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Rage (2016)

A grisly unsolved murder links three seemingly unrelated stories in three different Japanese cities.


For an outcast in the rigidly hierarchical society of seventeenth-century Japan, the only possible road to redemption is to become a ninja, an unorthodox fighter skilled in the art of stealth. However, the ruthless world of ninjas causes some to desert in search of freedom. One such fugitive is Kamui, an invincible warrior who has decided to follow his heart and betray his despicable clan with its culture of abuse and injustice. Japan’s hottest talent, Kenichi Matsuyama, plays the rebel ninja, giving his most spectacular performance to date.

On the run, Kamui abandons secluded forests and dark mountains for the blinding light and beauty of the ocean. He crosses paths with Hanbei (Kaoru Kobayashi), an indomitable fisherman who is always on the lookout for the perfect bait, the one that will ensure abundant fish for his beloved family. When Kamui washes ashore nearly dead on a little island, Hanbei happily brings him home and nurses him back to life. However, Kamui’s arrival does not sit well with Oshika (Koyuki), Hanbei’s dear wife, who senses the danger the sea has unexpectedly brought them. Nevertheless, Hanbei and Kamui’s encounter is a fated one, destined to change both men’s lives for better or for worse. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

Norwegian Wood

Upon hearing the song “Norwegian Wood,” Toru (Matsuyama) remembers back to his life in the 1960s, when his friend Kizuki killed himself and he grew close to Naoko, Kizuki’s girlfriend. As the two try, in very different ways, to contend with their grief, Toru forms a bond with another woman, Midori. [Synopsis courtesy of IMDb]

Chasuke’s Journey

Things are hectic in heaven. Dozens of scribes sit before a long scroll incessantly scribbling away. They are composing the biographies of earth-dwellers. What is invented by the men in heaven is lived out below. And their employer, God, is increasingly vehement in demanding avant-garde ideas. Take, for example, the beautiful Yuri, a girl who dies in a car crash. Some of the heavenly scribes find this very dull and send former gangster Chas, who has become a heavenly tea-boy, back down to earth with instructions to save Yuri no matter what. And so Chas ends up in Okinawa, gets to know the earth-dwellers, interferes in their fates, becomes celebrated as ‘Mr Angel’ and is hounded by brutal enemies. His falling in love with Yuri is of course a foregone conclusion. But no one could anticipate what happens next. Not even God himself. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival]

Homeland (Ieji)

Jiro has come home. His tiny former farming village is now deserted because it lies in the zone near Fukushima which was badly contaminated after the nuclear disaster. Nonetheless, the young man begins cultivating his land. An old school friend helps him and together they plant rice as the sun shines and radioactivity spreads. It’s like slow suicide, says Jiro’s friend. Jiro’s half-brother Soichi, who has never had Jiro’s green fingers and was therefore always a disappointment to their father, has been evacuated with his wife, small daughter and step-mother. He is now living in a temporary settlement where the houses are all so alike that his step-mother has trouble finding her way around. He can’t believe his ears when he learns that Jiro has moved into her old house. Soichi’s step-mother, who is Jiro’s biological mother, never got over Jiro leaving. Why has he decided to return now, of all times, to these poisoned fields? [Synopsis courtesy of Berlinale]