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‘Tezuka’s Barbara’ and ‘A Beloved Wife’ Head for Tokyo Festival Competition

"Tezuka's Barbara" in competition at Tokyo
(c) Barbara Film Committee

Two Japanese films, “Tezuka’s Barbara” and “A Beloved Wife” have been selected for the main competition section of next month’s Tokyo International Film Festival.

The festival will reveal the remainder of the competition and the bulk of its other selections later this month. To date the Japanese festival has only revealed its opening film (“Tora-san, Wish You Were Here”,) a gala screening of Japanese film “Talking The Pictures,” directed by Masayuki Suo, and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” as its closing event.

“Barbara” is an adult-oriented fantasy tale, directed by Makoto Tezka who adapts his father Osamu Tezka’s famous novel, itself a reimagining of “The Tales of Hoffmann.” The story deals with the erotic and bizarre experiences of a novelist whose life is turned upside down by a mysterious girl named Barbara, and touches on taboos including forbidden love, eroticism, scandal and the occult.

Tokyo festival selector Yoshi Yatabe called it: “extremely luxurious and fortunate filmmaking,” “a stand out among recent Japanese films,” and “a milestone work for Tezka.” The film stars Goro Inagaki, Fumi Nikaido, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, and Shizuka Ishibashi, and was lensed by Asia-based Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle. “Barbara” is set for commercial release in Japan in 2020.

“A Beloved Wife” is the second feature by Shin Adachi, an acclaimed screenwriter (“100 Yen Love”) who previously directed “14 That Night.” The comedy film pitches Gaku Hamada and Asami Mizukawa together as a couple in an unhappy and penniless marriage. Their attempt to put things right through a family trip to another town yields unexpected results. The film will be released in Japan by Bandai Namco Arts/ Q-Tec in 2020.

The 32nd edition of the festival will run from October 28 to November 5, 2019