by Chris MaGee
I remember many years ago seeing a film called "Village of Dreams". I remember at the time thinking that the film adaptation of the boyhood memoir of childrens' book illustrator Seizo Tashima and his twin brother Yukihiko felt a lot to me like a live-action take on Hayao Miyazaki's iconic animatd film "My Neighbour Totoro". No, it didn't have any giant Lord of the Forest, but it did have a variety of rural yokai spirits, some beautiful cinematography, and the whole experience stuck with me. That's why when I saw this news item at Nippon Cinema I was pleasantly surprised.
The director of "Village of Dreams", Yoichi Higashi, who hadn't directed a feature film since 2004, has returned with a new film starring Tadanobu Asano. Titled "Yoi ga Sametara, Uchi ni Kaero (When I sober up, I’ll go home)" the film is inspired by the troubled marriage of alcoholic journalist Yutaka Kamoshida and manga artist Reiko Saibara. Asano plays Tsukahara, a photojournalist who returns home to Japan after covering some of the world's most dangerous war zones and marries a manga artist named Yuki, portrayed by Hiromi Nagasaku. True love can't conquer all though, especially when Tsukahara endulges his raging drinking problem. The booze nearly destroys the couple's marriage and it takes a stint in rehab for Tsukahara to realize what he's got with Yuki and his children and that booze could take it all away. Sounds a little like Asano's boozing character in the critically acclaimed Osamu Dazai adaptation "Villion's Wife".
"Yoi ga Sametara, Uchi ni Kaero" is due out in Japanese theatres this fall, just in time to see if it can get the same kind of awards accolades as "Villon's Wife".