Quebec premiere
Selection 2019

Fly Me to the Saitama

Directed by Hideki Takeuchi


Official selection

Shanghai & Chengdu New Japanese Film Gala 2019, Chicago Asian Popup Cinema 2019, Udine Far East Film Festival 2019


Chicago's Asian Pop-Up Cinema Audience Awards

My Movies Awards au Udine Far East Film Festival


Hideki Takeuchi


Yuichi Tokunaga


Fumi Nikaido, Gackt, Yusuke Iseya, Masaki Kyomoto


Hiroki Wakamatsu


Pony Canyon

Japan 2019 107 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English
Genre Comedy

“Takes [the] city-suburb clash to absurd and fantastic extremes… played with a theatrically straight face — and is funnier for it”
Mark Schilling, JAPAN TIMES

A young woman is heading to Tokyo with her parents for her engagement. She’s extremely excited to leave the banal and boring prefecture of Saitama, much to the chagrin of her father, proud of his patch of the map. In order to soothe him, Mom turns on the radio, landing on a drama about the inhabitants of Saitama facing oppression by the powers of nearby Tokyo. They must even obtain visas to enter the capital, and live in total stigma. Aggressively embodying this contempt, Momomi is the son of the governor of the megacity, and chairs the student council of a prestigious academy. His comfy universe is turned upside down by the charismatic Rei, a student recently arrived from the United States. For the first time, his supreme popularity is threatened. Momomi develops a fierce rivalry with Rei, but this hate turns into an uncontrollable attraction. When a police intervention reveals Rei’s reprehensible roots, Momomi overcomes his visceral disgust and flees with him to Saitama.

Following the awesome THERMAE ROMAE, a 2014 Fantasia favourite which mixed ancient Rome and contemporary Japan, director Hideki Takeuchi returns to zany, anachronistic fantasy with FLY ME TO THE SAITAMA. This adaptation of a classic manga from 1982 takes us into a world where the past and the future form a freak visual and narrative hallucination. Baroque-inspired decor blends with futuristic urban landscapes à la GHOST IN THE SHELL. Edo-era warriors come face to face with veritable starlets. Androgynous manga characters confront riot squads. And despite all these eccentricities, the story of suburban Saitama's struggle (comparable to Laval’s, perhaps?) against its oppressor (that would be Montreal) ramps up constant suspense. No surprise the film did staggering box-office in Japan. The actress Fumi Nikaido (LA LA LA AT ROCK BOTTOM) shines in the role of the young Momomi, amid a stellar cast that confronts joyfully absurd situations with disarmingly deadpan deliveries. If Monty Python had sprung from retro Japanese popular culture, it might have come off a bit like FLY ME TO THE SAITAMA. – Translation: Rupert Bottenberg