Wim Wenders’ acclaimed “Perfect Days” will open the Tokyo International Film Festival in October. The event will close with “Godzilla Minus One,” the latest addition to Toho’s iconic monster movie franchise on Nov. 1.
“Perfect Days” follows the routine and revelatory chance encounters of a simple toilet cleaner in Tokyo. Having premiered to acclaim – Variety called it Wenders’ best narrative film for decades – and a prize for lead actor Yakusho Koji, in Cannes the film is a logical choice for the Japanese festival.
But Wenders, who is already set to be the Tokyo festival’s jury president, says the selection has a deeper meaning. “I’m excited to be back at the Tokyo International Film Festival, happening 60 years after the death and therefore 120 years after Ozu’s birth, my declared master, which makes the occasion very special to me. I’m more than proud to present ‘Perfect Days’ as the 36th TIFF’s opening film.
Ozu Yasujiro is one of the most celebrated Japanese filmmakers of all time. His double anniversaries this year – he was born on Dec. 12, 1903, and died on his sixtieth birthday in 1963 – are being celebrated by film festivals, museums and collections around the world.
One of the few claimants to an even greater stature in Japanese cinema is Godzilla (or ‘Gojira’), the fictional monster (‘Kaiju’) that first debuted in a 1954 film by Honda Ishiro. The character has appeared in 33 Japanese films distributed by Toho and five American ones.
The latest picture will play in Tokyo two days before its Japanese commercial release on Nov. 3. Details of the picture are only slowly emerging. A synopsis provide by the festival reads: “After the war, Japan has been reduced to zero. Godzilla appears and plunges the country into a negative state. Against the most desperate situation in the history of Japan, how — and with whom —will Japan stand up to it?”
“The Tokyo International Film Festival was the place where Godzilla made its debut. The opportunity to have an exclusive screening before its official release at such a prestigious film festival feels like destiny and is truly an honor,” said director Yamazaki Takashi.
“’Godzilla Minus One’ is a remarkable work that carries forward the spirit instilled by the original creators of the first ‘Godzilla,’ while also showcasing the many challenges that the director took on. I’m elated that this film, ahead of its worldwide release, can be presented as the closing film,” said the Tokyo festival’s programming director Ichiyama Shozo.
The Tokyo festival runs Oct. 23 – Nov 1. The accompanying TIFFCOM rights market runs Oct. 25 – 27 at a new venue in Hamamatsucho.
- Wim Wenders’ ‘Perfect Days,’ ‘Godzilla Minus One’ to Open and Close Tokyo Film Festival
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