how I wish I lived in Toronto. Not because of the high quality of life and the beautiful women seen in Scott Pilgrim but because of the Toronto International Film Festival. This year’s lineup of films has been announced but I’ll focus on the Japanese films which look impressive:

Himizu – Dir. Sion Sono

From Up on Poppy Hill – Dir. Goro Miyazaki

A Letter to Momo – Dir. Hiroyuki Okiura

Smuggler – Dir. Katushito Ishii

Monsters Club – Dir. Toyoda Toshiaki


Kokuriko-Zaka Kara (From up on Poppy Hill)
Released: 16th of July 2012 (Japan)
Running time: N/A
Director: Goro Miyazaki
Starring: Nagasawa Masami, Okada Junichi

Based on Chizuru Takahashi and Tetsuro Sayama’s 1980’s shoujo manga, the film is directed by Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro Miyzaki who directed the underrated Tales from Earthsea.


Set in 1963 this coming of age tale takes place in Yokohama and follows the life of a high school girl named Komatsuzaki. Her father, a sailor is missing, her mother is a photographer who travels frequently and she helps run a lodging house with the rest of her family. The film follows her life as well as her friendship with two boys, Shun Kazama, a school newspaper member and Mizunuma, student council president.


A Letter to Momo
Release date: Early  2012 (Japan)
Running time: N/A
Director: Hiroyuki Okiura
Starring: N/A

Production I.G.’s upcoming film, A Letter to Momo, will be nshown at this nyears TIFF in September. The film has major production talent with Hiroyuki Okiura acting as director, his first movie since his magnificent debut with  Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. The animation and background has been handled by Ghibli chaps Masashi Ando (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) and Hiroshi Ono (Kiki’s Delivery Service) respectively and the project has animators from a myriad of other high-profile titles like Evangelion, The Sky Crawlers, Tokyo Godfathers and Summer Wars.

Momo is a young girl who grew up in a big city. However, following the premature loss of her father, she has to move with her mother to the old family house on a remote island. Here, time seems to have stopped: old wooden buildings, holy shrines surrounded by trees, fields painstakingly carved out from steep hills… and no shopping mall.

Needless to say, Momo is not too overenthusiastic about this new environment. Most of all, her heart is still feeling uneasy about an unfinished letter left by her father. A letter that contained only two words: “Dear Momo…”

What was dad going to say?

One day, exploring the attic of her new big house, Momo finds a dusty and worn out book. And from that moment, something really unexpected starts happening around her…


Release date:  22nd of October (Japan)

Running time: N/A

Director: Katsuhito Ishii

Starring: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Yasuko Matsuyuki

Based on Shohei Manabe’s manga of the same name, Smuggler stars Satoshi Tsumabuki in a crime thriller about a body disposal team who work for different yakuza organisations.


Ryōsuke is a failed actor Kinuta (Satoshi Tsumabuki) with massive debts. With only a part-time job at a pachinko parlour he is forced into an arrangement with a loan shark and Yakuza leader (Yasuki Matsuyuki) to work as part of a corpse disposal team smuggling bodies an escalating gang war is creating from the cities. Working for the likes of provides a lot of money but as the team begin to accept work from both gangs, things become very dangerous.

Monsters Club

Release date:  N/A

Running time: N/A

Director: Toshiaki Toyoda

Starring: Eita, Yosuke Kubozuka

Not the 1980’s British horror film but something completely unknown to me. I have never heard of the director. A quick Asian Media Wiki search search throws up no clues as to whether I would like his films or not but this trailer has caught my eye and it stars Yosuke Kubozuka who played Peco in the awesome comedy Ping Pong.


A young man abandons modern life to live in the snowy wilderness of Japan who sends bombs to corporate CEOs. One day he is confronted by a creature.

 Not showing in Toronto but interesting anyway…

Guilty of Romance

Release date:  N/A

Running time: N/A

Director: Sion Sono

Starring: Megumi Kagurazaka, Miki Mizuno, Koi no Tsumi

Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Cold Fish) last film has a full trailer. This is a tale of three women, a cop, a professor and a housewife are each connected in a thriller that is packed full of violence and sex.

Izumi is unhappily married to a famous romantic novelist. So unhappily that she begins a new career as a model that fakes sex in front of the camera. Soon she becomes embroiled in ths other life selling her body to strangers with her husband completely unaware of this shadow world she has entered. Then one day a woman is brutally murdered and her body is found in a love hotel bringing the police into the story as they try to understand what happened.

The Woman in Black

Release date:  N/A

Running time: N/A

Director: James Watkins

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer

From the director of two middling horror movies (Eden Lake, The Descent 2) comes the latest horror film from Hammer. Based on a book by prolific author Susan Hill, this has been adapted by Jane Goldman (script-writer for Kick Ass and Stardust and the wife of Jonathan “Japanorama” Ross). A lot of people I know find Susan Hill’s books scary and this brilliantly atmospheric trailer has caught my imagination.

Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) is a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son at home in order to travel to a mansion named Eel Marsh House on the outskirts of a remote village. Staying at the mansion he begins to uncover the town’s dark secrets which raises his fears about his surroundings, a feeling made worse when local children start dying under suspicious circumstances and when those closest to him are threatened, Kipps must confront the woman in black.

2 thoughts on “Japanese Film Trailers and Toronto International Film Festival

    1. Thanks for the reply Toby!

      I usually enjoy reading coverage about film festivals and Toronto usually has more films that interest me than others. I like the look of all of the Japanese films on offer and I agree about Monsters Club looking good.

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