- Title: FRANCE: Japanese films vie for attention at Cannes
- Date: 28th May 2007
- Summary: CANNES, FRANCE (FILE - MAY 20, 2007) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF NOGARO NO MORI DIRECTOR NAOMI KAWASE (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) NAOMI KAWASE SAYING: "It is because in Japan you see many animation films or horror films and these films are commercially very efficient and they earn a lot of money and my type of film which are based on an original scenario are distributed in small cinemas and it's difficult to export them and have them distributed outside Japan, so that's the reason you don't see them but we have a lot but it is difficult to have them shown abroad."
- Embargoed: 12th June 2007 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVAC7GFR2RM67BU4GBZ167O89WWE
- Story Text: Several Japanese films were looking for success in Cannes this year including two Japanese TV series which have been made into feature-length movies.
Posters plastered on hotels along the Cannes' famous Croisette attempt to whet the appetite of film-goers, and the movie version of Monkey Magic based on the late 70's TV series Monkey were hard to miss.
The TV version of Monkey was a cult hit around the world and the 2007 version sees Japanese star Shingo Katuri in the title role.
"I am confident that this version of 'Monkey Magic' will not disappoint the 'Monkey fans' and I want you to see how great I look," said Katuri.
The film is based on a 16th century Chinese epic called "Hsi Yu Chi" (Journey to the West).
"My character Monkey is a little obnoxious, a little naive, very active, but he has his own beliefs and when he sets his mind on something he's going to go straight to that for justice," explained Katuri.
Also in Cannes was top Japanese TV star Takuya Kimura to promote courtroom drama "Hero". Based on a hugely successful TV series the movie follows the career of a public prosecutor played by Kimura.
A big draw in Japan, Kimura hoped the movie would bring him international recognition.
"Of course this is a challenge, if this is successful for me I can move to a higher step, I can go on to another step, so it is a very important moment now with this movie, that it is a success," he said.
But it is not just commercial Japanese cinema that is represented in Cannes. 2007 see Japanese arthouse movie 'Nogari No Mori' (The Mourning Forest) in the main competition.
It is often difficult for smaller arthouse Japanese films to get distribution deals outside of Japan.
"It is because in Japan you see many animation films or horror films and these films are commercially very efficient and they earn a lot of money and my type of film," said Nogari No Mori director Naomi Kawase.
"It's difficult to export them and have them distributed outside Japan, so that's the reason you don't see them but we have a lot, but it is difficult to have them shown abroad," she added.
The film itself is a poetic meditation on grieving and loss. Shot in near-documentary style, it portrays the relationship between an old man still mourning his long-dead wife and a young assistant in his rural nursing home who is struggling with a loss of her own.
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