Friday, January 22, 2010

Wakamatsu's "Caterpillar" and Yamada's "Otouto" compete at Berlin Film Fest

by Chris MaGee

While it may not prove to be the major draw for Japanese cinema fans (at least not yet) that the International Film Festival Rotterdam will be this year the Berlin International Film Festival has announced two high profile films that will be screening in competition when the 60th offering of the fest gets under way next month.

First up is the return of underground cinema king Koji Wakamatsu (above left) and his adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's 1929 short story "Imomushi (Caterpillar)". As we reported in September this follow-up to Wakamatsu's 2007 critics favorite "United Red Army" will star Shinobu Terajima and Shima Ohnishi in a macabre tale of co-dependent relationship between a sadistic wife and her husband, a soldier who lost all his limbs in battle. Many of you will recall that this same story was adapted to the screen previously by Wakamatsu's fellow pink film pioneer Hisayasu Sato in the 2004 omnibus film "Rampo Noir".

Japan's next representative in competition is the latest film from veteran Yoji Yamada (above right). "Otouto (About Her Brother)" is the "Tora-san" and "Hidden Blade" director's reworking of Kon Ichikawa's 1960 film of the same name. It stars Sayuri Yoshinaga and Tsurube Shofukutei as a level-headed sister and her unconventional brother and co-stars young superstars Yu Aoi and Ryo Kase. You can read our previous coverage of "Otuto" here.

These two films will be going up against some pretty heavy-hitters - Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer”, Michael Winterbottom’s “The Killer Inside Me”, Zhang Yimou's "A Woman, A Gun And A Noodle Shop", and Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" - so we'll be keeping a close eye on how these films fare in Berlin.

The 60th Berlin International Film Festival will run from February 11th to 21st. Check out the full list of films in competition at the fest's official website. Thanks to Twitch for pointing the way to this story posted at Indie Wire.

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