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The Tokyo International Film Festival took place from October 22nd-31st. In 2011 I had the chance to attend to some screenings. This year, however, I made use of my status as student and enjoyed quite some screenings at reduced price.
The TIFF is one of the approved A-class film festivals, at the same level of Berlin, Cannes or Venice. It’s a good chance to catch world premieres and to spot film stars. In atmosphere is different to, let’s say Karlovy Vary and Berlin, two festivals which I had the chance to visit. Being Tokyo a huge metropolis where the amount of events is just overwhelming, the TIFF may not be in everyone’s agenda.
There seem to be less glamour than, let’s say, the Berlinale. For instance, there’s a red carpet on the opening evening of the festival, and not before the premieres of the films in competition.
The format of the screenings is slightly different too. There may be a stage greeting from the film crew before the film begins. There is usually a Q&A after the film finishes. Sometimes, after the Q&A there may be a photo-call for the press. All this in front of the audience! At some world premieres (specially of the Japanese films), the host kindly asks the audience to not take pictures during the official photo-call, as it’s a press reserved privilege.
Besides the Official Competition Selection, there are other sections like Asian Future, Special Screenings, Panorama, World Focus, and three sections dedicated to Japanese cinema. There are also some special retrospectives (this time there was one of Orson Welles and other of Gundam) and some parallel co-hosted events (Latin Beat, Korean Week, China Week…).
The main venues are in Roppongi HIlls. Most of the world premieres take place at the TOHO Cinemas in this complex and some of the glamourous events occur at the 49th Floor. Some other events are hosted at some cinemas in Shinjuku too. The festival offers a shuttle bus to transport people from Roppongi to Shinjuku.
The Roppongi Hills arena also hosts some live music concerts; like the photo-calls, some of this musical events aren’t allowed to be photographed by the audience.
A nice touch are the five food trucks parked at the arena, from well known restaurants (and chefs) at a reasonable price. Not only that, a discount is received by showing a screening ticket.
I managed to see the following films in competition:
The tickets aren’t that hard to get, except for Japanese premieres.
A visual, musical and culinary experience at an affordable price.
Here a small video I made with live music from a lovely Brazilian/Japanese lady accompanied by two great musicians. I apologize for not getting their names! Also for the potato quality. My computer has been behaving very bad in the last weeks.