by Chris MaGee
It was just under a year ago that news broke about art house director Masahiro Kobayashi making a new film starring none other than screen legend Tatsuya Nakadai. Titled "Haru to no Tabi" Kobayashi's intention for his film was for it to be "a modern version of a masterpiece like Yasujiro Ozu's 'Tokyo Story' or Akira Kurosawa's 'Ikiru.'" That's a pretty daunting goal; but now the full theatrical trailer for the film has appeared online and despite the overly dramatic music and voiceover "Haru to no Tabi" indeed looks promising.
The film tells the story of a retired fisherman named Tadao (Nakadai) who goes on a trip to Tokyo with his young granddaughter, Haru (Eri Tokunaga). Once there he attempts to makes amends with his two estranged brothers, potrayed by Hideji Otaki and Akira Emoto. Like I said, the shmaltz factor in this trailer was a bit surprising given that this is a film from Kobayashi, the man who brought us such minimalist dramas as "bashing" and "A Man Walking on Snow", but hopefully the soaring strings and standard NHK-esque narration has just been tacked on as a marketing tool and doesn't reflect on the content of the film. The glimpses of Nakadai's performance as Tadao alone makes this, along with Koji Wakamatsu's "Caterpillar", a must see film for me this year.
Head over to Nippon Cinema to check out "Haru to no Tabi" due out in Japanese theatres on May 22nd.