by Chris MaGee
Ever since the phenomenal international success of Yojiro Takita's "Departures" people have been taking notice of the film's screenwriter Kundo Koyama. The 44-year-old writer worked in tandem with actor Masahiro Motoki to turn Shinmon Aoki's 1996 memoir "Noukanfu Nikki" into a film that has won hearts and awards around the globe. The question for a while was what would Koyama be working on next? In May we found out that it would be a film called "Snow Prince: Kinjirareta Koi no Melody." The script is an original story by Koyama and follows a young boy named Sota (Shintaro Morimoto) living with his grandfather in a village in the 1930's. He develops a friendship with a local girl from an rich family named Sayo (Marino Kuwajima). Like "Departures" this one has been produced by Shochiku, but unlike "Departures" this one doesn't look that good.
Kevin Ouellette at Nippon Cinema has posted the theatrical trailer for "Snow Prince" and at least to me it looks like a contrived attempt to make a heartwarming, tear-jerking mega-hit. Not only was it penned by the man who brought you "Departures", but it's directed by Joji Matsuoka, the man who helmed the 2007 mega-hit tear-jerker "Tokyo Tower: Me, Mom, and Sometimes Dad". Add to that an all star supporting cast that includes Teruyuki Kagawa, Rei Dan, Maiko, Katsuo Nakamura, and Tadanobu Asano, throw in a swelling symphonic score, and even a cute little dog named Chibi and what I think you end up with is the cinematic equivalent of sugar sweet syrup.
Then again, that's just me. To judge for yourself head over to Nippon Cinema here and see what you think (then have your say in the comments). To check out more on "Snow Prince: Kinjirareta Koi no Melody" head over to its official website here.