They'll be rolling the green carpet out again for the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival, which takes place over the penultimate week of October. TIFF is the ugly duckling of the film fest world: it's frequently derided as an inferior rival to Korea's Busan International Film Festival (let alone Cannes, Venice or Berlin), and even its acronym means that it's constantly confused with Toronto's own, more prestigious movie menagerie. That said, it can be a good opportunity to catch new films that have been doing the rounds on the festival circuit, and also provides a rare chance to see Japanese and foreign-language cinema with English subtitles.
The full lineup includes world premieres of flicks by directors as diverse as The Eye's Oxide Pang and The Chef of South Polar helmer Shuichi Okita. Local audiences will also get their first peek of new films by Koki Mitani (A Ghost of a Chance), Gu Su-yeon (Hard Romanticker) and Yuya Ishii (Mitsuko Delivers), as well as some of the movies that have been generating buzz at other fests, among them Michael Winterbottom's Thomas-Hardy-in-India drama Trishna and Albert Nobbs, in which Glenn Close plays a cross-dressing Victorian butler.
The festival opens with Paul W.S. Anderson's The Three Musketeers and Jackie Chan's historical epic 1911, and wraps up with Brad Pitt starrer Moneyball. This being the movie world's most eco-minded fest, there's also a bevvy of nature-themed features and documentaries, ranging from If a Tree Falls – a doc about radical environmentalists the Earth Liberation Front – to Land of Oblivion, Michale Boganim's expansive drama chronicling the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. Actress Kyoko Kagawa, a veteran of films by Yasujiro Ozu, Akira Kurosawa and Kenji Mizoguchi, is being treated to a special retrospective, and there'll also be an all-night screening of three works by the late Juzo Itami, including his pseudonymous 1962 debut, Rubber Band Pistol. In a concession to more recent cinematic developments, meanwhile, TIFF will throw a spotlight on the oeuvre of Kiki Sugino, an actress and producer who has worked extensively with indie directors throughout Asia.