06-24 November 2019

TORA-SAN, WISH YOU WERE HERE

TORA-SAN, WISH YOU WERE HERE

男はつらいよ お帰り 寅さん

Spotlight on Japan
Yoji Yamada

Japan

2019 / 115’ / North American Premiere / Japanese

TORA-SAN, WISH YOU WERE HERE
TORA-SAN, WISH YOU WERE HERE

Tora-san is back! IT’S TOUGH BEING A MAN or as many fans called it, the TORA-SAN film series (48 in all, released between 1969-1995) was fronted by the late Kiyoshi Atsumi, who masterfully played an ambling vagabond who was always unlucky in love, or always fell in love, however you viewed his situation. Director and elder statesman Yoji Yamada, who just celebrated his 88th birthday, directed all but two episodes in this epic series. 

And now he has directed the 49th film, which is a convergence of two fates—2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first film. Secondly, the advancement of digital technology allowed Yamada to tell a new story starring Japan’s most affable everyman. Now, don’t fret, Tora-san fans! Before you accuse the producers of violating ethics in installing an actor posthumously into a film to cash in on said anniversary, I can assure you that this is not the case. What Yamada has cleverly done is tell a story about the many supporting characters, how the avuncular Tora-san affected their lives, and what they are doing today.

The main character in this new installment is his nephew Mitsuo, who is a middle-aged widower, raising a teenage daughter. When his first novel is published, he attends a book signing in Tokyo where he runs into his first love Izumi (‘80s J-idol Kumiko Goto), who he has not seen in three decades. There is an immediate spark as they both decide to visit old haunts and meet up with characters that have inhabited many installments of the famed series. As the memories come flooding back, the spirit of Tora-san resonates as Mitsuo must decide what to do next. Even after death, his uncle is there to lead him onto the right path. 

In addition to this new installment, HIFF will also screen a digitally remastered version of TORA-SAN, MY UNCLE (1989), the 42nd installment of this famed series, which prominently ties in to this film.

-Anderson Le

Screenings
Saturday 9 15:00 - 17:00Regal Dole Cannery 1
Sunday 17 15:30 - 17:30Regal Dole Cannery 16
DirectorYoji Yamada.
CastKiyoshi Atsumi, Chieko Baisho, Ruriko Asaoka, Hidetaka Yoshioka and Kumiko Goto.
ScreenplayYoji Yamada and Yûzô Asahara.

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