29th Tokyo International Film Festival kicks off

he 29th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival kicked off on Tuesday night with movie stars and Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, walking the red carpet.

Acclaimed actress Meryl Streep, starring in the event’s opening film, “Florence Foster Jenkins,” was greeted by fans. She told the crowd she wanted movie-goers to experience a sense of surprise from the real life-inspired story.

“I would like people to take away all the surprises in the film because it at first seems like a funny, odd love story. But then it turns into something more sort of deep and poignant,” Streep said.

The three time Oscar-winner portrays the title character, a World War Two-era New York socialite whose passion for music far outweighed her singing skills.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who made an appearance at the festival’s launch, said he was thrilled to be there.

“This red carpet is a lot more exciting than the red carpet at the parliament building. I’m feeling very excited, and it’s sinking in that the Tokyo International Film Festival has finally kicked off.”

Other stars, including Mamoru Hosoda, one of Japan’s young anime directors who’s being tipped to lead the industry after the retirement of legenday animator, Hayao Miyazaki, expressed excitement over having a series of his films being screened.

“I have a lot of works, but we don’t get a lot of opportunities to show them all at once. I am very honoured to have been given the chance to do so here,” said Hosoda.

He is known for works such as “The Boy and the Beast,” and “Wolf Children,” and his films often feature themes relating to family and identity.

The festival will be held over ten days. Last year, there were more than 1,400 submissions from 86 countries and regions.

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