Japanese auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who won best director at Venice in 2020 with Wife Of A Spy, is working on a new suspense thriller titled Cloud, which will be introduced to buyers at the EFM by Japanese studio Nikkatsu Corporation.
The feature is in post-production with a Japanese release set for September 2024. A first look at the film can be seen above.
Written by Kurosawa, the story centres on Ryosuke Yoshii, an enigmatic young man who tries to make money by reselling shrewdly obtained goods on the internet under the pseudonym ‘Ratel’.
The film stars Masaki Suda, who won best actor at the Japanese Academy Awards in 2018 for his performance in Yoshiyuki Kishi’s Wilderness: Part One and was more recently heard as the voice of the Grey Heron in Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli animation The Boy And The Heron. He also appeared in Genki Kawamura’s A Hundred Flowers, which played in competition at San Sebastian in 2022.
Cloud is produced by Nikkatsu Corporation and Tokyo Theatres Company Inc.
It marks the latest in a string of recent projects by the prolific Kurosawa, whose mid-length film Chime will receive its world premiere at the Berlinale on February 19. The auteur has also completed the French thriller The Serpent’s Path starring Damien Bonnard, Ko Shibasaki and is an adaption of his 1998 Japanese feature with the same title. A release is planned for this year.
Kurosawa is a Cannes regular, playing in Competition in 2003 with Bright Future; winning the Un Certain Regard jury prize with Tokyo Sonata in 2008; and winning the directing prize in 2015 with Journey To The Shore. His 2017 feature, Before We Vanish, also played in Un Certain Regard while Japan-Uzbek drama To The Ends Of The Earth screened as the closing film at Locarno in 2021.
Chime will play in the Berlinale Special strand of the festival. His macabre thriller Creepy also screened in Berlinale Special in 2016, having played drama License To Live in Forum in 1999 and later Foreboding in Panorama in 2018.
Reflecting on the inspirations behind Cloud, Kurosawa said: “In the obscure corners of modern-day Japan, violent incidents sometimes occur for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Investigating the causes, it is revealed that the internet is a system through which small grudges and frustrations can be accumulated and magnified. I wondered if such a phenomenon would serve as subject matter for an action film and began developing this project.”
Speaking about the central character, the writer/director added: “The protagonist is an extremely average man who, through his small-time moneymaking schemes, desires to gain even the slightest advantage over others. In this story, he carelessly incurs the ire of those around him, and ultimately finds himself dragged into a deadly battle with his life on the line.”
Nikkatsu’s EFM slate also includes Tatsumi, a gritty revenge drama directed by Hiroshi Shoji (Ken And Kazu), starring Endo Yuya, of Cannes 2021 drama Onoda: 10000 Nights in the Jungle, and Morita Kokoro. It is set for release in Japan on April 20.
Further titles on Nikkatsu’s slate include Shinya Tsukamoto’s Shadow Of Fire, Takumi Saitoh’s Home Sweet Home, time loop comedy River and Jojo Hideo’s S-friends and S-friends 2.
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