When Third Window Films announced that it had acquired the Japanese film Villain back in May/June I was intrigued by the film’s genre combination of thriller, character study and doomed romance so I reported it in my weekly trailer post. Now I’ve got more information on the film I’m very excited at the prospect of it being released theatrically across the UK, partly due to the awards buzz and critical acclaim but mostly because of the acting talent in it (including the rising talent that is Hikari Mitsushima!).
UK Theatrical Release date: 19th of August 2011
Running time: 140 mins
Director: Lee Sang-il (Hula Girls)
Starring: Eri Fukatsu (The Magic Hour, Bayside Shakedown), Satoshi Tsumabuki (Tokyo!, Villon’s Wife, Pandemic), Hikari Mitsushima (Love Exposure, Death Note, Sawako Decides), Masaki Okada (Confessions)
In Japanese with English subtitles; Colour/35mm and Digital release
Yuichi (Satoshi Tsumabuki) is a construction worker who has lived his entire life in a dreary fishing village. With no girlfriend or friends, he spends his days working and looking after his grandparents, with no enjoyment in life other than his car. Meanwhile, Mitsuyo (Eri Fukatsu) also lives a monotonous life pacing between the men’s clothing store where she works and the apartment where she lives with her sister. When the two lonely souls meet using an online dating site, they immediately fall in love with each other. But there’s a secret Yuichi had been keeping from Mitsuyo: Yuichi is the one suspected of killing the woman whose body was found at Mitsue Pass only a few days before…
As Yuichi and his new lover try to elude the police, the events that led up to the murder and its aftermath are revealed. We learn the stories of the victim, the murderer, and their families – stories of loneliness, love hotels, violence and desperation, exposing the inner lives of men and woman who are not everything they appear to be.
The talent behind this film is immense and I haven’t even mentioned that the musical score was provided by Studio Ghibli favourite Joe Hisaishi. Indeed, Villain comes with a lot of award buzz and has been heavily praised in Japan where it was nominated for 15 Japanese Academy Awards and won 5 including:
Best Actress, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor and Music Score
Eri Fukatsu also won the Best Actress at the Montreal Film Festival while Satoshi Tsumabuki won Best Actor at the 53rd Blue Ribbon Awards. The film was also selected by the famous Kinema Junpo critics’ organization as best Japanese film of the year so you can see the high calibre of the film we have here. Just reading some reviews this looks like it could be one of the best films out this summer.
Interestingly, Villain is based on Shuichi Yoshida’s award-winning novel of the same name which sold over half a million copies in Japan. It has recently been translated into English and is due to be released by Random House publishing on the 18th of August – a day before the theatrical release of the film.
After reading the buzz I’m very excited but I was already sold when I heard it starred Hikari Mitsushima.
For more information including cinema screenings just go to the Third Window Films site.