Japan’s Nikkatsu studio is pitching “River” at the top of its TIFFCOM sales slate. The film – on which it shares rights with Third Window Films – is a time loop comedy from Yamaguchi Junta, director of “Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes.”
The one-hundred-year-old Fujiya inn stands in a quiet region of Kyoto. An employee is standing in front of the Kibune river at the back of the building when she is called back to work. But two minutes later, she finds herself back at the river again. The whole inn seems to be stuck in a time loop! Not only Mikoto, but other staff and guests begin to feel something strange. Hot sake does not get hot. Rice porridge never gets eaten and there’s a bathroom that is impossible to leave. For all that people can’t move forward, their memories are intact. Some people want to leave. Others want to stay. Everyone wants to understand why.
More from Variety
The film, starring Fujitani Riko and Kubo Shiori (a member of the idol group Nogizaka46), and acclaimed actor Kondo Yoshimasa (“The Magic Hour,” “The Kiyosu Conference”), was produced by Europe Kikaku.
It released commercially in Japan in June and played at multiple fantasy and genre festivals including the Neuchatel IFFF, Fantasia, FrightFest in the U.K. and Fantastic Fest in the U.S.
Maintaining the strange building theme, but working in a different register, is suspense-horror title “Home Sweet Home.” Based on a novel by Kamizu Rinko, the story sees a family move into a captivating snow-bound house in Nagano, only for a creeping chain of terrifying events to follow. Directed by Saitoh Takumi, the film had its world premiere this summer at the Shanghai International Film Festival and its North American debut in the New York Asian festival.
Nikkatsu stays true to its more risqué roots – it was once a leading purveyoy of ‘pink films’ – with “S-friends” and “S-friends 2,” a pair of erotic drama films adapted from a manga by Minato Yoriko. The two-parts launched in Japanese cinemas in July and August this year with Jojo Hideo directing and Yukihira Aika and Aoyagi Sho in the main roles.
Best of Variety