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Tokyo Market: Shochiku Launches Horror, Comedy and Mystery Lineup

Major Japanese studio, Shochiku has the honor of leading off next week’s Tokyo International Film Festival with its “Tora-san, Wish You Were Here.” The film is a revival of a beloved in-house drama franchise, directed by veteran Yoji Yamada, that is set as the event’s opening night gala presentation.

Before that, the company has the no less important matter of launching its new sales and distribution slate at the TIFFCOM market that opens Tuesday. Mystery, horror and comedy films are among the main genres among the new lineup.

“Tora-san” aside, the slate is lead by “Special Actors,” the second film by Shinichio Ueda, director of last year’s hit horror-comedy “One Cut of the Dead.” Starring Kazuto Osawa, “Special Actors” is a comedy drama in which none of the characters are quite what they seem. It launched this weekend in Japanese theaters.

In the same comedy-drama vein, the studio is also launching “not Quite Dead Yet,” in which a frustrated college girl sort of kills off her domineering dad. Directed by Shinki Hamasaki, the picture is set for a March 2020 release.

Straight-up horror film “Stare” is set for a holiday weekend, Jan. 10 release in 2020. Directed by Hirotaka Adachi, the film is pitched in the same vein as Japanese horror classics Sadako and Kayako, and features a woman who gaze can kill.

Other 2020 titles include literary adaptation “Sakura,” a drama about endurance and hope in the face of adversity, being directed by Hitoshi Yazaki, and “Kiokura,” a mystery drama that probes an urban legend about the pursuit of lost memories.

The studio is also relaunching “Flowers of Shanghai,” the 1998 Hou Hsiao-hsien-directed masterpiece about the stifling life in four 19th century brothels. The 4K digitally-restored version is set for a new festival and commercial career, with a theatrical revival in Japan over the past weekend, and a special presentation at the late-November Singapore International Film Festival among its first stops.

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