Oh we like Japanese maverick Sono Sion here. He first found fame on the UK cult circuit with his controversial 2001 Suicide Club (Jisatsu sâkuru), then in 2008 made an even bigger splash with his 2008 4-hour opus Love Exposure (Ai no mukidashi), the first film in what became known as his Hate Trilogy. Second and third installments followed in the sahpe of the grisly but compelling Cold Fish (Tsumetai nettaigyo) and last year's underrated Guilty of Romance (Koi no tsumi). His latest is Himizu, which arrives on UK DVD and Blu-ray in August from Third Window Fiilms, who are simultaneously releasing Love Exposure on 2-disc Blu-ray.
Having grown up in a devout Christian family, Yu (Takahiro Nishijima) has always been a well-behaved kid. After his mother dies, his priest father is seduced by a woman who breaks his heart, causing him to torment Yu by forcing him to confess his sins on a daily basis. Of course, being a fairly normal kid, Yu has no legitimate sins to confess. To appease his increasingly demanding father, Yu is determined to become a true sinner, eventually training to become an expert at sneak upskirt photography. Pornography being the one sin no priest can overlook, Yu gets the attention he s been so desperately seeking from his dad.
One day while hanging out with his fellow sinner pals but dressed like Sasori as punishment for being on the losing end of a bet Yu meets a beautiful girl named Yoko (Hikari Mitsushima). Their first meeting is a glorious one, beginning with an all-out street brawl and ending with a kiss. There are only two problems: she thinks he's a woman and a devious cult leader named Aya (Sakura Ando) is carefully manipulating both of their lives.
One of the most talked-about Japanese cult films of the last decade finally makes its way onto Blu-ray on 6th August 2012 from Third Window Films at the RRP of £19.99.
Featuring a new high definition transfer supervised by director Sion Sono, the release will have the following extras:
A 1-hour long 'Making Of' documentary;
Additional 30 minute 'Making Of' featurette including an interview with Sion Sono;
Sakura Ando deleted & extended scenes;
Hikari Mitsushima deleted & extended scenes;
Zero Church deleted & extended scenes;
Sumida (Shometani) and his schoolmate Keiko (Nikaido) are 15 year old school kids living a dystopian existence where each of their parents hope and encourage them to die. Set in tsunami-hit areas of Japan, which are used as a backdrop, the story follows roughly that of the manga of the same name.
"Don't give up." The constant refrain repeated in radio and television programmes to a nation hit by the merciless catastrophe sounds even more ominous when written in a note left by Yuichi Sumida's mother after running off with her lover. At fifteen, Sumida (Shôta Sometani) is left alone to manage the family's languishing boat-rental business and fend off his drunk and penniless father's bouts of violence. Sumida sees his simple dream for an ordinary future rapidly evaporating before his eyes. Sharing similarly humble but fading dreams is his classmate Keiko Chazawa (Fumi Nikaidou), who also happens to have a major crush on him, even though Sumida seems deeply annoyed by her presence.
Sumida fights frequently with his father, is abandoned by his mother and tends to reject friendly advances of others. Real violence enters Sumida's life when his drunken father goes too far in taunting him. Shocked by the crime he has committed, and the fact he'll never be able to lead the "ordinary" life he planned on, Sumida paints his face and stalks the city streets with a kitchen knife, crazily determined to make amends to society by killing wrong-doers.
On March 11th, 2011, the largest earthquake in recorded history struck the coast off Japan, sending a massive tsunami causing a wave of destruction that decimated large parts of Japan's Eastern seaboard and causing the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Power Station to explode.
This tragedy affected everyone in Japan, especially director Sion Sono who had just finished adapting the hugely popular Manga Himizu into a screenplay. Director Sono immediately put the project on hold to help with the volunteer effort in Fukushima and during his work decided to change the setting of Himizu story to Fukushima and film it there in order to show the world what happened.
After lead players Shota Sometani & Fumi Nikaido won the Marcello Mastroianni Award (they became the first Japanese actors to win the prestigious award) at the 68th Venice Film Festival, Himizu opened in Japanese cinemas on January 14th pulling in an astonishing 27,000 admissions over 79 screens in the first 2 days, with a per-screen average beating the big budget war film My Way which opened the same weekend.
Himizu will be released on UK DVD and Blu-ray on 6th August 2012 at the RRP of £14.99 for the DVD and £19.99 for the Blu-ray.