Tokyo Film Festival Sets 7 World Premieres in Main Competition

'Advantages of Travelling by Train' Still - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Morena Films

Martin Scorsese's Netflix mob drama 'The Irishman' will close the festival on Nov. 5.

Seven world premieres will be among the pics competing in the main competition at the Tokyo International Film Festival, organizers announced Thursday.

Fourteen films, reduced from the 16 of recent years, will compete for the Grand Prix, including Advantages of Travelling by Train from Spain's Aritz Moreno, Norway's Disco, Turkey's Food for a Funeral and Only the Animals from France's Dominik Moll.

Japan will be represented by two movies, as has been the recent custom at the fest: Shin Adachi's A Beloved Wife and Macoto Tezka's Tezuka's Barbara, based on the book by the director's father, legendary manga and anime creator Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy).

The jury for the main competition will be headed by Chinese star Zhang Ziyi and also include Hollywood producer Bill Gerber. 

Veteran director Yamada Yoji's already announced Tora-san, Wish You Were Here, the reboot of his record-breaking Tora-san series, will open the event.

"The most difficult part was choosing which scenes from the 49 films to use to bring Tora-san back to the screen. Some people said I should use CG to recreate him, but I didn't want to do that. We used digital remastering and the images are very high quality," said Yamada in discussing how he brought back the late Kiyoshi Atsumi, who played the eponymous lead character in the films.  

The Asian Future section features eight films from up-and-coming directors, including two each from Hong Kong, Iran and South Korea. Similarly, Japanese Cinema Splash will screen eight pics from local directors.

Other sections include Special Screenings, World Focus, Japan Now, Crosscut Asia and a showcase of Japanese auteur Nobuhiko Obayashi. The Evolution of Japanese Animation/VFX will show Katsuhiro Otomo's seminal Akira and Makoto Shinkai's Weathering With You, among others.

Of the 1,804 entries from 115 countries, 385 were directed by women or female-male teams. Eleven percent of the films selected had female helmers, compared with 21 percent of those submitted.  

The TIFFCOM content market is set to run Oct. 22-24 at Ikebukuro Sunshine City, where a record 400-plus exhibitors will ply their wares. The fest itself will unfurl the following week at Roppongi Hills, the new Hibiya Midtown complex and other venues, from Oct. 28-Nov. 5.

The scheduling of the two events, which usually run concurrently, has been affected by the Enthronement Ceremony of Emperor Naruhito set for Oct. 22, which will bring dignitaries from around the world to Tokyo.

Martin Scorsese's Netflix postwar mob drama The Irishman will bring the festivities to a close.