Ken Watanabe (Inception) stars in director Lee Sang-il’s visionary remake of Clint Eastwood’s iconic Academy Award winner. Continuing a rich tradition of cross-cultural adaptations, Lee swaps six-shooters for samurai swords, transposing the classic western to Meiji-period Japan.
The film was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and was described by Artistic Director Cameron Bailey as follows:
“Jubei Kamata (Ken Watanabe) is a widowed father and infamous former swordsman who spends his days tending a struggling farm. His commitment to pastoral tranquility is tested when Kingo Baba (Akira Emoto), an old comrade in arms, brings news of a bounty substantial enough to secure his children’s future: the prostitutes of a neighbouring village have pledged 1,000 yen for the lives of the bandits who mutilated one of their own. Rustily and somewhat reluctantly, Jubei joins Kingo in the saddle, along with a brash young braggart named Goro (Yûya Yagira). Together, they fancy themselves more than a match for the wanted men. But they are also destined to encounter a far more formidable faction, led by a sadistic lawman (Koichi Sato) with a distaste for soldiers of fortune.
Lee wisely retains the spine of David Webb Peoples’s acclaimed screenplay, but adds several notable flourishes of his own. A subplot concerning Japan’s indigenous Ainu squares his update with the broader western tradition of depicting the plight of aboriginal peoples at the hands of so-called civilizing forces. Lee also refashions the film’s climactic standoff to stunning effect, conceiving a fiery new finale that is certain to see his Unforgiven become iconic in its own right.”
We will also be joined that evening by Goro Koyama, internationally acclaimed foley artist whose most recent work, on Robert Redford’s All is Lost, is nominated for this year’s Academy Award for best sound. Goro helped create the sound effects for Unforgiven and will demonstrate for us some of his techniques for creating sound effects for a major international film. His other credits include The Help, 42, Elysium, Alice in Wonderland and American Hustle.
The screening will also be proceeded by the announcement of the Toronto Japanese Film Festival 2014 line-up.
Date: Thursday March 27, 2014
Admission: $8 JCCC members, $10 non-members