Saturday, October 30, 2010

November 13, 14, 2010 - CJS Co-Sponsors "TOILET" and "DEAR DOCTOR" at the REEL ASIAN Film Festival!

The Canada Japan Society is proud, once again, to be a community co-sponsor for the 14th Annual REEL ASIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, running from November 9-15th.

We are sponsoring TWO films again this year, and CJS members save 25% on regular screening ticket prices! Just enter promotional code CPORG when you buy tickets online at Valid to Nov 8 2010.

TOILET (トイレット)
Dir. Naoko Ogigami | Japan 2010 | 109:00 | 35mm | English | Rated: PG

Japanese director Naoko Ogigami’s most recent international cinematic offering, filmed in Toronto in 2009 and featuring a mostly Canadian cast and production team, is an off-the-wall comedy about three siblings — a nerdy engineer, a brilliant pianist and an aspiring air guitarist, who collectively struggle to relate to their estranged Japanese grandmother after the death of their mother.

Known for her poignant humour and the charming sensibility in her body of work — Kamome Diner (2006) and Megane (2007) — Ogigami delights in placing her characters in situations that force them to deal with the peculiarities and problems of everyday life. Nerdy thirty-something Ray (Alex House) is just fine, doing his own thing. Balancing his life somewhere in between peacefulness and boredom, he is content with his lab job, predictable work clothes and his obsession with plastic toys. But after his mother’s death, he reluctantly finds himself back home with his eccentric brother Maury (David Rendall), who suffers from severe anxiety, and their bossy sister Lisa (Tatiana Mazurani), who demands that Ray take more of an active role in the family. Still coping with the loss of their mother, the siblings must also care for their baa-chan, or grandmother (Masako Motai), who just arrived from Japan and doesn’t speak a word of English.

Frustrated by this disruption to his daily routine, Ray becomes increasingly obsessed with the bathroom rituals of his baa-chan and questions whether or not she is “really” part of their family. Through a series of hysterically comedic events, he discovers that she really isn’t who he’d expected. Of course, neither is he.

DEAR DOCTOR (ディア ドクター)

Dir. Miwa Nishikawa | Japan 2009 | 127:00 | 35mm | Japanese w/ Eng. sub. | Rated: PG

In a remote Japanese rural village of 1,500 aged residents, the sole and much-beloved physician, Osamu Ino (Tsurube Shofukutei), has gone missing. During the police investigation into his disappearance, Ino’s reputation is questioned, with emerging discrepancies in his credentials pointing to fraud and willful endangerment of the health of local residents.

In spite of these revelations, the town and even the mayor comes to the defence of Ino, who is also deeply admired and considered a cherished mentor by his colleagues — nurse Akemi Otake (Kimiko Yo, Departures) and a young medical intern, Keisuke Soma (Eita).

The film’s humorous vignettes of the trio visiting elderly patients show Ino’s wonderful bedside manner and sensitive approach to medicine. And after he miraculously brings a man back from the dead, Ino’s standing in the community approaches a godlike stature.

But then he encounters the case of an elderly widow — Torikai-san (Kaoru Yachigusa) — complaining of a stomach ache that appears to be more serious than Ino’s initial diagnosis. Complicating the issue, he has developed an ambiguous relationship with Mrs. Torikai, who is neglected by her grown daughters, one of whom is a doctor in Tokyo.

Based on her own novel, Kino no kamisama, director Miwa Nishikawa’s Dear Doctor is an endearing and artful comedy about how patients sometimes suffer more from loneliness than from physical illness. Posing a philosophical dilemma, the storyline asks: what qualifies someone to care for others — credentials or life experiences? This charming and nostalgic film, with gorgeous cinematography and a popular cast, has won more than 21 awards in Japan.

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