August 18, 2015
On August 12, 2015, a press conference was held to announce the completion of filming of the movie Haha to Kuraseba, which Sumitomo Corporation helped produce. Before an audience of media representatives, director Yoji Yamada and leading actress Sayuri Yoshinaga along with Kazunari Ninomiya, Haru Kuroki and Tadanobu Asano shared their thoughts on the film, offered anecdotes about the shooting process and revealed other behind-the-scenes stories.
Haha to Kuraseba, the first fantasy film directed by Yoji Yamada, follows the story of a man (played by Kazunari Ninomiya) killed in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki who becomes a ghost, appearing before his mother (played by Sayuri Yoshinaga), who works as a midwife. Focusing on their time together, the film weaves a surreal, mysterious tale filled with warmth. Director Yamada stated that he may have been destined to direct this film, which will be released later this year, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. For Sayuri Yoshinaga and Kazunari Ninomiya, who played mother and son in the film, this was the first time they had worked together. Yoshinaga confessed she could not watch Ninomiya on television without feeling some kind of "maternal concern," especially when he was doing something dangerous, to which Ninomiya responded with a shy chuckle, giving the impression that there really was a kind of warm "mother and son" dynamic at work between the pair.
The score of this film, which depicts a deep affection between the mother and son, was composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto. Asked for his comment on the project, which marked his return to work following a period of medical treatment, Sakamoto said he felt himself very fortunate. Director Yamada followed this up with a comment that it was his long-cherished dream to work with Sakamoto. Haha to Kuraseba is the first collaboration between these two leading, talented and passionate figures.
The movie Haha to Kuraseba is scheduled to be released in Japan on December 12, 2015.
Director Yoji Yamada (second from the left) with some of the cast members at the press conference. "I have never seen Yoji Yamada direct a film with such passion [in my entire experience working with him]," said Sayuri Yoshinaga (second from the right), who has now acted in five of Yamada's films, this one being the first in five years.
©2015 Haha to Kuraseba Film Partners
The press conference featured a display consisting of a large paper crane covered in messages of peace from the cast and crew. Among them was one from Kazunari Ninomiya: "May tomorrow be a happy, smiley day for everyone!"