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Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 19:00 - 21:30

A film legend revisits the role of a lifetime and finds fresh revelations

Sneak Preview Screening: "Lear on the Shore (Umibe no Lear)"
followed by a Q&A with director Masahiro Kobayashi and
acting icon Tatsuya Nakadai

Wednesday, May 31 at 7:00 pmLear on the shore Poster 356p
In Japanese with English subtitles
Japan, 2016 105 minutes  

Writer-director: Masahiro Kobayashi
Producers: Tomoyuki Miyagawa, Masahiro Kobayashi
Tatsuya Nakadai, Haru Kuroki, Mieko Harada,
Kaoru Kobayashi, Hiroshi Abe

Film courtesy of Tokyo Theatres                

The great Tatsuya Nakadai reunites with singular director Masahiro Kobayashi for their third collaboration, playing a character with echoes of Shakespeare's Lear for the second time in his career. Their elegiac tragicomedy is as stripped down as Kurosawa's "Ran" was supercharged, yet the success of both films pivots on a towering performance by the celebrated star - and age has only burnished his brilliance.

In "Lear on the Shore," Nakadai is silk pajama-clad Kuwabatake Chokitsu, former leading man of film and stage, who is running away from the luxury nursing home where his daughter Yukiko (Harada) and son-in-law Yukio (Abe) have stashed him after forcing him to write a will leaving them everything. Chokitsu has dementia and only fleetingly recalls their betrayal. But a thespian to the core, he can still recite great chunks of dialog from heralded performances like his King Lear. He is determined to find his adoring audience, wherever they are.

Striding purposefully along a pristine beach with his wheeled suitcase at daybreak, he runs into a forlorn young woman and takes her for an assistant. "Are you my accomplice?" he jokes, but she is not amused. This, it turns out, is his younger daughter Nobuko (Kuroki), sent packing by Chokitsu when she became pregnant years earlier. She has returned home for reasons that only become clear much later, and her father's failure to recognize her is another crushing blow. "I was the only one who loved you," she laments, but Chokitsu sees an actress playing Cordelia and happily plays along, before turning to take his bows.

Meanwhile, as Yukiko and Yukio search for Chokitsu by car, their motives for finding him diverge. She is afraid there will be a public scandal about his placement in a home; but he, a former acting apprentice, begins to suffer a crisis of conscience. Eventually… kingdoms must crumble.

Please join us for this sneak preview of "Lear on the Shore" ahead of its Japanese release on June 3.

For more (in Japanese):

MASAHIRO KOBAYASHI is that rarest of directors, self-producing all 17 of his films rather than turning to commercialism. After making his debut with "Closing Time" (1996) and founding his own company, Monkey Town Productions, he became a Cannes Film Festival favorite. His next three films won Cannes prizes in consecutive years: "Bootleg Film" (1998) and "Man Walking on Snow" (2001) in Un Certain Regard, and "Film Noir" (2000) in the Directors' Fortnight. "Bashing" was screened at the 2005 Cannes. Of four films invited to the Locarno Film Festival, "The Rebirth" (2007), which he also starred in, won four prizes including the Golden Leopard and the Daniel Schmid award. Kobayashi's first collaboration with Tatsya Nakadai was "Haru's Journey" in 2010, dedicated to his late father. "Japan's Tragedy" (2012) starred Nakadai as a despairing father who decides to die by self-mummification.

To say that living legend TATSUYA NAKADAI is prolific is an egregious understatement. In a six-decade career of unrivaled versatility, he has starred in over 160 films, headlined dozens of plays and been active on TV. He is stage trained with the Haiyuza Theater Company, and renowned for playing tormented, sometimes psychotic characters. After making his screen debut with a brief walk-on in Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" (1954), he costarred with Toshiro Mifune in milestones like "Yojimbo" (1961) and "Sanjuro" (1962), and worked with many of Japan's best-known filmmakers. He starred in 11 films by Masaki Kobayashi, including "The Human Condition" trilogy (1959-61), and five films for Kurosawa. He made his mark in significant films by Hiroshi Teshigahara ("The Face of Another"), Mikio Naruse ("When a Woman Ascends the Stairs"), Kihachi Okamoto ("The Sword of Doom"), Kon Ichikawa ("Enjō" and "Odd Obsession") and Shiro Toyoda ("Portrait of Hell"). "Lear on the Shore" marks Nakadai's third starring role for Masahiro Kobayashi, following "Haru's Journey" (2010) and "Japan's Tragedy" (2013). He won his first Blue Ribbon Award for Best Actor in 1972 for Masaki Kobayashi's "Harakiri," and his second for Kurosawa's "Kagemusha" and Toshio Masuda's "The Battle of Port Arthur" in 1980. Among his many other honors are a Chevalier De L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1992), the Kawakita Award (2013) and the Order of Culture (2015).

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

Lear on the shore Poster 290p.jpg
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