We present a list of eight films you cannot miss at the 18th Tokyo FILMeX 2017, which is taking place from November 18th – 26th in Tokyo, Japan.
Angels Wear White by Vivian Qu – China | 2017 – 107 min.
In a small seaside town in the south of China, Mia works nights at a motel’s reception desk. She witnesses a middle-aged male customer rent a room with two young girls, and later learns that they were sexually abused. The police begin an investigation, but the motel’s owner fears getting dragged into it, and asks Mia to testify that she saw nothing. However, she needs money to extract herself from her current predicament, and embarks on a certain course of action… This intricately-woven drama involving several different women unfolds in a resort area that boasts a massive statue of Marilyn MONROE. Vivian QU, an experienced producer of many independent Chinese masterworks, gives full rein to her rare talent as a director. Screened in competition at the Venice International Film Festival.
November 20th, 2017 | Monday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 13:20 pm (with Q&A)
November 24th, 2017 | Friday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 18:30 pm
Dark is the Night by Adolfo Alix Jr. – Philippines | 2017 – 107 min.
The film begins with the shocking scene of an unarmed man being abruptly shot dead by police. Similar to others living in many slum districts, middle-aged housewife, Sarah, is involved in drug dealing. When she withdraws from the drug business in an attempt to start a proper job, her drug addict son goes missing. Together with her husband, Sarah goes in search for her son…. The Philippines has been violently swept up in President DUTERTE’s radical war on narcotics which is said to have claimed the lives of several thousand suspected drug dealers who, without trial, have been killed on the streets. Adolfo ALIX Jr.’s latest film straightforwardly protests his country’s current situation which has provoked a significant commotion internationally as well. It is a tour de force closely resembling the socially aware films of master filmmaker, Lino BROCKA. It screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
November 21st, 2017 | Tuesday| TOHO Cinemas Nichigeki Screen 3 | 21:15 pm
November 26th, 2017 | Sunday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 10:30 am (With Q&A)
Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts by Mouly Surya – Indonesia | 2017 – 95 min.
In a village among the barren hills of Indonesia, recently widowed Marlina is assaulted by bandits, but turns the tables on them, murdering a number of bandits instead. In order to prove she was justified, she decides to go to the police station in a distant town. She meets her pregnant friend, Novi, who intends to see her husband, so together they head on a journey for the town. However, unforeseen circumstances await the two women… Leading Indonesian film director, Garin NUGROHO’s original story idea is adapted by up-and-coming director, Mouly SURYA, for her third film. A tale full of surprises unfolding amid the Western reminiscent setting of Sumba Island, it world premiered in the Director’s Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival.
November 20th, 2017 | Monday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 16:20 pm
November 24th, 2017 | Friday | TOHO Cinemas Nichigeki Screen 3 | 21:15 pm (With Q&A)
Missing Johnny by Huang Xi – Taiwan | 2017 – 105 min.
Zi-qi, a young woman who moved to Taipei, is receiving numerous wrong number phone calls for a man named Johnny. She gradually takes an interest in who this Johnny person could be. Zi-qi also has begun to keep a parakeet, but it goes missing. This causes the lives of Zi-qi, her landlord’s son, Li, and Yi-feng, the workman under the employ of the landlord, to cross paths. Consequently, Zi-qi’s past is slowly revealed… A tapestry of human relationships is depicted against the backdrop of Taiwan’s nostalgic residential district which still remain today. This is the directorial debut of HUANG Xi, who served as HOU Hsiao-hsien’s assistant. The attractiveness of Rima ZEIDAN, who plays the heroine, is worthy of note. The film was screened at the Taipei Film Festival where it won four awards including Best Screenplay.
November 22nd, 2017 | Wednesday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 12:40 pm (With Q&A)
November 19th, 2017 | Sunday | TOHO Cinemas Nichigeki Screen 3 | 21:15 pm
Mrs. Fang by Wang Bing – Hong Kong, France, Germany | 2017 – 87 min.
The latest film by WANG Bing world premiered at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival where it won the Golden Leopard for Best Film. In a quiet village in southern China, 67-year-old FANG Xiuying has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years and the symptoms are worsening. Her condition is determined to be no longer treatable and she is sent home from the hospital. WANG Bing’s camera remains focused on the bedridden elderly woman whose expression never seems to change. It also records the conversations of the relatives and neighborhood people who come to the house to visit FANG. However, who this elderly woman is and the details of her history are left almost completely unexplained. This is a challenging tour de force not only chronicles a single death, but also poses various questions to the viewers.
November 22nd, 2017 | Wednesday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 10:00 am
November 23rd, 2017 | Thursday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 13:00 pm
Sennan Asbestos Disaster by Hara Kazuo – Japan | 2017 – 215 min.
The first documentary in 23 years from HARA Kazuo since his “A Dedicated Life” (1994) is an eight-year record of asbestos victims in Osaka’s Sennan district who sue the government for compensation. Sennan’s asbestos industry flourished from the late Meiji period and had over 200 factories in close proximity at the height of its prosperity, which led to it being called “Asbestos Village.” The substance can cause lung cancer and mesothelial tumors when inhaled, but despite the government being aware of the risks it posed to health, economic development was prioritized and countermeasures were negligible. In 2006, former factory workers and their families file a lawsuit against the government seeking reparation for the damage done to their health. HARA follows the activities of the plaintiffs’ legal team and investigations by a citizens group, documenting the court battle as well as the plaintiffs themselves. They are victorious in their first trial, but the government continually appeals, and the protracted legal struggle takes a discernible physical toll on the ailing victims…
November 25th, 2017 | Saturday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 10:00 am (With Q&A)
The Seen and Unseen by Kamila Andini – Indonesia, Netherlands, Australia, Qatar | 2017 – 86 min.
10-year-old Tantri is staring death in the face. Her twin brother Tantra has a brain disorder that confines him to a hospital bed, and she knows he will not live much longer. Every night, Tantri’s emotions are set free when Tantra appears before her as his old self, and the siblings dance in the moonlight… This fantastic vision was created by Kamila ANDINI, the daughter of prominent Indonesia filmmaker Garin NUGROHO, and inspired by a Balinese legend. A mythical world where reality and illusions mix is revealed within gorgeous visuals. Its music is supplied by sound designer MORINAGA Yasuhiro, who continues to collaborate with directors from Southeast Asia. Screened in the Toronto International Film Festival’s Platform section.
November 23rd, 2017 | Thursday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 10:40 am
November 25th, 2017 | Saturday | TOHO Cinemas Nichigeki Screen 3 | 21:15 pm (With Q&A)
Trailer (from the SGIFF):
Tokyo Vampire Hotel by Sion Sono – Japan | 2017 – 142 min.
After celebrating her 22nd birthday with friends at a Shinjuku pub, Manami stumbles into a mind-boggling massacre. She emerges as the sole survivor, and is persistently followed by a mysterious woman who calls herself K, as well as a man who goes by the name Yamada. K belongs to the Dracula clan, while Yamada is a member of the enemy Corvins. Both are vampires, and it just so happens that Manami was destined to be chosen as the Dracula clan’s savior. Eventually, she is captured by Yamada and imprisoned in a structure built by the Corvins for a specific purpose, known as the Tokyo Vampire Hotel… A feature version of a drama series produced for streaming on Amazon Prime, this grotesque masterwork unleashes extravagant violence within colorfully production design. Don’t miss ADACHI Yumi’s extraordinary performance.
November 23rd, 2017 | Thursday | Yurakucho Asahi Hall | 17:50 (With Q&A)