SciFi Japan

    Shochiku Announces Production of Yoji Yamada’s OTOUTO

    New Drama from the Award-Winning Director of THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI Source: Shochiku Co., Ltd. Special Thanks to Aki Harimoto

    Shochiku Co., Ltd. announced today that they would start production of Yoji Yamada’s latest feature, OTOUTO (original Japanese title). The film will start shooting in mid-January 2009. Yoji Yamada now returns to modern drama for the first time in 10 years, following the enormous success of the samurai trilogy that included the Academy Award nominated film THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI (Tasogare Seibei, 2002), THE HIDDEN BLADE (Kakushi Ken, Oni no Tsume, 2004) and LOVE AND HONOR (Bushi no Ichibun, 2006). His last feature was the highly acclaimed KABEI – OUR MOTHER (Kabei, 2008), which premiered at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival in competition and moved the audience to tears with the strong drama of a family`s struggles through the hard times of WWII. Shochiku Co. Ltd., will produce and also distribute OTOUTO nationwide in Japan, set for release in early 2010. OTOUTO will mark the 81st film from helmer Yoji Yamada. The film focuses on one foolish brother (the word “otouto” in Japanese means younger brother) and his warm and caring older sister. The brother seeks an amusing but somewhat ridiculous way of life, which always troubles the sister who leads a more consistent path to support her only daughter. Though it seems that the brother is only a nuisance to the family, she accepts the brother’s ridiculousness and maintains her love and care for him. However, an incident causes the sister to break off their relationship, and the brother is left to stand alone in devastation. When they finally reunite, they find that the brother is fighting a fatal disease and facing death. The love and care you feel between relationships. The relief to have someone who will always be by your side. The feeling of trust. The loving humor that lifts you up in times of hardships... The new film from Yoji Yamada brings heartfelt laughter and tears as well as hope on human relationships. Starring in the role of the “brother” is Tsurube Shofukutei, who appeared in KABEI – OUR MOTHER as a loud and entertaining uncle. The film will also co-star the acclaimed and award winning Sayuri Yoshinaga, who is by far the top actress in Japan, in the role of the caring sister. Yoji Yamada, Tsurube Shofukutei, and Sayuri Yoshinaga had previously teamed for KABEI – OUR MOTHER, which was nominated for 12 categories at the Japanese Academy Awards this year, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Leading Actress. The film also will star internationally acclaimed young talents, Yu Aoi (ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU, HULA GIRL) and Ryo Kase (LETTERS FROM IWO-JIMA, I JUST DIDN`T DO IT), as Yoshinaga’s daughter and her love interest, respectively. Comments from Yoji Yamada: I had already imagined during the shooting of KABEI – OUR MOTHER how fun and interesting it would be to bring Sayuri Yoshinaga and Tsurube Shofukutei together again and have them work on another role that would bring out all that they have. Family ties are inseparable; the unreasonable, yet loving, and sometimes sad relationship of a family and siblings will be depicted through heartfelt laughter in this film. Comments from Sayuri Yoshinaga: I am so happy and honored to be back on the set with Yoji Yamada once again. I was extremely moved by the way of filmmaking during KABEI – OUR MOTHER and I wanted to learn more from him. Comments from Tsurube Shofukutei: Amazing script, amazing director, amazing cast. I cannot find more happiness in doing this business than what I am given the chance to do now. Looking forward to making a huge splash on the screen. OTOUTO Directed by Yoji Yamada Written by Yoji Yamada, Emiko Hiramatsu Producer: Hiroshi Fukasawa, Kenichi Tamura About Director Yoji Yamada: Yamada was born in Osaka in 1931. After graduating from faculty of law at the University of Tokyo, he entered Shochiku as an assistant director. He made his film debut with STRANGERS UPSTAIRS (Nikai no Tanin) in 1961, and later launched the successful TORA-SAN series, which started in 1969 and became the world’s longest running series with 48 films to date. He has also created many popular films such as WHERE SPRING COMES LATE (Kazoku, 1970), HOME FROM THE SEA (Kokyo, 1972), THE VILLAGE (Harakara, 1975), MY SONS (Musuko, 1991), A CLASS TO REMEMBER (Gakko, 1993) and THE YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF (Shiwase no Kiiroi Hankachi, 1977), which won awards in 6 sections at the 1st Japanese Academy Awards including the Best Director Awards, and also was remade into a Hollywood production starring William Hurt and Maria Bello. A remastered version of the original film will come out in 2009. In 2002, the large-scale Samurai film THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI (original story by Shuhei Fujisawa) won Yamada international acclaim. THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI won all the major film awards in Japan, including 15 awards at the 26th Japanese Academy Awards, and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 76th Academy Awards. The second in his Samurai trilogy, THE HIDDEN BLADE, was presented in competition at the 55th Berlin International Film Festival, and the third, LOVE AND HONOR, was the opening film for Panorama at the 55th Berlin International Film Festival and became a huge box-office success in Japan. KABEI – OUR MOTHER played in competition in the 58th Berlin Film Festival. About Shochiku: Founded in 1895, Shochiku functions as a highly-tuned vertically integrated entertainment entity, encompassing feature film and television production, theatrical distribution of Japanese & foreign motion pictures, worldwide sales, exhibition, DVD and home video distribution and the Kabuki Theater. Shochiku operates one of the most successful motion picture divisions in Japan. The company has produced a number of critically and financially successful films, including the 2002 Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI, directed by Yoji Yamada, the first Japanese Academy Award nomination for a live-action film in 22 years. Shochiku’s latest include DEPARTURES by Yojiro Takita, the Japanese contender for the Oscars` Best Foreign Film.

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