2011 has turned out to be a great year for seeing Japanese films in the cinema and there’s no sign that the trend is going to stop because Third Window Films offers Yuya Ishii’s comedy Sawako Decides which will get a UK theatrical release from the 8th of July.
(Japan 2009, 112 Mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, Colour 35mm)
Director: Yuya Ishii
Starring: Hikari Mitsushima (Love Exposure, Death Note, Villain)
Ryo Iwamatsu (Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers, Instant Swamp, Love Exposure)
UK RELEASE DATE: 8 July 2011, Opening at ICA & selected regional sites
– Synopsis –
Sawako has lived in Tokyo for five years, is working her fifth office job, and is dating her fifth boyfriend, who is also her boss at the office. Her life with Kenichi, her boyfriend, and his daughter from a previous marriage, Kayoko, feels like a “compromise,” and she endures each day feeling distressed about her career and love life.
One day, she receives word that her father, Tadao, who runs a freshwater clam processing business in her hometown, has fallen ill. There is a reason why Sawako would rather not go back home so easily, but she reluctantly decides to return at Kenichi’s insistence. But Kenichi, who had actually quit his job shortly before Sawako, uses this opportunity to come along with Sawako to her hometown with his daughter in tow.
Thus Sawako’s ordeals continue. Still, she takes over her father’s clam processing company and begins to work there, though she slowly starts to take charge of the situation and form a new life for herself
Reasons to go see it? Well it’s directed by Yuya Ishii who is quickly establishing a reputation as one of the best film-makers in Japan whilst still in his twenties. The film has garnered praise from sites like Twitch as well as eminent film critics like Tony Rayns who described Sawako Decides as “a joyous, nuanced, comic drama about female empowerment.”
Oh and it stars Hikari Mitsushima, one of the most interesting actresses in Japan.
She has starred in some of the most entertaining and provocative films to come from the country including Love Exposure and Death Note. She will also be in the forthcoming Takashi Miike film Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai and Takashi (Ju-on) Shimzu’s Rabbit Horror 3D which has cinematography from legendary Wong Kar-Wai collaborator Christopher Doyle.
If you need any more convincing try the trailer out:
For more information, check out the page on the Third Window Films site.