Friday, November 6, 2009

Haruki Murakami attacks a bakery with the help of Naoto Yamakawa

by Chris MaGee

There are a lot of people out there who are waiting impatiently for French-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung's adaptation of Haruki Murakami's 1987 novel "Norwegian Wood". I'm actually one of them, but the film, starring Ken'ichi Matsuyama and Rinko Kikuchi isn't due out until well into next year. What's a Haruki Murakami fan anxious to see one their favorite author's work on screen to do until then? Well, when the news of Tran Anh Hung's film was announced back in July of 2008 I incorrectly reported that this new adaptation would be only the second time that a Murakami work had been turned into a film after Jun Ichikawa's "Tony Takitani". Of course I was wrong, and regular readers of the blog corrected me, and it was during a recent wander through YouTube that I found this clip of one of these Murakami screen adaptations.

Released in 1982 and directed by Naoto Yamakawa "Attack on the Bakery (Panya shugeki)" is a 17-minute short film based on Murakami's short story of the same name, and not to be confused with "The Second Bakery Attack" which appears in the collection "The Elephant Vanishes". It follows two friends who are starving and decide the best solution is to rob a bakery at knifepoint. This is a Murakami story though, so their plan almost gets thwarted by a curse, Richard Wagner and a very particular female shopper (who you can check out in the clip). ""Attack on the Bakery" ended up snagging a Grand Prix Award at the Melbourne International Film Festival, and if you're really curious it's available on a DVD called "Cinema 16: World Short Films" which you can track down here. have fun. fellow Murakami fans!

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