TIFF 11 for '11: Pacific Rim Offerings

Festivals Editor; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)
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TIFF 11 for '11: Pacific Rim Offerings

You've read about the awards hopefuls and the twitch-tastic superflix heading to this year's Toronto International Film Fest next week. Our TIFF 11 for '11 series continues now with a look at some of the films from Asia playing Fall's biggest fest.


SMUGGLER
Seeing Katsuhito Ishii's name show up in the TIFF program represents a real treat for fans of Japanese cinema. Ishii has only a handful of features under his belt - but titles like The Taste of Tea and Funky Forest have been some of the most interesting films out of Japan in the last decade. His latest is a comedy about an actor-turned dead body smuggler played by Satoshi Tsumabuki navigating a danger filled underworld. With no Takashi Miike films on offer at this year's TIFF, it is up to Ishii to fill the void for top notch Japanese wackiness.
Trailer | Teaser


FROM UP ON POPPY HILL
Animation legend Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro Miyazaki's first feature Tales from Earthsea was a bit of a disappointment when compared to his father's body of work. Hopes are higher for Goro's second feature from Studio Ghibli, not coincidentally because it was written by his father. Set around the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the film follows a pair of teens caught up in Japan's race to modernize.


HEADSHOT
Thai auteur Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Last Life in the Universe, Invisible Waves) returns with this story of a hitman who sees the world upside down after taking a bullet to the noggin.
Trailer


ARIRANG
Fresh off its Cannes premiere, Kim Ki-duk's autobiographical documentary arose after a suicide scene in his previous film Dream led to near-fatal accident for one of Kim's actors. Kim retreated to the woods and created this film playing every single role in the production.
Trailer


THE SWORD IDENTITY
Hot off the tails of writing Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmasters, Xu Haofeng arrives on the scene in a big way with this Ming Dynasty costumer.
Teaser | 3 Clips


HIMIZU
Sion Sono is quite possibly the hottest name in Japanese cinema right now after 2008's supermovie Love Exposure and last year's ultra-creepy Cold Fish. His latest follows a personal breakdown between a young couple in the wake of March's Tohoku earthquake. Talk about a quick turnaround!


COUNTDOWN
South Korean actress Jeon Do-youn (The Housemaid , Secret Sunshine ) stars alongside Jung Jae-Young in this debut caper flick from director Huh Jong-ho.


A LETTER TO MOMO
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade director Hiroyuki Okiura returns with his second animated feature. This adventure story about a young girl searching for the truth about her deceased father screens as part of the TIFF Kids series.
Trailer


I WISH
Hirokazu Kore-eda has carved out a niche as Japan's master of human spirit dramas with his films After Life, Nobody Knows and Still Walking. His latest is about a 12-year old boy creatively trying to reunite his parents after a new bullet train line links opposite ends of their island of Kyushu.


BUNOHAN
This contemplative Malaysian actioner by Dain Said tells the story of three brothers - one a kickboxer, one a business man, and one an assassin - struggling with their relationships with each other and their father over a disputed plot of family land.
Trailer


KOTOKO
Japanese genre master Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo, Gemini, Vital) returns to TIFF with this psychological thriller about a woman played by actress/pop star Cocco whose baby is taken away after she is accused of child abuse.

With so many great looking movies from Asia at this year's festival, we couldn't possibly fit them all in here. A few more to keep an eye out for are Joseph Israel Laban's Filipino drug mule drama Cuchera, Blue Spring and Nine Souls director Toshiaki Toyoda's mail bomber drama Monsters Club, and Johnnie To's latest HK crime drama Life Without Principle. Uncle Boonmee director Apichatpong Weerasethakul also has a 2 minute short called Empire playing as part of the Wavelengths 1: Analogue Arcadia program.

Come back tomorrow as TIFF 11 for '11 turns to look at this year's biggest documentaries.
Entries in the series thus far:
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 1: The Big Launches
TIFF 11 for '11 Part 2: The Fantastic Side of Things

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