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“Great Absence” to Make its World Premiere at the 48th Toronto International Film Festival

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Mirai Moriyama and Tatsuya Fuji’s First On-Screen Father-Son Appearance! “Great Absence” Selected for the Competition in the 48th Toronto International Film Festival

“Great Absence,” featuring Mirai Moriyama as the lead and starring Tatsuya Fuji, Yoko Maki, and Hideko Hara, will have its world premiere in the ‘Platform Competition’ of the 48th Toronto International Film Festival held from September 7th to 17th. With this announcement, the international poster has been unveiled, accompanied by delighted comments from the cast.

The Toronto International Film Festival, long considered non-competitive, established a competition section in 2015 named the ‘Platform’ category after the work of renowned director Jia Zhangke. Focusing on artistically valuable films that powerfully convey the director’s vision, it has gained attention as a precursor to the Oscars, especially since “Moonlight,” which won the 89th Academy Award for Best Picture, was screened in this category. Kei Chika-ura is the second Japanese director to be invited to this competition since Kiyoshi Kurosawa with “Le secret de la chambre noire” in 2016.

In the film, Mirai Moriyama plays the main character, with Tatsuya Fuji portraying his father, Yoko Maki playing the wife, and Hideko Hara as the crucial character of the father’s second wife. This film marks the first on-screen appearance for Moriyama and Fuji. Meanwhile, Moriyama and Maki reunite for the first time since “Moteki” in 2012, and for Fuji and Hara, it’s a reunion after 40 years since “P. P. Rider” by Shinji Somai in 1983.

“Great Absence” is directed by Kei Chika-ura. His debut feature film “Complicity” (2018) was officially invited to prestigious international film festivals such as Toronto, Berlin, and Busan. This is his second feature film.

The cinematography for the film is handled by Yutaka Yamazaki, who supported many of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s works like “Nobody Knows” and “After the Storm.” The entire film is shot on 35mm film. Sound mix and design are by the P.A.T Works unit consisting of Miki Nomura and Tatsuya Ohbo, known for “Drive My Car.” The film’s score is composed by the up-and-coming Koji Itoyama, marking his first feature film score.

“Great Absence” is not only a contender for the ‘Platform Award’ selected from the ten films nominated in the competition category but is also eligible for the ‘People’s Choice Award.’ Mirai Moriyama, Tatsuya Fuji, and Hideko Hara have plans to attend the festival during its duration.

Mirai Moriyama’s Comment

“I’m truly honored that “Grand Absence” has been recognized and selected for the prestigious competition section of the Toronto International Film Festival. I remember the memories of shaking in the mysterious layered sea of Kitakyushu while participating in such a story, inspired by Director Chika-ura’s real experiences. I hope many will see this work after its screening in Toronto.”

Tatsuya Fuji’s Comment

“When I received an offer for a new film from Director Chika-ura at the beginning of 2022, I felt delighted and honored. But I also worried if I could meet the expectations. As I read the script repeatedly, I became fond of the character I was to portray. After watching the preview of “Grand Absence”, I felt a profound impact deep within my soul. I believe this film resonates differently with each viewer, fostering a unique conversation between them and Director Chika-ura’s creation.”

Hideko Hara’s Comment

“I am honored that the film I appeared in, “Great Absence,” has been selected for this esteemed competition. I’m profoundly grateful to have encountered such an extraordinary work, and I congratulate everyone involved in the production. Living the role of Naomi within a creation combining documentary-like realism and meticulously crafted filmmaking was an irreplaceable experience for me. I feel privileged to have been part of this fantastic film and hope it will soar on the world stage.”

Yoko Maki’s Comment

“I was captivated by what seemed to be living, walking art for the first time. It was the gestures of Mirai Moriyama. So beautiful and noble that I, as a woman, felt defeated, the unforgivable Mirai Moriyama. When I received the script and heard the cast’s names, I felt that even doubting this would become an honorable piece seemed foolish. But it may not resonate with many. Only those with discerning taste should watch.”

Kei Chika-ura’s Comment

“This film, as the name suggests, is about “absence.” Gazing at something that “isn’t” makes you contemplate what “is” that shapes its contours. I started with the desire to materialize such abstract thoughts into a mystery-inclined entertainment film. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the talented actors and technicians from Japan who gathered for this project. I’m delighted that this film can set sail on such a significant stage as the competition at the Toronto International Film Festival. I sincerely hope that this journey will eventually reach the theaters of Japan.”