Director and famed comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto revealed some details of his second directorial effort at a press conference held on Friday evening at the inaugural edition of the Okinawa International Movie Festival (OIMF, March 19-22).
Entitled Symbol (Shimboru), the film stars Matsumoto as a man plotting to escape some manner of entrapment. As with his directorial debut, Dai Nipponjin, Matsumoto was reluctant to provide story details before the film’s release, stating that he is virtually the sole cast member.
Principal photography began last September lasting four months, with post-production to be completed next month. Symbol is produced by Matsumoto’s agency Yoshimoto Kogyo and will be distributed by Shochiku in the autumn.
The screenplay was written by Matsumoto and longtime collaborator Mitsuyoshi Takasu, whose book is the basis for HAF project Amarikan.
Dai Nipponjin had its world premiere in Director’s Fortnight at Cannes 2007. The monster-laden social comedy was also screened in Toronto, Pusan and Rotterdam and was a hit for Shochiku, grossing $12.1m (Y1.16bn).
This time Matsumoto is specifically aiming for foreign appeal: ‘The intention from the outset was to submit this film to foreign festivals. Cannes has been informed about it.’ Symbol will employ far less dialogue to reduce the reliance on subtitles.
Yoshimoto Kogyo has recently amplified its contents businesses, capped by the launch of OIMF under a slogan of ‘Laugh and Peace’. OIMF screened 38 feature films, including world premieres of Goemon and Oppai Volleyball as well as selections from Hong Kong, America and France.