Toronto Japanese Film Festival 2019 (June 6 – 27, 2019) – TOP PICKS

 

Love’s Twisting Path – Actress Mikado Tabe in Attendance

Saturday June 8 @ 7pm

Runtime: 93 min / 2019

Director: Sadao Nakajima

Starring: Kengo Kora, Mikako Tabe, Ryo Kimura

North American Premiere

After a 20-year hiatus, master jidaigeki director Sadao Nakajima returns with an action-packed throwback to the days of classic “chambara” films.

Kyoto in the final years of the Edo Period. Tajuro, a masterless samurai, can barely making ends meet. His neighbour, the beautiful izakaya owner Otoyo has fallen in love with him. When Tajuro’s brother Kazuma arrives in Kyoto, there is suspicion he is there to overthrow the Shogunate. The authorities pounce and Tajuro, with Otoyo’s help, must fight to protect his brother.

A loving throwback to the action, romance and intensity of the golden years of samurai films.

Official Website and Trailer (In Japanese): tajurou.official-movie.com

You may purchase at Ticketweb, or at JCCC Reception, 416-441-2345

bone-Slide3

Born Bone Born – Director Toshiyuki Teruya in Attendance

Monday June 24 @ 7pm

Runtime: 111 min / 2018

Director: Toshiyuki Teruya

Starring: Ayame Misaki, Eiji Okuda, Michitaka Tsutsui, Yoko Oshima

Canadian Premiere

Four years after their mother’s death, the estranged children of the Shinjo family return to their home on Aguni Island, near Okinawa, to perform the traditional ritual of ‘senkotsu’ or ‘bone-washing,’ a kind of final farewell to a loved one. To everyone’s surprise daughter Yuko arrives alone and heavily pregnant, and son Tsuyoshi minus his wife and children. They arrive to discover father Nobutsuna has been drowning his sorrows in alcohol. But just perhaps an ancient burial ritual is what the Shinjo family needs to heal their wounds and unite once again…

Heartwarming meditation on love, family, and the power of tradition won the Audience Choice Award at Japan Cuts 2018.

Official Website and Trailer (In Japanese) : senkotsu-movie.com

You may purchase ticket(s) at Ticketweb, or at JCCC Reception, 416-441-2345.

 

When My Mom Died, I Wanted to Eat Her Ashes and Every Day a Good Day – Director Tatsushi Omori in Attendance

Wednesday June 26 @ 7pm

Runtime: 108 min / 2019

Director: Tatsushi Omori

Starring: Ken Yasuda, Mitsuko Baisho, Nao Matsushita, Jun Murakami, Renji Ishibashi

North American Premiere

Based on Satoshi Miyagawa’s popular manga. Morbid title aside, this film is a tender, quirky and heart-breaking ode to the love of a son for his mother.

Akiko was always a kind, supportive mother to Satoshi when he was growing up, helping him through tough times saying, “It’s okay, because I am with you. You will survive.”   Satoshi is now in his thirties and remains devoted to his Mom. When she is diagnosed with terminal cancer, it is Satoshi’s turn to say, “It’s okay, because I am with you.” Bring your handkerchiefs!

Official Website and Trailer (In Japanese): bokuiko-movie.asmik-ace.co.jp

You may purchase ticket(s) at Ticketweb, or at JCCC Reception, 416-441-2345.

 

The Gambler’s Odyssey 2020 – Actor Takumi Saitoh in Attendance

Sunday June 16 @ 7pm

Runtime: 120 min / 2019

Director: Kazuya Shiraishi

Starring: Saitoh Takumi, Momo, Becky, Naoto Takenaka

North American Premiere

CONTAINS SCENES OF NUDITY AND SEXUALITY

ADMITTANCE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO 18+

Boyatetsu, a skilled mahong player, slips through time from the ruins of post-war Japan to Tokyo in the year 2020. He finds a ruined city plagued by a decreasing population, increasing unemployment and social unrest. The 2020 Olympics have been cancelled and an evil organization plans to restage the event as a massive human versus artificial intelligence mahjong competition. Boyatetsu must step forward to represent the human race.

A wildly imaginative and quite out-of-control roller-coaster ride of bizarre characters, surreal transgression and action based on Takehiro Irokawa’s novel and Yozo Shimizu’s manga.

Official Website and Trailer (In Japanese): mahjongg2020.jp

You may purchase ticket(s) at Ticketweb, or at JCCC Reception, 416-441-2345

Enjoy!  🙂

Films

The Canadian Opera Company presents “Otello” from April 27, 30, May 3, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 2019


“Otello” beautifully closes up the opera season at The Canadian Opera Company with Verdi’s blistering adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. “Otello” is brimming with drama, darkness, rainy nights and fiery blazes.
Otello is quite the fellow – a professional military man, full of pride and a beaming husband to Desdemona. Retaliation follows as he receives a promotion over his friend, lago. lago’s jealousy takes a malicious turn and leads Otello down a destructive path.
American tenor Russell Thomas returns to the COC as Otello. The San Francisco Classical Voice calling him a “heroically-scaled tenor” with a voice that is a “tower of strength.” Thomas destroys the audience with a strength that runs deep with emotion and stoic in vulnerably. Distinguished Canadian baritone, Gerald Finley is the villainous lago; his manipulative streak and epic moments of contempt makes one’s heart race. Soprano, Tamara Wilson is Otello’s wife, Desdemona. Wilson provides the audience with a moving texture that is unrivaled in this performance. Canadian tenor and Ensemble Studio graduate Andrew Haji illustrates to the audience a complexity that is befitting his role of young lieutenant Cassio.
As per the Canadian Opera Company’s production notes, “the story’s setting has been moved to a crumbling Mediterranean garrison, in the early 20th century. In keeping with the spirit of Verdi’s original creation, the production takes a largely psychological approach, zeroing in on Otello’s inner turmoil over the external influence of other people and circumstance.” The staging creates an atmosphere that resembles the coldest and damp of Canadian Fall days. The Acts are full of uncertainty, questioning and wondering of what is to come. The ambiance of death, dying and a unsettled earth was felt throughout the performance. Grounding is felt in the singular flames rooted into the ground and scenes of a burgeoning dawn that demonstrates an element of hope to the audience.
COC Music Director Johannes Debus leads the COC Orchestra through what is known as one of Verdi’s most daring and complex orchestrations. Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst leads the COC Chorus.
Ensure to make a cool date with “Otello” before the opera season comes to a close in May.
Otello is sung in Italian and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.
This production was originally created as a co-production between English National Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and Teatro Real Madrid.

http://www.coc.ca

The Canadian Opera Company presents “Puccini’s La Bohème” (from April 17, 26, 28, May 2, 4, 5, 7, 11, 22, 2019) at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts


Now that we have packed away our parka’s, it’s time to embrace the spring. There is nothing like winking at snowy scenes in Puccini’s La Bohème, that make one wish for a little sprinkle of snow upon exiting the performance.
Puccini’s La Bohème, one of opera’s best-known love stories, illustrates that art, life, love and loss collide just as much in the present as it did for a group of struggling young artists in 19th-century Paris. Set to some of the most moving music ever composed, the story has captured the hearts of generations of audiences and inspired numerous adaptations, including the hit Broadway musical, Rent. La Bohème runs for 10 performances on April 17, 26, 28, May 2, 4, 5, 7, 11 (two performances), 22, 2019.
The Broadway musical Rent is brash, full on and overly dramatic. Puccini’s La Bohème is quiet, reflective, and perfect to get lost in during a matinee performance. It is worthy of leaving you contemplating about love and loss for the rest of your evening with a glass of wine or with a favourite book of poetry. As John Caird said in 2013 in his Director’s Notes, “Herein lies the true genius of Puccini’s achievement. By giving every one of Murger’s characters a real musical specificity, Puccini allows them to move from laughter to tears and back again with effortless ease – and his orchestral background overflows with the most lovingly crafted detail in support of their complex emotional journeys.”

A mix of rising Canadian and international stars comprise this stellar cast: American soprano Angel Blue makes her COC debut as the doomed Mimì. Blue is dynamic with a demure lens as she reflects on her life and that of her compatriots. One’s heart can’t help but start to break as her love affair with Rodolfo starts to bloom. Brazilian tenor Atalla Ayan won San Francisco Opera’s Emerging Stars Competition in 2018 plays the role of Mimì’s love, Rodolfo. Sweet, kind and keen to be vulnerable about his heart break. Canadian soprano Andriana Chuchman brings her “sure, glorious sound” (Washington Post) to the role of the lively Musetta. Chuchman, is truly epic. Fully of gusto, sauciness and perhaps an eye brow arching lens towards what is to come. American baritone Lucas Meachem performs the role of struggling artist Marcello. Hardly an easy feat but Meachem provides wonderful moments to reflect upon as he digests the pain of his artist friends.
Tony Award-winner John Caird directs this popular COC production, that was last performed in Toronto in 2014. The creative team drew visual inspiration from France’s Belle Époque period to convey characters’ rose-tinted sense of hope and absolute commitment to their art as painter, poet, musician and philosopher. The set cleverly incorporates a collage of canvases by the painter in the opera, Marcello, effectively framing the story onstage within various Parisian locales. Richly coloured lighting design is by Michael James Clark.

The staging as is usual with Canadian Opera Company performances are grand, exciting and full of pomp and circumstance. The dimly lit glow of streetlights, a working stove with a rising smoke stack, snow covered ambiances, treat laden market scenes and dark portraiture make for a cosy performance experience. The joviality that is stitched into the reality of the characters bold and colourful life space is a reminder to the audience, that we are living a Comédie humaine including of genuine laughter, sometimes angry, sometimes joyous but always mixed with tears like that of the artist’s in Puccini’s work.
Italian conductor Paolo Carignani (2012’s Tosca and 2016’s Carmen) returns to Toronto to lead the COC Orchestra through a sweeping score that includes Mimì and Rodolfo’s famously heartbreaking love duets. Italian conductor Antonello Allemandi, making his COC debut, conducts the final performance on May 22. Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst leads the COC Chorus through some of opera’s most memorable melodies.
Ensure you make time to breathe in Puccini’s La Bohème as we enter the Spring. Perhaps we have some new beginnings ourselves that we must nurture and perhaps let go of those that need pruning to the inspiring tune of Puccini’s epic score.
La Bohème is sung in Italian and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.
La Bohème is a COC co-production with Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera.
http://www.coc.ca

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents the Pops Series with the “Queens of Soul” (May 7 & 8, 2019)

Now that the winter is over, pack your parkas away and get ready to breathe in the spring’s vibe with the Queens of Soul at The Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents three fabulous singers in a program of hits made famous by the legendary divas of soul and R&B. Think Aretha Franklin to Alicia Keys!

Check out the full program for the Queens of Soul and grab your tickets soon:

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 8:00 pm

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm

Jeff Tyzik, conductor

Queens of Soul

Shayna Steele, vocalist

Melissa McMillan, vocalist

Brie Cassil, vocalist

FOGERTY/arr. Tyzik: “Proud Mary”  [5′]

WARREN/arr. Tyzik: “At Last”  [5′]

HULL/arr. Tyzik: “New Attitude”  [4′]

WEATHERLY/arr. Tyzik: “Midnight Train to Georgia”  [4′]

GAMBLE/arr. Tyzik: “Don’t Leave Me This Way”  [3′]

ADKINS/arr. Tyzik: “Rolling in the Deep”  [4′]

KEYS/arr. Tyzik: “Fallin’”  [3′]

ALICIA KEYS: /arr. Tyzik: “Girl on Fire”  [3′]

WHITFIELD/arr. Tyzik: “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”  [6′]

BRITTEN/arr. Tyzik: “What’s Love Got To Do With It”  [3′]

MERRILL/arr. Tyzik: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”  [3′]

KING/arr. Tyzik: “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”  [3′]

WINEHOUSE/arr. Tyzik: “You Know I’m No Good”  [4′]

ADKINS/arr. Tyzik: “Hello”  [4′]

REDDING/arr. Tyzik: “Respect”  [2′]

SHANNON/arr. Tyzik: “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”  [2′]

COHEN/arr. Tyzik: “Freeway of Love”  [5′]

KING/arr. Tyzik: “(

https://www.tso.ca/

Mike’s Murder at The Royal Cinema in Toronto – Friday, Apr 26 – 8:00pm (EXCLUSIVE)

The Royal Cinema is celebrating 4 years of the Neon Dreams Cinema Club with a rare screening of a 35mm print of MIKE’S MURDER, secured for by Debra Winger herself! Yay, Debra! Doors at 7pm, pre show at 7:30pm, intro and the film at 8pm.

Neon Dreams Cinema Club: MIKE’S MURDER (35mm!)

db33cd04-ded1-4f08-beb8-2c736ab864d5

Ticket Giveaway: The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival Ticket Giveaway! #HotDocs19 @hotdocs

Hot-Docs-Featured

Every year Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival gets better and better!   This year the film festival is jam packed with the most diverse, emotional and enlightening films yet.  If you haven’t been – don’t miss out this Spring!

Thank you to our friends at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival for gifting Thirty Four Flavours with a stack of #HotDocs19 tickets to get you out there in the sun and ready to catch some wonderful documentaries! Yes, FREE Hot Docs 2019 Tickets!

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and #HotDocs19 Ticket Giveaway?

Simple! Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thirtyfourflavours, Twitter https://twitter.com/34flavours, or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet or email (thirtyfourflavours@gmail.com) telling me which #HotDocs19 Ticket Giveaway films you are interested in listed below. The films that follow are pretty special and will be sure to move and inspire you.

Deadline for the Thirty Four Flavours and #HotDocs19 Ticket Giveaway is Tuesday April 23, 2019.

BUTTERFLY

D: Alessandro Cassigoli, Casey Kauffman | Italy

80 min

Surviving a broken home on the roughest streets of Naples, an 18-year-old girl spectacularly rises to become Italy’s first female Olympic boxer. But when the spotlight fades after the 2016 Rio Games, is she strong enough to fight for herself?

MON, APR 29 9:45 PM TBLB

 

WONGAR

D: Andrijana Stojković | Serbia | 60 min

When one of his beloved dingoes falls gravely ill, a reclusive Serbian-Australian writer in Melbourne delves into painful memories and his life’s work, revealing a personal tragedy that speaks to Australia’s colonial past.

Screening with

The Woman, The Man and a Dog

D: Andrés Navarrete | Ecuador | 19 min

FRI, MAY 3 9:15 PM TBLB

 

WHEN WE WALK

D: Jason DaSilva | USA, Canada | 79 min CC

Recently divorced, the filmmaker attempts to relocate closer to his young son, but confronts the harsh inequity of the US Medicaid system, which would prevent him from accessing the care he needs to live while battling advanced multiple sclerosis.

MON, APR 29 6:30 PM BADER

 

MAGIC LIFE OF V

D: Tonislav Hristov | Finland | 85 min

Armouring herself with a fairy-tale alter ego through live-action role play, a young woman cannot let go of memories of childhood abuse until she’s ready to step out of her elaborate fantasy world and face the real monster from her past.

WED, MAY 1 9:45 PM TBLB

 

SEARCHING EVA

D: Pia Hellenthal | Germany | 84 min

Refusing to fix her own identity and career in permanence, the enigmatic protagonist of this thoroughly millennial character study proves through selfies, sex scenes and social media that online, you can be everything and nothing at once.

TUE, APR 30 8:00 PM SCOTIA

 

PICTURE CHARACTER

D: Ian Cheney, Martha Shane | USA | 84 min

Explore the evolution of emojis, the colourful and creative pictorial language that surged from a simple set of icons to a swiftly evolving linguistic phenomenon that is reshaping how we communicate.

TUE, APR 30 9:30 PM HOT DOCS CINEMA

Happy Hot Docs Film Watching!

http://www.hotdocs.ca

The Art Gallery of Ontario presents the Infinity Mirrored Room – “Let’s Survive Forever” from Yayoi Kusama (Opens May 25, 2019)

56435232_10156721045895873_7566599895755259904_n

Yayoi Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop art and minimalism. Her highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes.

Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Kusama’s work has been featured widely in both solo and group exhibitions. She presented her first solo show in Japan in 1952. In the mid-1960s, she lived in New York where she became an important avant-garde artist by staging groundbreaking and influential happenings, events, and exhibitions. In 1965 Kusama produced her first Infinity Mirror Room. Building on the repetition found in her paintings and sculptures, this artwork used mirrors to create an illusion of infinite space. Since then Kusama has made more than 20 unique rooms.

She returned to Japan in 1973. Her work gained widespread recognition in the late 1980s following a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England, which both took place in 1989. She represented Japan in 1993 at the 45th Venice Biennale to much critical acclaim. At age 90 Yayoi Kusama continues to produce interactive, infinity-like spaces, as well as paintings and sculptures.

56649339_10156721045695873_7384953797388271616_n

ABOUT THE ARTWORK

For more than 60 years, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (born 1929) has invited people to participate in her groundbreaking visions of infinity. Over the past three decades, this prolific experimental artist has become an internationally acclaimed art-world icon, with work presented across the globe.

INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER features mirrored spheres suspended from the ceiling and arranged on the floor. A mirrored column inside the room invites visitors to peer into a seemingly infinite field of silver orbs.

Thanks to the generosity of the David Yuile & Mary Elizabeth Hodgson Fund and over 4,700 #InfinityAGO donors who participated in the AGO’s ambitious crowdfunding campaign, Yayoi Kusama’s INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER is now a part of the AGO Collection.

#InfinityAGO