Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tsumabuki incites divine wrath

Tsumabuki Satoshi takes the lead in an offbeat period film based on Asada Jiro's novel "Tsukigami", adapted for the screen by the venerable team of director Furuhata Yasuo ("Railroad Man", "The Firefly") and cinematographer Kimura Daisaku.

Asada's other works adapted for film include "When the Last Sword is Drawn", "Failan" (which was made into a South Korean film starring Min-sik Choi and Cecilia Cheung), and the recent "Metro ni Notte" and "Tsubakiyama-Kacho no Nanokakan".

Tsumabuki plays a lowly but academically diligent warrior named Bessho Hikoshiro who finds himself unable to move up in the world due to the stifling caste system of the Bakumatsu era. After being expelled from the household into which he was adopted through marriage and separated from his wife and son, he moves in with his disapproving elder brother and his wife. He meets his old class rival Enomoto Takeaki, now a commander of a naval ship, and is later told by a kindly noodle shop owner that Enomoto's rise in social status came about after he prayed at a shrine in Mukojima. Stumbling home drunk one night, Hikoshiro falls down a riverbank and comes across a small run-down shrine which he is convinced is affiliated to the one in Mukojima. Pressing his hands together in prayer, he unwittingly invites the unwanted attentions of the gods of poverty, pestilence and death...

Nishida Toshiyuki plays god of poverty Iseya, Akai Hidekazu is god of pestilence Kuzuryu, and the 1200-year-old death god is embodied by 9-year-old Morisako Ei, better known as the live-action TV incarnation of venerable manga and anime character "Chibi Maruko-chan". Sato Ryuta also features. Sponichi has an early picture of Sato, Tsumabuki and Morisako in character here. Shot at Toei's studio in Uzumasa, Kyoto from late October through to late December, "Tsukigami" opens on June 23rd next year. (source: Sports Hochi)

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