The elegiac tale of a samurai's final three years, by the longtime assistant of Akira Kurosawa; followed by a Q&A with director Takashi Koizumi and star Koji Yakusho
Thursday September 18 at 6:30 pm*
*Please note early start time.
In Japanese with English subtitles
Japan, 2014 129 minutes
Directed by: Takashi Koizumi
Screenplay by: Takashi Koizumi, Motomu Furuta
Based on the Naoki Prize-winning novel by Rin Hamuro
Executive Producers: Minami Ichikawa, Akihiko Tamura
Koji Yakusho, Junichi Okada, Maki Horikita, Mieko Harada, Munetaka Aoki, Shinobu Terajima, Shiro Mifune, Hisashi Igawa, Kazuyoshi Kushida
Film courtesy of Toho
A film of autumnal magnificence, both in its stunning scenery and its sublime performances, "A Samurai Chronicle" is the new masterwork from Takashi Koizumi, longtime assistant to Akira Kurosawa and the writer-director of the award-winning "After the Rain" (2000) and "Best Wishes for Tomorrow" (2008), among other films.
Set at the end of the Edo period, the story seems at first an elegant, elegiac chronicle of a samurai's final three years before he must keep his promise to commit harakiri, the punishment for a crime he committed seven years before the tale begins. Shozaburo Danno (Okada) has been sent by the prime minister to keep watch over the samurai, Shukoku Toda (Yakusho). Should Toda attempt to flee or fail to fulfill his destiny, Danno is to kill him, along with his entire family.
Toda's death sentence was delayed 10 years by the previous daimyo, to allow him to complete a genealogical chronicle detailing the domain’s history. Danno assumes his undercover position as a live-in assistant, befriending Toda’s outspoken young son and growing smitten with his daughter (Horikita). Toda’s love for his family and commitment to the community, especially the downtrodden peasants, is unusual and Danno soon comes to suspect that this honorable man could not possibly have murdered someone in a fit of jealous rage. He sets out to investigate the truth, but finds something even more incriminating: a document that could unravel the domain's entire chain of command.
Please join us for this sneak preview of "A Samurai Chronicle" before its opening across Japan on October 4.
For more (Japanese only): http://higurashinoki.jp/
Writer-director TAKASHI KOIZUMI joined Kurosawa Productions in 1970 and began working as an assistant director to the great Akira Kurosawa on "Kagemusha" (1980). Thereafter, he was involve in all stages of the creation of Kurosawa's films, including "Ran" (1985), "Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams" (1990), "Rhapsody in August" (1991) and "Madadayo" (1993). Koizumi made his directorial debut with "After the Rain" (2000), based on an unfilmed Kurosawa screenplay, which won prizes at the Venice Film Festival and Japan Academy Prizes in eight categories, including Picture of the Year. He wrote and directed award-winners "Letter from the Mountain" (2002) and "The Professor and His Beloved Equation" (2006), and with FCCJ member Roger Pulvers, cowrote "Best Wishes for Tomorrow" (2008).
KOJI YAKUSHO came to global prominence with his lead performance in "Shall We Dance?" (1996), followed by Cannes Palm D'or winner "The Eel" (1997), and went on to prove that he is the greatest Japanese actor of his generation, as well as the favored star of leading directors Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Koki Mitani and Masato Harada. He has won prizes at a range of international film festivals, and was the subject of a special tribute in 2008 at the Deauville Asia Film Festival. He received further overseas acclaim for "Memoirs of a Geisha" (2005), "Babel" (2006) and Takashi Miike's hits "13 Assassins" (2010) and "Hara Kiri: Death of a Samurai" (2011). Yakusho has appeared twice before at FCCJ, with "Admiral Yamamoto" in 2011 and "Chronicle of My Mother" in 2012.
Please make your reservations at the FCCJ Reception Desk (3211-3161). You may attend the Q&A session without attending the screening, but you will not have seating priority. Please reserve in advance, still & TV cameras inclusive. All movie screenings are private, noncommercial events primarily for FCCJ members and their guests.
Web registration is closed due to high demand. Please contact the FCCJ Reception Desk (3211-3161) for more information.
- Karen Severns, Movie Committee