Japan’s Toei Reveals Newfound Diversity at Tokyo Film Market

Talking the Pictures in Tokyo festival
©2019 TALKING THE PICTURES Production Committee

Once known for its popular gang and other action films that had legions of mostly male fans, Toei today has a diverse line-up in a variety of genres. To this edition of TIFFCOM the company has brought several new titles, including “Mio’s Recipe for You” a drama about a young female chef in the feudal era, who is determined to fuse the cuisines of Kyoto and Edo (the old name for Tokyo). The director is Haruki Kadokawa, a hit-making veteran producer and director going back to the 1970s.

Also new is “Machi no Ueda,” the latest film by Rikiya Imaizumi, a director who has acquired a cult following for movies about the romantic tribulations of the urban young. His hero is a young man working at a second-hand clothing stores in Shimokitazawa, a trendy Tokyo suburb, when his humdrum existence is upset by the offer of a film role and encounters with three attractive girls.

Set for a gala screening at this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival is “Talking the Pictures,” a comedy about a fledgling benshi or film narrator in Japan’s silent picture era. Masayuki Suo, who is best known internationally for his 1995 romantic comedy “Shall We Dance?,” directs.