EXCLUSIVE: Paris-based company adds trio of Japanese titles to slate.
French MK2 has picked up sales on Japanese director Naomi Kawase’s An about the friendship between a baker and an old lady who bond over a passion for traditional red bean pastries.
The Paris-based company has also acquired Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s supernatural love story Journey To The Shore, about a dead man who takes his wife on one last trip together, and Masa Sawada’s documentary I, Kamikaze, revolving around the memoirs of Fujio Hayashi, one of the last surviving coordinators of Japan’s Second World War suicide missions.
The company has also added French director Christophe Honoré’s Metamorphoses - a re-telling of Ovid’s classic poem set in contemporary France using a young, unknown cast - to the slate.
MK2 is also handling Kawase’s Still the Water, a coming of age tale set on a remote Japanese island, which will premiere in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
“We’re thrilled to be following Kawase. She is one of the most talented female directors in the world,” said MK2’s sales chief Juliette Schrameck.
“She’s at a moment in her career in which she is making films which are extremely human and accessible to the public and at the same time faithful to her central themes of nature and reflection on life and death.”
Other titles on MK2’s Cannes line-up include Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria and the Italian Taviani brothers’ Wondrous Boccaccio, which is in production.
Due to shoot this summer, An will star Toshiyuki Nagase as Sentaro, the owner of a bakery selling dorayakis – traditional Japanese pastries filled with sweet red bean paste. The paste is called “an” in Japanese.
One day, an old lady (Kirin Kiki) walks in and offers to help in the kitchen. She is an expert at making “an” and business perks up at the bakery.
Kawase’s Kumie Inc and long-time collaborator Paris-based Comme des Cinémas are co-producing the project which was presented at Busan’s Asian Project Market in October.
Journey to the Shore
Based on a novel by Kazumi Yumoto Kurosawa’s love story Journey to the Shore revolves around the return of Yusuke to his wife Mizuki some three years after he drowned at sea.
“It’s the story of a woman who sets off on a journey with her dead husband,” said Schrameck. “It’s at once troubling, a bit supernatural and also very romantic.”
It will star Eri Fukatsu and Tadanobu Asano and is produced by Amuse Entertainment, Wowow, Sirous and Comme des Cinéma.
In I, Kamikaze, Japanese veteran Hayashi recounts how he volunteered for the very first kamikaze operation planned by the Japanese Imperial Army.
Sawada originally embarked on the project in the company of French director Bertrand Bonello but the filmmaker became tied up with production of Palme d’Or contender Saint Laurent.
“They did interviews together in Japan and we see Bertrand Bonello at the beginning of the documentary but Masa Sawada directed it in the end,” said Schrameck.