Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is pleased to announce this year’s Opening Film: Welcome Back, Tora-san (tentative title), from legendary director Yoji Yamada, will open the festival on October 28. The film has been completed in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Japan’s most beloved comedy film series, Otoko wa Tsurai yo (It’s Tough Being a Man). The series holds a Guinness World Record for longest-running film series starring the same lead actor; and this marks both the 50th title as well as the first film to be released since 1995, following the untimely death of star Kiyoshi Atsumi.
The Otoko wa Tsurai yo follows the travels of a kind-hearted vagabond, Torajiro Kuruma (“Tora-san”) who is always unlucky in love. Each film features a different leading lady, called a Madonna, and a different region of Japan. The latest film focuses on Tora-san’s nephew Mitsuo, as he meets his first love Izumi after many years. It will star Kiyoshi Atsumi as Tora-san, brought back to vibrant life onscreen long after his untimely death in 1996. It co-stars Chieko Baisho, Gin Maeda, Hidetaka Yoshioka and Kumiko Goto, all recreating their roles from the long-running film series.
TIFF Festival Director Takeo Hisamatsu expressed his delight about the Opening Film, saying: “Watching the end credits, tears came to my eyes. It was always very exciting to anticipate the latest work in this series every summer and New Year holiday. I believe the Tora-san series was a nationwide favorite, and looking back, it also captures the history of popular actresses in Japan. The series has now been revived by the magic of director Yoji Yamada. I am delighted to host the world premiere at the 32nd Tokyo International Film Festival.”
The 32nd TIFF will take place from October 28 to November 5, 2019.