A sumptuously cinematic parable of the ever-present threat of war
Sneak Preview Screening: "Tatara Samurai"
followed by a Q&A with director Yoshinari Nishikori
and star Naoki Kobayashi
Monday, May 15 at 6:45 pm*
*Please note early start time.In Japanese with English subtitles
Japan, 2016 120 minutes
Writer-director: Yoshinari Nishikori
Executive Producer: Exile Hiro
Producers: Takashi Kawasaki, Yoichi Shimizu, Daisuke Suzuki
Sho Aoyagi, Naoki Kobayashi, Tomoko Tabata, Anna Ishii, Akira, Choei Takahashi,
Masahiro Komoto, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Toru Shinagawa, Denden, Ryo Hashizume,
Shun Sugata, Takuma Otoo, Taichi Saotome, Katsuo Nakamura, Shiro Sano,
Kosuke Toyohara, Kei Yamamoto, Takashi Sasano, Tomoko Naraoka, Masahiko Tsugawa
Film courtesy of LDH Pictures and Goen
Nestled in the mountains of ancient Izumo is a village renowned for its "tatara-buki" steelmaking process. Using a secret method to forge the purest steel known to man, the blacksmiths of Tatara have become legendary. Their fame attracts warriors from across the land during the 16th-century Warring States period, lured by the promise of indomitable katana swords; but it also attracts the unwanted attentions of rival clans, and of merchants bent on procuring steel for the latest weaponry: guns.
Gosuke (Aoyagi) has been groomed from youth to become the next Murage (master blacksmith) after his father and grandfather. But he dreams of leaving home to become a samurai under Oda Nobunaga, and when the village comes under attack, he sees his opportunity. On the road, he meets the merchant Yohei (Sasano), who helps him join Oda's army. But Gosuke proves to be no soldier, and returns home resigned to his fate. When Yohei arrives to ply guns over blades, there is little resistance from the villagers, except for Gosuke's childhood friend Shimpei (Kobayashi), who senses the merchant's true motives but is branded a traitor and banished. It isn't until the Izumo lord, Shinnosuke (Akira), falls victim to the senseless violence that accompanied the guns, that Gosuke begins to understand the true essence of the Bushido spirit.
Gorgeously shot on 35 mm film - the better to capture Shimane's magnificent scenery, the Sengoku era village built for the production by Izumo Shrine craftsmen, and the excitement of sword fights choreographed by famed stuntman Yoshio Iizuka - "Tatara Samurai" has the look and epic sweep of the sumptuous cinematic feasts once served up by the major studios. That this independent production achieves such a level of authenticity has already earned it international awards, including one for Best Artistic Contribution at the 2016 Montreal World Film Festival.
The tatara-buki technique, using a foot-operated bellows, has been employed for 1,300 years, yet continues to be the state of the art, resulting in the strongest, most sought-after blades in the world today. Izumo is the birthplace of many vaunted Japanese traditions, including kabuki, sumo (which Nishikori celebrated in his earlier film, "Konshin") and even sake. While "Tatara Samurai" has not been made to promote the prefecture, audiences may find it impossible to resist heading online to book a visit.
Please join us for this sneak preview of "Tatara Samurai" ahead of its Japanese release on May 20.
Director YOSHINARI NISHIKORI served in the Japanese Self-Defense Force before later becoming a director. He made his film debut in 1999 with "Women's Army Corps," about young women joining the SDF. His next film, "A White Ship," (2002) took place in his home prefecture, Shimane, which was also the location of his 2013 film "Konshin," which marked his first visit to FCCJ. Nishikori also directed the hits "Railways" (2010) and "Wasao" (2011).
NAOKI KOBAYASHI marks his film debut with "Tatara Samurai," although he has been active as a singer, dancer and actor for a decade. A member of the Exile theatrical troupe, he has appeared in a variety of plays and musical performances on stage and TV. He is also the leader of the Sandaime J Soul Brothers.
Please make your reservations at the FCCJ Reception Desk (3211-3161) or register below. 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 film screenings are private, noncommercial events primarily for FCCJ members and their guests.
- Karen Severns, Film Committee