Tokyo, Oct 28: The latest instalment of the world's longest running film series starring the same actor today kicked off the 32nd edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival, the first film festival in the new Japanese era that began in May this year with the crowning of a new emperor.
'Tora-san, Wish You Were Here,' directed by veteran Japanese filmmaker Yoji Yamada, opened the Tokyo festival, the oldest film festival in Japan. It is also the first Tokyo film festival to take place in the new Japanese Reiwa Era, the current era of Japan that began on May 1 this year with the crowing of the new emperor.
Japan is currently witnessing the enthronement ceremony of emperor Naruhito while the country is playing host to the ongoing Rugby World Cup. The Japanese capital will also host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics next year.
'Blinded by the Light' by Indian-origin British filmmaker Gurinder Chadha is part of the official selection of the Tokyo festival, which is being held from October 28 to November 5.
The world record-holder 'Tora-san, Wish You Were Here' is the 50th instalment in the 'It's Tough Being a Man' film series in which Japanese actor Kiyoshi Atsumi played the friendly drifter, Tora-san. Atsumi acted in a record 48 films between1969 and 1995 before he passed away in 1996. Tora-san travels to a new place in each film, meeting a new girlfriend, but always remaining unlucky in love. In the newest instalment, Tora-san, again played by Atsumi, is brought back to the screen using digital technology to create his character.
Yamada, who wishes to continue making films, was among those who attended a glittering opening ceremony at the Roppongi Hills main venue of the festival today. "Perhaps it was my longevity, thanks to living so long, that allowed me to make this film," says Yamada, who at 87 has directed nearly all of the 'Tora-san' movies.
Famous Chinese actor Zhang Ziyi, who has acted in such acclaimed movies as 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and 'Memoirs of a Geisha', heads the jury of the international competition this year. 'Tezuka's Barbara', a new Japanese film adaptation of legendary Manga creator Osamu Tezuka's comic book, 'Barbara', written in the early '70s, is part of the international competition line-up this year for the Tokyo Grand Prix, the festival's top award.
Among other Asian films in the official selection are acclaimed Filipino director Brillante Mendoza's new film, 'Mindanao', and compatriot Lav Diaz's 283-minute sci-fi thriller, 'The Halt'.
The Tokyo film festival, which will unveil the newest Japanese animation and special effects works along with many classics and youth productions, will run up to November 5. (UNI)