This year’s Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 08th to the 18th and they have announced their programme which has a great variety of screenings. There are two Japanese entries and quite a few Korean ones. I’ve listed the Japanese ones and a few other standouts (for me, at least). Take a look!
Release Date: June 17th, 2022 (Japan)
Duration: 112 mins.
Director: Chie Hayakawa
Writer: Chie Hayakawa, Jason Gray (Script),
Starring: Chieko Baisho, Hayato Isomura, Taka Takao, Yumi Kawai, Stefanie Arianne
Chie Hayakawa graduates from award-winning shorts to making her feature debut with Plan 75, an expansion of her story in the anthology film Ten Years Japan. It won the Camera d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
The film is led by veteran actress Chieko Baisho (Tora-san’s sister in the long-running Tora-san series) and rising star Hayato Isomura (Tokyo Revengers).
It was announced last week that this will be Japan’s submission for the Best International Feature Film category for the 2023 Academy Awards (source). It has been experiencing success in Japan with critical acclaim and a long run in mini theatres.
Synopsis: In a future Japan where the birthrate has continued to decline and the number of older people is bigger than ever, the government has created a programme called Plan 75. This system gives senior citizens the chance to be voluntarily euthanised from the age of 75. Despite initial controversy, it has been accepted by the public. Michi Kakutani (Chieko Baisho), a 78-year-old woman who has been living alone since the death of her husband, is struggling to survive but when she is laid off from her job as a hotel cleaner, she begins to consider applying for “Plan 75. Meanwhile, Hiromu (Hayato Isomura), a city official responsible for handling Plan 75 cases, and Yoko (Yumi Kawai), a call centre operator who supports elderly people who have chosen to die until their day comes, begin to question the nature of the “Plan 75” system.
Release Date: September 09th, 2022
Duration: 123 mins.
Director: Koji Fukada
Writer: Koji Fukada (Script),
Starring: Fumino Kimura, Kento Nagayama, Atom Sunada, Hirona Yamasaki, Tomorowo Taguchi, Natsume Mito,
Koji Fukada is one of Japan’s leading directors. Heavily inspired by French New Wave films, he makes the kind of mature cinema that Japan desperately needs with romances touched with a bit of wry comedy and mysteries. He is also willing to experiment and address themes of xenophobia, sexism, and ageism.
He has a number of awards to his name, including the Best Picture Award in the Japanese Eyes competition of the Tokyo International Film Festival for Hospitalité (2010), the Grand Prize at the Three Continents Festival for Au revoir l’ete (2013) and the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival for Harmonium (2016).
I’ve covered many of Koji Fukada’s films on this blog and you can find a list of reviews here.
His latest stars Fumino Kimura (The Fable and its sequel), Kento Nagayama (Crime or Punishment?!?), deaf actor and sign language expression model Atom Sunada., Hirona Yamasaki (Hanagatami), and Tomorowo Taguchi (Tetsuo, the Iron Man). Fukada was apparently inspired to write the story for this film by the Akiko Yano song Love Life.
The film is currently at Venice and will be released at the end of this week in Japan. Reviews from Venice have been published by The Hollywood Reporter and Screen International. Here’s the trailer:
Synopsis: Taeko (Fumino Kimura) lives peacefully and happily with her husband, Jiro (Kento Nagayama), and her son Keita, despite the tempestuous way that they met and the disapproval of Jiro’s father. One day, the couple are hit by a sad event. As Taeko experiences grief, her former husband (Atom Sunada) and Keita’s father returns. Meanwhile, Jiro reconnects with a woman (Hirona Yamasaki) he used to date. How do this couple work through their difficulties and what does it mean to love?
Other notable films include:
ベイビー・ブローカー 「Beibi- Buro-ka-」
Release Date: June 08th, 2022 (Korea), June 24 (Japan)
Duration: 129 mins.
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda (Script),
Starring: Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Bae Doo-na, IU, Lee Joo-young,
Kore-eda (After the Storm, Still Walking, I Wish) continues working outside of the Japanese film industry with this film shot in Korea and starring a Korean cast. He reunites with Bae Doo-na, a veteran of Japanese films like Kore-eda’s own Air Doll (2009). She has had an incredible career in… Korea and is working alongside another top talent in Song Kang-ho, her co-star in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and The Host (2006). Also on the roster is Lee Joo-young (Maggie) and Gang Dong-won (Duelist).
This film played at Cannes where it was awarded Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and Song Kang-ho won Best Actor.
Synopsis: Sang-Hyun (Song Kang-Ho) is a baby broker who finds new parents for children left in baby boxes. He works alongside Dong-Soo (Gang Dong-Won) and things go smoothly until So-Young (IU) comes to retrieve her child and detective Soo-Jin (Bae Doo-Na) and Detective Lee (Lee Joo-Young) start investigating Sang-Hyun and Dong-Soo.
헤어질 결심 「Heeojil Gyeolsim」
Release Date: June 08th, 2022 (Korea),
Duration: 138 mins.
Director: Park Chan-wook
Writer: Park Chan-wook, Seo-kyeong Jeong (Script),
Starring: Tang Wei, Park Hae-il, Lee Jung-hyun, Ko Gyung-pyo, Park Yong-woo, Jung Yi-seo,
Park Chan-wook is a familiar face at Cannes with Grand Prix winner Oldboy (2003), Thirst (2009), and The Handmaiden (2016) all received their world-premieres at the event. This one is a neo-noir starring Tang Wei (Lust, Caution) and Park Hae-il (War of the Arrows).
This one made the list because it won Best Director for Park Chan-wook at the Cannes Film Festival and it is Korea’s entry in the International Feature Film section of the Academy Awards.
Synopsis: Detective Hae-Joon (Park Hae-Il) investigates the case of a man falling from a mountain peak to his death. The man’s wife, Seo-Rae (Tang Wei), becomes a suspect.
There is also Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman Saules Aveugles and Femme Endormie by Pierre Földes. This is an animated adaptation of several of Haruki Murakami’s stories (presumably from the same-titled collection) that are joined together into a single interconnected narrative. The festival write-up states that this is done “using a hybrid animation approach that incorporates live-action references, 3D modelling, and traditional layouts.”
That’s it for now. I’ll update it if any other films are added.
Here is past coverage:
Toronto International Film Festival 2011
Toronto International Film Festival 2012
Toronto International Film Festival 2013
Toronto International Film Festival 2014
Toronto International Film Festival 2015
Toronto International Film Festival 2017
Toronto International Film Festival 2018
Toronto International Film Festival 2019
Toronto International Film Festival 2020