Monday, April 27, 2009

Tatsuya Nakadai in a film by Masahiro Kobayashi? Does it get any better?

by Chris MaGee

These kind of stories don't come along everyday. Wow! Tokyograph is reporting that director Masahiro Kobayashi, the man behind such festival favorites as 2005's "Bashing" and 2007's "The Rebirth" is currently shooting what he describes as being "a modern version of a masterpiece like Yasujiro Ozu's 'Tokyo Story' or Akira Kurosawa's 'Ikiru.'" Titled "Haru to no Tabi" it follows a retired fisherman named Tadao on a trip to Tokyo with his young granddaughter. Once there he attempts to makes amends with his two estranged brothers. Now comes the good part... Tadao is being played by none other than screen legend Tatsuya Nakadai!

Nakadai has to be my favorite Japanese actor of all time. For me he always represented a bridge between the broad, theatrical acting of early Japanese cinema and the more natural, Western influenced performance style. You only need to watch him in films like Akira Kurosawa's "Ran" and Kihachi Okamoto's "Sword of Doom" to see what I mean. Combining that talent with one of the most exciting directors working in Japan today... well, my mind just boggles.

Of course Nakadai isn't starring in "Haru to no Tabi" alone. His granddaughter will be portrayed by Eri Tokunaga (Hula Girls, Achilles and the Tortoise), while his two brothers will be played by Hideji Otaki (Kagemusha, A Taxing Woman) and Akira Emoto (Moon and Cherry, Memories of Matsuko). Filimng began in Hokkaido and Miyagi at the beginning of April and Kobayashi is aiming to have the film completed by early nest year so that it will be ready for the 2010 festival circuit. Plkease, oh please let it come to Toronto next year!!!

Thanks to Spoinchi Annex for the above promotional still.

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