Japan’s Free Stone Productions has sold director Junji Sakamoto’s period drama Okiku And The World to Hugo East for China.
Set in mid-19th-century Edo (now known as Tokyo), the film follows two men who collect waste from tenement toilets to turn into fertilizer to sell on to farmers. When they meet schoolteacher Okiku, the daughter of a fallen samurai, romance ensues but not without its challenges.
Fresh off its world premiere at Rotterdam’s Big Screen Competition where the festival noted its “impish humour and sewage wit” along with commentary on environmental awareness, it marks the latest feature from Sakamoto, whose KT was in 2002 Berlinale Competition.
The film stars Haru Kuroki, who won the 2014 Berlinale Silver Bear for her performance in Yoji Yamada’s The Little House. She is joined by Kanichiro and Sosuke Ikematsu.
“We are thrilled to have this unique entertainment film with a great sensitivity of human drama. Since we have succeeded in releasing many Japanese films in China, we are pretty confident in this film,” said Pamela Bai, partner at Hugo East.
The Japanese company is at the EFM in Berlin and in discussions with other territories for the film including the UK, France, Germany and South Korea.