Monsters, Woodsmen and Girls, Oh My!
WIT Life is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends together with her own observations.
It is indeed time again for one of my favorite annual events, Japan Cuts at Japan Society! The lineup of 39 films is more robust than ever, and the focus on fabulous actor Koji Yakusho adds a new dimension to this year’s festival. He will be on hand this Friday night to screen his 2011 award-winning The Woodsman and the Rain, and he will receive the first ever Japan Cuts prize, the CUT ABOVE award for excellence in film. Can’t wait for the screening and to possibly catch an up-close glimpse of this living legend at the reception after.
This event kicked off last Thursday, and many wonderful pieces have already been shown. I haven’t been able to catch as many as I would have liked, but one that really struck me was 2011′s Monster’s Club from director Toshiaki Toyoda, who was on hand during the screening. Toyoda was inspired to make this film after reading Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto, which he felt described Japanese society to a tee. However, in response to an audience member’s question, he elaborated that the manifesto actually gave him hope and that was the message he was trying to share through the movie.
Filming took place over the course of two weeks in a mountainous area of the Tohoku region, right before the Great East Japan Earthquake hit. But there was another tragedy during the filming, the suicide of the father of Monster’s Club star Eita. The actor opted to continue working, and this obviously added another layer of intensity to an already intense experience. It has been said that there was no script for Monster’s Club, but during the post-movie Q&A Toyoda clarified that it had been conceived on the fly during the two week shoot. A screening of Toyoda’s 2003 9 Souls, also featuring Eita, will take place this Thursday at 9:30 for those who are interested in checking out this director’s masterful work.
Tonight the chick flick Girls for Keeps (based on the novel Girl by Hideo Okuda) is being presented, and I’m looking forward to what is described as a Japanese version of Sex and the City that follows the love lives and workplaces of four beautiful women.