One of the festival’s headliners is Mumon: The Land of Stealth, directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura and starring Satoshi Ohno. The action-packed film follows a deadly ninja with unmatched strength who accidentally triggers a deadly battle between a warlord’s army and the ninjas in his province.
Birds Without Names, directed by Kazuya Shiraishi, is another festival highlight. This film, fresh from the Toronto International Film Festival, is a story of lust, devotion, and redemption.
Audiences should also look forward to Nobuhiro Yamashita’s heartfelt comedy, My Uncle, about a young boy who embarks on a transpacific adventures with his eccentric, free-loading uncle.
A new addition to the festival is a spotlight on short films including works such as We’re Shooting a Movie, Dad’s Weddings, and High Heels – A Fairy Tale Born of Obsession.
These contemporary films will provide balance and contrast with the festival “classics” program, which will pay tribute to the late director Seijun Suzuki. Suzuki’s avant-garde films earned him a cult following and established him as an inspiration to many directors, including Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch.
“Every film in this year’s program was handpicked to present fresh perspectives and showcase the next generation of Japanese cinema,” said program coordinator Margarett Cortez.
“Among this selection are genre-benders such as Before We Vanish by veteran Kiyoshi Kurosawa, stunning arthouse comeback film Snow Woman by Asia’s indie darling Kiki Sugino, and international collaborations such as Gukoroku – Trace of Sin by filmmaker Kei Ishikawa and Polish cinematographer Piotr Niemyjski.”
“We’re also excited to introduce new blood in the Japanese cinema industry through a short film special supported by ‘New Directions in Japanese Cinema’, a Japanese government program supporting emerging filmmakers,” she said.
The program for the festival has been curated by the Australian arm of the Japan Foundation (Sydney), which is an initiative of the Japanese government to promote cultural and intellectual exchange between Japan and other nations.
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