Junji Sakamoto, Yoshio Harada team up for movie “Oshika-mura Soudouki”

Director Junji Sakamoto ("Zatoichi The Last," "Yami no Kodomotachi") is in charge of a new movie titled "Oshika-mura Soudouki." The project was proposed by actor Yoshio Harada, who is also part of the star-studded cast that includes Michiyo Okusu, Ittoku Kishibe, Takako Matsu, and Koichi Sato.

The movie is set in Oshika, Nagano, sometimes described as one of the most beautiful villages in Japan. Harada acted in the 2008 drama "Oshasha no Shan!" that revolved around the popular Oshika Kabuki troupe, and he became fascinated with the area. That led him to create the proposal for "Oshika-mura Soudouki," and Sakamoto wrote the screenplay based on that proposal.

The story revolves around the odd relationship between a restaurant owner named Zen Kazamatsuri (Harada), his ex-wife Takako (Okusu), and Osamu, the man she ran off with 18 years earlier (Kishibe). When the two elopers show up at his shop, Zen lets the two of them stay there, despite his lingering resentment. However, Takako is now dealing with a failing memory, and the only thing she can remember with clarity are her lines from the roles she played as an actress before she disappeared. To help her out, Zen and the other villagers decide to put together a performance.

According to reports, filming had to be done on a tight schedule of only two weeks during November of last year. The climactic scene is said to feature the Oshika Kabuki troupe, along with 850 extras gathered from all over Japan.

"Oshika-mura Soudouki" will premiere in theaters on July 16, 2011.

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