Thursday, November 10, 2011

Koki Mitani's latest comedy "A Ghost of a Chance" rides high at the Japanese box office

by Chris MaGee

A favorite film around the MaGee household is Koki Mitani's 1997 comedy "Welcome Back, Mr McDonald (Rajio no Jikan)". My girlfriend and I have seen this story of a live radio drama gone hilariously wrong dozens of times and it never fails to make us laugh out loud. Mitani is also responsible for one of the most insightful and universal comedies I've seen in year. In 2004 director Mamoru Hoshi adapted Mitani's stage Play "University of Laughs" to the screen with Koji Yakusho and Goro Inagaki as a censor and a playwright battling it out. This one comes very highly recommended. Why am I going on about my love for the wildly popular 50-year-old Mitani? Because it looks like this playwright, actor, screenwriter and director has become even more popular in his homeland... if that's possible.

Mitani's latest directorial effort, "Suteki na Kanashibari (A Ghost of a Chance)" continues his trademark screwball comedic stylings, but this time in a courtroom setting, and a haunted one at that. The film stars Eri Fukatsu (above left) as a defense lawyer whose client is accused of murdering his wife. He says he didn't do it, and he says he has a witness to prove it. The only thing is the witness is a 500-year-old ghost, played by Toshiyuki Nishida (above right).

"Suteki na Kanashibari" opened in Japanese theatres on October 29th and in only 12 days it has grossed nearly ¥1.6 billion , making it one of, if not the biggest box office hit in Japan this year. With 313,000 people flocking to theatres this past weekend alone to catch the film it looks like this hot comedy will be cooling down any time soon.

Thanks to Tokyograph for this news.

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