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Tokyo film fest to feature four world premieres in competition, honor Bruce Lee

Enter the Dragon
Bruce Lee in ‘Enter the Dragon’
TOKYO (TR) – The 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival will feature four world premieres in competition and pay tribute to martial arts film star Bruce Lee with a special series to mark the 70th year of his birth.

TIFF chairman Tatsumi “Tom” Yoda said at a press conference on Thursday that this year will be a pivotal one for the event.

“Our mission is to gather films that can convey the power of film,” said Yoda at the conference, held at the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo’s Minato Ward. “This is the jumping stage that will launch us into the future. The high-quality films at this event will be what drives us forward.”

Kicking off the event on October 23 is “The Social Network,” the story of the founding of the immensely popular social-working site Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg. TIFF’s week-long run will feature over 200 films at theaters in the Roppongi entertainment district and other areas. The closer will be Ben Affleck’s “The Town,” a bank-heist film set in Boston.

Four world premieres will be included in the main competition, including Diego Lerman’s “The Invisible Eye,” a love story set in Argentina in 1982, “Postcard” the final film by 98-year-old director Kaneto Shindo and “Sketches of Kaitan City,” helmer Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s adaptation of an unfinished work by novelist Yasushi Sato.

One film in competition has yet to be announced. The jury president will be director Neil Jordan.

Just as the two past years, the fest will push for ecological awareness via a Green Carpet Area at the opening ceremony, the screening of films with environmental themes, the use of recycled materials and the provision of opportunities for donations to be made to causes targeting environmental protection.

Highlights in the “Special Screenings” section include a 24-minute presentation of “Tron: Legacy,” the 3D film accompanied by the music of Daft Punk, “Despicable Me,” a 3D animation by Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, “Brooklyn Night,” a crime drama by Antoine Fuqua and suspense film “Into the White Night,” a story of murder based on the best-selling novel by Keigo Higashino.

The “Japanese Eyes” section will open with veteran helmer Yoichi Higashi’s “Wandering Home,” the story of a family undergoing hardships fueled by alcohol dependency.

The 70th anniversary of the birth of Bruce Lee will be commemorated with the screening of such classics as “Enter the Dragon” and “Game of Death,” which will be a special version released in Japan in 1978. Similarly, the 100th anniversary of director Akira Kurosawa’s birthday will be celebrated with the showing of films that display his influence, including King Hu’s 1975 sword-fighting film “The Valiant Ones.”

Yoda emphasized that this year will be a key to establishing TIFF as one of the best around the world. “I believe that with films like these we will be able to achieve prosperity for the festival in the future,” he said.

Note: On October 7, TIFF announced that the world premiere of helmer Li Yu’s “Buddha Mountain,” a drama about a soul-searching singer, would be the final film in competition.