Co-presented by Vidéotron,Japan Foundation

Fly Me to the Saitama

Directed by Hideki Takeuchi


Official selection

21st Udine Far East Film Festival, 23rd Fantasia International Film Festival, 19th Nippon Connection, Chicago Asian Pop Up Cinema, Japannual, Camera Japan, SITGES Film Festival, Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, Taipei Golden Horse Fantastic Film Festival, Japan Square, San Diego Asian Film Festival, The Japanese Film Festival Australia


62nd Blue Ribbon Awards (Best Film)

43rd Japan Academy Film Prize (Director of the Year, Screenplay of the Year, Best Film Editing)

44th Hochi Film Award (Special Award)

38th Fujimoto Award (Special Award to Hiroki Wakamatsu for Production)

2020 Elan d'or Award (Producer Award to Hiroki Wakamatsu)

10th Location Japan Award (Grand Prix)


Hideki Takeuchi


Mineo Maya, Yuichi Tokunaga


GACKT, Fumi Nikaido, Yusuke Iseya, Masaki Kyomoto


Face 2 fAKE, Hanawa


Shinji Kawamura


Pony Canyon Inc.

Official website

Japan 2019 107 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English
Genre ComedyClassique

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, Momomoi 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 returned to zany, anachronistic fantasy with FLY ME TO THE SAITAMA. This adaptation of a classic manga from 1982 took 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