Hirokazu Koreeda speaks about the International Film Industry. One of Japan’s most eminent contemporary directors has a new film coming out and bold opinions on Japanese cinema. Hirokazu Koreeda, the director of such films as After Life, I Wish and Like Father, Like Son, was at the Marrakech Film Festival in Morocco to lead the Japanese delegation. A week-long homage to Japanese film that screened works by such directors as Yasujiro Ozu, Naomi Kawase, and Katsuhiro Otomo featured prominently at the festival.
Koreeda, who is currently shooting his upcoming film Kamakura Diary, an adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series Umimachi Diary by Akimi Yoshida, discussed his concerns about the lack of international success for current Japanese film, and competition from the Chinese and South Korean film industries. “It’s true that when Hollywood looks to Asia they are no longer looking to the Japanese market they look to the Chinese market, and the stars are no longer going to Tokyo but to Shanghai,” stated Koreeda to the Hollywood Reporter. Acknowledging that film as a whole is facing declining viewership worldwide due to the rise of the Internet, Koreeda stated that it’s difficult to tell how film will fare in the 21st century.
“A film is made to be seen in the theater, to share the emotion, the laughter with other people. The internet is an alone culture,” said Koreeda. “I don’t know if it will be called a film in this new culture, but the new generation born with internet will have to answer that.” He cited Japan’s “island mentality” as a major reason why so few Japanese films have recently achieved success outside of Japan.
For his next film, Koreeda has finished filming three parts of the film and is working on the fourth and final segment. The film is scheduled to be released on June 13 in Japan, and is Koreeda’s second adaptation of a comic; his first film to adapt a manga was the 2009 movie Air Doll. Kamakura Diary stars actresses Ayase Haruka, Nagasawa Masami, Kaho, and Hirose Suzu as the main cast, and follows three sisters who adopt their younger stepsister into their family.
Koreeda, known for his focus on family dramas resembling the work of Yasujiro Ozu, is an unsurprising choice for directing the movie, and Kamakura Diary is being cited as one of the most hotly anticipated Japanese films of 2015. Many of Koreeda’s previous movies, such as Still Walking, Maborosi, and Nobody Knows have become critically praised and awarded, making Koreeda one of the most successful Japanese directors active today.
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