by Chris MaGee
It seems like award-winning 37-year-old author Kotaro Isaka (above) is quickly turning into the next Ryu Murakami. That's not to say that their styles are in any way similar (although both men share a taste for off-kilter situations), but longtime fans of Japanese cinema will remember a time when one Murakami work after another was being adapted into a film with Hideaki Anno's "Love & Pop", Takashi Miike's "Audition" and Tetsuo Shinohara's "Karaoke Terror" being only as sampling. Now it seems that producers and directors are scrambling to turn the former systems engineer's entire back catalogue into films with Tetsu Maeda's "A Cheerful Gang Turns the Earth", Takashi Minamoto's "Children", Yoshihiro Nakamura's "The Foreign Duck, the Native Duck and God", Masaya Kakei's "Sweet Rain: Accuracy of Death" all being released since 2006 and Yoshihiro Nakamura's "Fish Story" and Junichi Mori's "Gravity's Clown" both coming out in Japan this year.
Now according to Nippon Cinema that trend is going to continue with what sounds like a very unique project. Four recent graduates of Tokyo University's Graduate School of Film and New Media are joining forces to bring Isaka's 2002 novel "Rush Life" to the screen. The four filmmakers, Tetsuya Mariko, Tomoko Toyama, Tadashi Nohara, and Mai Nishino, will bring their own styles and perspectives to four separate character's lives that intertwine in unexpected ways. Those include a thief, a man who finds religion after his father takes his own life, a recently downsized salaryman and a an unethical marriage counsellor. Itsuji Itao, Masato Sakai, Shinobu Terajima, Tasuku Emoto will all be starring the in the project set to premiere in Tokyo this June.
Definitely sounds interesting. Now if we just found more brave souls to adapt the novels of Haruki Murakami I would be a very, very happy man.