Tokyo’s top cinematic extravaganza has hardly avoided controversy in recent years, as its still relatively lowly status and perceived lack of direction has driven the organisers to try out rather questionable methods – including the one-time hiring of AKB48 supremo Yasushi Akimoto as some kind of 'executive producer'. Still, it's usually a decent opportunity to catch new films that have been doing the rounds on the festival circuit, and also provides a rare chance to see fresh Japanese and foreign-language cinema with English subtitles.
For its 29th edition, TIFF will shine the spotlight on anime director Mamoru Hosoda in the Animation Focus category, while Shunji Iwai, in the headlines for multilayered romantic drama A Bride for Rip Van Winkle, takes over the Japan Now section.
As for the main programme, this year's selection features a diverse lineup with films from Iran, Russia, Finland, Turkey, Brazil and USA, some of which have already done the rounds of the international festival circuit. These include Cannes contenders Aquarius, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, Clash, Harmonium, The Neon Demon, Tale of Tales, Sieranevada; Sundance entry The Birth of a Nation; and sci-fi drama Arrival, which had its world premiere at Venice earlier this year. The Special Program includes the critically acclaimed documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut, which revolves around the legendary interviews that took place over eight days in 1962 at Hitchcock's Universal Studios offices.
Tickets for the festival go on sale October 15.