Japanese Films at Toronto

Stephen Cremin asianfilmlibrary
Thu Sep 2 22:58:21 EDT 1999

Thanks (x2) for posting the Toronto lineup.  I'm biting my tongue trying not 
to criticise it.  (I should have learnt my lesson by now.)  Following the 
death of their longtime Asian programmer, David Overbey, I've been curious 
for months as to how it would shape up this year.

I expected Montreal - now on I guess - to "take advantage" and take the rich 
pickings from this year's Asian films.  I'm not sure exactly what they're 
showing but they do have the premiere of Kimizuka Takumi's new film which is 
the only thing he's proud of since his debut "Mourning Work".  (He's his 
biggest critic in every sense.)

I was one of the people disappointed by last year's "New Beat of Japan" 
lineup in Toronto which seemed to actually celebrate the established beat 
(Kurosawa, Iwai, Sakamoto, etc) and, with the odd exception, hugely 
disappointing debuts (and second films) from Hagiuda Koji, Saito Hisashi, 
Yamakawa Gen, etc.  (I guess I'm one of the few people who liked Isaka's 
"Detective Riko", although Suzuki Kazuma's Toyoetsu impression gets on the 
nerves once again.)

Most of this year's lineup wouldn't be amiss in Colin's Midnight Madness 
KIYOSHI RETRO.  But Fantasia already had the pick of the bunch with a huge 
Asian lineup including the variations of "Ring" and the international 
premiere of "Swiri".  Anyway, I'm sure Colin has some interesting work in 
his slot, judging by his recent programming at Bloor.

And some real dogs in Toronto's co-production lineup.  What were the other 
Asian films out of curiosity?  Interesting to contextualise them among the 
Japanese work since its the same programmer (if that doesn't bother the 
list).  And David's strong point in previous year's was the strength of his 
SE Asian programming.

Anyway, anybody in the Toronto area should ignore this post and hang out at 
the festival because Toronto has always had one hell of an atmosphere, 
speaking as a paying audience member in 1993.  I guess I'm just peeved that 
Tony Rayns' Vancouver lineup for October - to be announced next week - will 
just seem undeservedly fresh in comparison...

Stephen Cremin
Asian Film Library

PS: Come on, Colin, email me privately with some gossip!

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