Friday, January 05, 2007

Movie Matome 5/1/2007

Kaiju Shakedown today picked up on the 25 film projects panhandling at this year's Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), and amongst the list were two Japanese entries: "Night-Fragrant Flower" (an overly literal translation of the characters in the Japanese title "Yeraishan", Ye Lai Xiang in Chinese, which apparently means tuberose in English) from Kore-eda Hirokazu, written by Shigenobu Yutaka and produced by TV Man Union; and "Tokyo Sonata", which based on the title alone sounds like it could be a welcome departure from horror by Kurosawa Kiyoshi, with a script by Kito Yukie and produced by Entertainment Farm Inc. Hopefully HAF will be forthcoming with more details on what they're about, as they did with Kumakiri Kazuyoshi's soon-to-be-released "Freesia" and the ex-Miike Takashi project "51 Ways to Protect a Girl" last year.

According to Nikkan Gendai, Fuji TV are pissed off at rivals Nihon TV for screening the first "Death Note" movie less than a year after its release. The film came out on June 17th of last year and racked up a healthy 2.8 billion yen at the box office, and producers Nihon TV subsequently screened it on October 27th in the build-up to the release of the concluding half "Death Note: The Last Name" on November 3rd, contributing to that film's even more impressive haul of over 5 billion and counting. However, there's apparently an unwritten industry rule that says films may come out on video and DVD six months after they open in theatres, but can only be screened on free-to-air TV one year after their release, to maintain the natural balance of competition and fair trade or something like that. Some are viewing it as evidence of the fierce rivalry between two of television's biggest film industry players, Nihon TV's Okuda Seiji and Fuji TV's Kameyama Chihiro of "Bayside Shakedown" fame.

"Josee, the Tiger and the Fish" and "La Maison de Himiko" director Inudo Isshin's "Kiiroi Namida" (lit. "Yellow Tears"), a vehicle for Johnny's Jimusho boy band Arashi (which "Letters From Iwo Jima" star includes Ninomiya Kazunari), is set to open on April 4th. It's an update of an 1974 NHK drama series adapted from a Nagashima Shinji manga about the lives and hopes of a group of young friends in Tokyo in 1963, set against a backdrop of Japan's rapid economic growth and the hosting of the Olympics in Tokyo. Inudo professes to be a huge fan of the original TV series, which he says was his initial inspiration to become a filmmaker. Kashii Yu, Kan Hanae, Takahashi Mai and Tabata Tomoko also star. (sources: Sanspo, Wikipedia)

Outspoken folk singer Matsuyama Chiharu's autobiographical novel "Ashoro yori" (lit. "From Ashoro"), which depicts his friendship with local radio director Takeda Kenji (deceased) who set him on the path to stardom, is being made into a 500 million yen film for release sometime this autumn. TV drama specialist Imai Kazuhisa will be making his cinematic debut, and the production will be shot on location in Matsuyama's hometown of Ashoro, Hokkaido. (source: Sanspo)

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