A film based on one of the last scripts to have been written by Akira Kurosawa, Umi Wa Miteita (I Saw The Sea), is to be made by Kei Kumai and premiered at the 2002 Venice Film Festival on the anniversary of Kurosawa's death: September 6, 1998.

The script is based on two short stories by Shugoro Yamamoto, a Kurosawa favorite whose work inspired a number of his films, including Sanjuro, Red Beard and Dodeskaden, among others.

Set in the Edo period (1600-1868), Umi Wa Miteita concerns the lives and loves of prostitutes in the Fukagawa quarter of Edo - today's Tokyo. Misa Shimizu, whose credits include Shohei Imamura's The Eel, will star, together with Nagi Tono, Masatoshi Nagase and Hidetaka Yoshioka.

Nikkatsu is producing, Among the investors is Sony Pictures, which has expressed interest in acquiring the rights for US distribution.

Kurosawa wrote the script in 1994 and prepared nearly 100 continuity drawings for it, with the intention of making it his 31st film. He was unable to raise enough money for production, however, and died before he could bring his script to the screen.

Kei Kumai, whose credits include Sandakan 8, Sea And Poison and this years' Darkness In the Light, will begin shooting in December on a 5,000 sq. m. open set to be built in Western Tokyo at a cost of $807,000 (Y100 million)

At the same time another Kurosawa project, Tengoku To Jigoku (High And Low) is planned to be re-made by Walter Salles (Central Station). The film is to be produced by Martin Scorsese, who was bequeathed the re-make rights to the original 1963 Kurosawa film by the director.