Monday, November 06, 2006

Sayurists unite: Yoshinaga to star in Yamada Yoji's wartime drama

Retirement doesn't seem to have crossed the mind of 74-year-old filmmaker Yamada Yoji, with his third Fujisawa Shuhei adaptation "Bushi no Ichibun" starring SMAP's Kimura Takuya opening in December and now the announcement of his next work, a WWII drama tentatively titled "Kaabee" and starring Yoshinaga Sayuri (61).

The film is based on "Chichi e no Rekuiemu" (literal translation: Requiem for a Father), a 1984 autobiographical novel by Nogami Teruyo, a former script continuity assistant to Kurosawa Akira. Yamada met Nogami through his friendship with Kurosawa and received a copy of the book from her, subsequently praising it for its realistic depiction of the women of that era.

Beginning in Tokyo in 1940 immediately prior to the outbreak of war between Japan and the U.S., the story revolves around a mother (Yoshinaga) who becomes a social pariah after her husband is arrested and imprisoned for thought crimes under the Peace Preservation Law. Amidst hardship and vilification, she fights to raise and protect her two daughters.

Yoshinaga has worked with Yamada twice before on his Tora-san series, taking the 'madonna' role in "Otoko wa Tsurai yo: Shibamata Bojo" (1972) and "Otoko wa Tsurai yo: Torajiro Koi Yatsure" (1974). Although this will be her 112th film, the character she plays is rather incongruously only in her late thirties.

Showa period Tokyo will be recreated for the film using open sets and CG embellishment. Auditions are currently being held for the roles of the two daughters, with photography set to commence on January 20th next year. Producers and distributors Shochiku have pencilled in a release for early 2008. (source: Nikkan Sports, Daily Sports, Sanspo)

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