“Performing KAORU’s Funeral” – A Kickstarter Project by Noriko Yuasa

Noriko Yuasa has a new project on Kickstarter and it is for a feature-length film called Performing KAORU’s Funeral. A successful campaign will help finance this film which is based on an original script that she wrote in 2017 and has been working on since last year. It is described as, “A tragic and comical story of one woman’s final days, mixed with irony and love”.

Judging from the initial teaser trailer for the film, this looks like it could be something that brings tears mixed with laughter as a dark-dark drama plays out.

 

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Interview with “Coming Back Sunny” Director Noriko Yuasa

Noriko Yuasa

Noriko Yuasa is a director who hails from Okayama, Japan. She graduated from Tokyo Metropolitan University with a BA in Architecture before she entered Kinoshita Production, in 1999, to train as a TV Drama Director. In 2013, she went freelance as a director/producer and, since then, she has worked in both TV drama and film, specializing in project planning, directing and producing.

2015 saw her make her theatrical feature film debut, Udagawacho de matteteyo (Wait in Udagawacho), a romance which was released nationwide. This was followed by a brace of short films which showed growing confidence in her visual storytelling and approach to narrative construction, starting with Looking For My Sunflowers (2014), a story of a salaryman experiencing a shot of nostalgia in his hometown. This was followed by Girl, Wavering (2015), which used contrasting colours and poetic imagery to initiate severe tonal changes in a dramatic story of a high school girl’s life. The next film, Ordinary Everyday (2017), was a psychological horror set in downtown Tokyo that used visual and aural tricks like suddenly swathing the screen in vibrant colours to create an off-kilter atmosphere with ambiguous threats that burst out in a bonkers climax.

Yuasa’s works all feature vibrant use of colors and this factors in with her latest work, Coming Back Sunny, a short film about first love as experienced by a color-blind schoolgirl which pops and fizzes with different colors that are used to emotionally expand the story. Yuasa recently raised funds through Kickstarter to help pay for festival fees to bring the film to more audiences around the world but this campaign came at the start of the Covid-19 crisis which saw film production and exhibition around the world postponed, cancelled or forced to go online. This was something of an unprecedented event for the global film industry and so, this interview, conducted by email, was a chance to talk about the film as well as find out how the crisis has affected Yuasa’s project, and the importance of festivals.

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Coming Back Sunny おかえり、カー子 Dir: Noriko Yuasa (2019)

Coming Back Sunny   Seisyun Kaleidoscope Film Poster

おかえり、カー子「Okaeri Ka-ko

Release Date: August 24th, 2019

Duration: 15 mins.

Director: Noriko Yuasa, 

Writer: Takato Nishi (Script),

Starring: Riria Kojima, Honoka Yoneyama, Genki Wakana, Aya Yoshizaki, Genta Mizoguchi,

Website 

At a time when minimalism is trending as a style in Japanese indie cinema, Noriko Yuasa distinguishes herself through adventurous use of color and editing to add to the emotional space of her works. Her colorfulness enriched Looking For My Lost Sunflowers (2014) where the bright yellow of the flowers symbolized the warmth of a salaryman’s hometown nostalgia, the sharply contrasting blues, reds and grays in Girl, Wavering (2015) reflected a teenage girl’s rough adolescence, and the visual tricks of Ordinary Everyday (2017) created a reality that became increasingly fractured until a shock ending. With her latest short film, Coming Back Sunny, Yuasa uses strong colors to visualize the emotions of a high school girl’s first encounter with love.

Coming Back Sunny follows 17-year-old Shiori (Riria Kojima) who lives in the small city of Kawagoe. Shiori suffers from achromatopsia which means she cannot distinguish between the colors red and green, both of which look brown in her eyes. Interacting with the world can be frustrating since she misses the beauty that others see. This frustration has not only left her feeling uncomfortable in social situations but has even made her prematurely misanthropic. One source of relief is her best friend, Yumi (Honoka Yoneyama), who is a constant companion and the person closest to her heart.

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“Coming Back Sunny” – A Kickstarter Project by Noriko Yuasa

Super-talented director Noriko Yuasa has a project on Kickstarter for an independent film she has worked on called Coming Back Sunny. The film is a love story about a colour-blind schoolgirl named Shiori (Riria Kojima) who is suddenly able to see the world around her just in time for fate to draw her on a journey where she will fall in love with someone.

Here is the trailer on Kickstarter:

Noriko Yuasa has been directing films for over 20 years and she has made an impact on the festival circuit. This film is her latest one and was originally part of the omnibus movie Seisyun Kaleidoscope which was released in Japan in August of last year and it is now being developed into a feature. Here is my write up original omnibus film.

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Girl, Wavering 空っぽの渦 Dir: Noriko Yuasa (2015)

Girl, Wavering    Girl Wavering Film Poster

空っぽの渦 Karappo no uzu

Running Time: 20 mins.

Release Date: May 2015

Director:  Noriko Yuasa,

Writer: Noriko Yuasa, Takato Nishi (Screenplay),

Starring: Kaho Ishido, Honoka Murakami, Tomomi Furusato, Kazuki Fukiage, Rie Mashiko, Hiroaki Ookawa, Bunki Sugiura, Lehman F. Kondo,

Website IMDB

Noriko Yuasa followed her directorial debut Looking for my lost sunflowers with this film, a more ambitious tale both stylistically and storywise as she explodes a teenage girl’s life on screen and touches on extremes of emotions.

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