Tokyo International Film Festival


The 29th annual Tokyo International Film Festival runs from October 25 to November 3. Tickets go on sale October 15, and given how quickly last year’s tickets sold out, you’re advised to grab yours quickly.

This year’s screenings of more than 200 films will take place primarily at Roppongi Hills and Ex Theater Roppongi, with a few screenings scheduled at other venues in the Roppongi area. In addition to new films from around the world, TIFF offers a great opportunity to see new and old Japanese films with English subtitles. In general, all Japanese language films will be subtitled in Japanese, while all other non-English language films will be subtitled in both Japanese and English.

Special events this year include The World of Hosoda Mamoru, which includes screenings of Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast, Summer Wars, and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, as well as a conversation between Hosoda and animator Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi on October 29th.

Shunji Iwai is another featured director–in addition to his latest, A Bride for Rip Van Winkle, TIFF will screen Love Letter, Swallowtail Butterfly, Vampire, and Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?

Plenty of old favorites are returning, including the Watanabe brothers, who seem to have moved from quasi-documentaries to fictional drama with Poolsideman, the story of a lonely pool lifeguard in a Tokyo suburb. Koji Fukada’s Harmonium is a much darker version of his 2010 Hospitalite, both stories of families that are forever changed when a man from the husband’s past shows up unexpectedly. Daguerrotype, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s first international production, seems to touch on the director’s favored themes of haunted spaces and fragile family dynamics. Frustratingly, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s well-received Happy Hour, which clocks in at over five hours, is showing only at 10:30 pm on October 29th, meaning that anyone who wants to watch it will either need to be staying in Roppongi or willing to wait until the first trains depart at 5 am after the screening finishes.

Full schedules and ticket information can be found at the TIFF website.

A scene from Ryusuke Yamaguchi’s Happy Hour.

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