空の穴 「Sora no Ana」
Release Date: September 29th, 2001
Duration: 127 mins.
Director: Kazuyoshi Kumakiri
Writer: Kazuyoshi Kumakiri, Akihiko Akizuki (Script),
Starring: Susumu Terajima, Rinko Kikuchi, Bunmei Tobayama, Ryo Kase, Shunsuke Sawada, Akemi Kobayashi, Megumi Asaoka,
That long face. That thin mouth. That implacable stare. Once seen, never forgotten. Susumu Terajima, by-player. Arguably underused.
He is a familiar presence from Japanese cinema of the 90s and early 2000s, often times cast in the role of a yakuza or cop. Takeshi Kitano used him like a right-hand man like in Hana-bi and Sonatine while Takashi Ishii had him in the Black Angel and Gonin series.
Sometimes, other directors see his dramatic potential as in All Around Us.
Some directors see his comic potential to undercut his grim features as with the inglorious role of a yakuza with poop on his head in The Taste of Tea.
There’ll be blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearances like in Rampo Noir (a mirror salesman) and Still Walking (sushi delivery guy).
Sometimes, not often, he gets a lead role which is what happened with Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s Hole in the Sky. In it, he shows he is an actor who can hold a film in his own right.
Terajima’s collaboration with Kumakiri began after the director made his feature film debut with Kichiku dai enkai (1997). Finding himself riding a tide of success due to the international attention the film garnered, Kumakiri took four years out to write and shoot Hole in the Sky. With it he fulfilled a long-held desire to work with Terajima, a desire sparked by detecting a “complicated side” to the actor he saw when watching the Okinawa-set yakuza film Sonatine (source).
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