The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is just days away from rolling out the red carpet on over 350 movies from around the world while welcoming a horde of over 200 celebrities to the city including Johnny Depp, Julianne Moore, Tom Hardy, Matt Damon, Eddie Redmayne, Susan Sarandon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Idris Elba. The 2015 edition looks to build upon 2014’s Fest which included 5,084 delegates, 287 speakers, 2,004 buyers which ate up 65 films that were showcased in the city.
Over the next few days we will take time to spotlight some of the films on the Festival’s schedule further whetting the appetite for screenings big and small. Intestinal Fortitude will be on hand for no less than 20 of the films featured so be sure to check back daily to see our reviews and thoughts on the Festival as it progresses.
Today’s Spotlight: Yakuza Apocalypse
Dear Heavens I love me some Takashi Miike. If you Google the director’s filmography you will be amazed that the director has 98 separate titles to his name. 98. Think about that. Martin Scorsese has 59. Steven Spielberg 55. Quentin Tarantino 10. Miike is a machine sometimes pumping out 6 films in a calendar year. And before you question the overall quality of such films let me quickly point out that Miike was behind the camera for 13 Assassins, Detective Story, Ichi the Killer and Audition.
Miike is a staple at the Toronto International Film Festival having premiered half a dozen films at the event over the years and he is back in 2015 with his new venture – Yakuza Apocalypse.
Always one for experimental filmmaking and throwing the kitchen sink at his audience, Yakuza Apocalypse pushes the envelope with gangs, vampires, earthquakes, monsters, volcanos and a yakuza knitting circle (?).
Imdb.com has the following lengthy synopsis: “ In the ruthless underground world of the yakuza, no one is more legendary than boss Kamiura. Rumored to be invincible, the truth is he is a vampire-a bloodsucking yakuza vampire boss! Among Kamiura’s gang is Kageyama, his most loyal underling. However, the others in the gang view Kageyama with disdain and ridicule him for his inability to get tattooed due to sensitive skin. One day, assassins aware of boss Kamiura’s secret arrive from abroad and deliver him an ultimatum: Return to the international syndicate he left years ago, or die. Kamiura refuses and, during a fierce battle with anime-otaku martial-arts expert Kyoken, is torn limb from limb. With his dying breath, Kamiura bites Kageyama, passing on his vampire powers to the unsuspecting yakuza. As he begins to awaken to his newfound abilities, Kageyama’s desire to avenge the murder of boss Kamiura sets him on a course for a violent confrontation with Kaeru-kun, the foreign syndicate’s mysterious and seemingly unstoppable leader!”
Colin Geddes of TIFF writes, “All bets are off in this piece of demented brilliance that is sure to satisfy hardcore Miike devotes and blow the minds of anyone else who comes into contact with it. The lunacy comes fast, furious and frequently, but even Miike’s most outrageous creations fade into the background when the true villain of the film shows up”
Yakuza Apocalypse stares Hayao Ichihara and Yayan Ruhian and is featured as an entry in TIFF’s Midnight Madness movie series. It premieres on September 18th at the Ryerson Theatre and again on September 19th at the Scotiabank 2.
Hellions gets its Canadian Premiere on September 17th at the Elgin Winter Garden Theatre and repeats again on September 18th at the Scotiabank 4.