“Only those rescued by movies will save movies” – Dir: Toshiaki Toyoda
That’s a pretty cool mantra and one I can believe in and I hope that you do, too. You wouldn’t be reading this post if it were otherwise. Anyway, earlier this month I saw information on an event called The Toshiaki Toyoda’s Uprising 2021 in Chicago. This is a physical screening of Wolf’s Calling (2019) and The Day of Destruction (2020) on Friday, April 09th, at 19:00 at Chicago’s MUSIC BOX THEATRE – THEATRE1.
Seeing these two films on the big screen would be an incredible experience as they present blisteringly unique and challenging visions of cinema thanks to director Toshiaki Toyoda who is one of Japan’s most challenging voices. He brought together top-line actors to grace the screens and rock groups to bring bone-shaking sounds to blow out speakers in a couple of short films that shook the world.
Here is information on the films:
狼煙が呼ぶ 「Noroshi ga Yobu」
Release Date: September 20th, 2019
Duration: 16 mins.
Director: Toshiaki Toyoda
Writer: Toshiaki Toyoda (Screenplay)
Starring: Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Tadanobu Asano, Kengo Kora, Ryuhei Matsuda, Tetsuya Nakamura,
A 16-minute short drama inspired by the experience of director Toshiaki Toyoda, who was arrested for illegal possession of a pistol in April 2019. It turned out the gun was an antique passed on by his father but that didn’t stop the police from holding him in jail without charge while they orchestrated a media circus.
This film stars long-time Toyoda collaborators Kiyohiko Shibukawa and Ryuhei Matsuda who appeared appeared in many of Toyoda’s movies, including Pornostar and Blue Spring and The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan. Other big names include Tadanobu Asano and Kengo Kora. Making the soundscape were the Seppuku Pistols.
Synopsis: A girl finds an old handgun in her house and the history of the gun is traced. A girl finds an old handgun in her attic and the symbolic object conjures a mystical scene of samurai (a stellar cast of actors joined by the 20-person Edo punk band Seppuku Pistols, who also provide the soundtrack) gathering within the moss-grown location of Kasosan Shrine in Tochigi Prefecture.
破壊の日「Hakai no Hi」
Release Date: July 24th, 2020
Duration: 57 mins.
Director: Toshiaki Toyoda
Writer: Toshiaki Toyoda (Script),
Starring: Kiyohiko Shibukawa, MahiToThePeople (of the band GEZAN in his debut film role), Issey Ogata, Yosuke Kubozuka, Ryuhei Matsuda, Itsuki Nagasawa, Shima Onishi, Misa Wada,
Toshiaki Toyoda brings together another stellar cast for this short which also features MahiToThePeople (of the band GEZAN) in his debut film role, to make a “state of the nation” type of film which would have been the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. Corruption and indifference are in the air and Toyoda exhorts people to stand up to it in a thrilling and profound story that became one of the most talked about events of last year.
Here’s my review
Synopsis: After a mysterious monster is found deep in a rural coal mine, rumours of a plague spread across the country and people experience an unexplainable mental illnesses. A young Shugendo practitioner named Kenichi (MahiToThePeople) is determined to exorcise the monster in all of its forms.
Seeing both films together on the big screen is guaranteed to be an amazing experience. Tickets cost $13 and there is a free gift at the door.
Covid-19 rules are in place to keep people safe (details here), so please act responsibly and, most of all, please enjoy the films.
BUT WAIT! There’s more!
There two films are part of a trilogy that Toyoda hopes to complete with his next film, “全員切腹” – Zen’in Seppuku”. He has launched a crowdfunding campaign for it and commented (which I’ve paraphrased):
I was a little hesitant to start crowdfunding again with a goal of 30 million yen. However, the reality of filmmaking is that, unlike music or paintings, it is impossible to produce a film without a large amount of money… I started this project to raise funds directly by myself and to make filmmaking transparent. I will be announcing the status of the project on a regular basis as I go along. We plan to shoot in the spring. Please help us out!
Link to the crowdfunding site. There are different amounts of funding that people can apply to contribute, with 10,000 yen being the lowest and 1,00,000 being the top tier. Rewards include t-shirts, a handtwel, the two previous films in the trilogy, and a look at Toyoda’s production diaries.
Some of the people involved are Kiyohiko Shibukawa and Yosuke Kubozuka and Seppuku Pistols.