The 2012 Japan Film Week in China was held in Beijing on June 14, 2012 and it was attended by several Japanese and Chinese film industry figures. 12 films from Japan were showcased in Beijing which ran until June 19 while Shanghai got to see these films from June 16-22.
These films include “A Ghost of a Chance,” “Always: Sunset on Third Street 3,” CUT,” “Drucker in the Dug-Out,” “I Wish,” “In His Chart,” Life Back Then,” “Ninja Kids!!!” “Peak: The Rescuers” “Ryujin Mabuyer The Movie Nanatsu no Mabui,” Tokyo Koen” and “The Woodsman and the Rain.”
Most of the films were praised by film critics, but one of the films gathered much attention, not only because of its actors, but also because it was the recipient of the 2011 Special Jury Prize at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival.
Starred by two great stars in Japan, Koji Yakusho of “Babel” and Shun Oguri of “Boys Over Flowers,” “The Woodsman and the Rain,” showcased the expertise and artistry of director Shuichi Okita, who moved Japan with his film “The Chef of the South Polar.”
A heartwarming comedy, the film follows the relationship between a young film director and an old widowed lumberjack, during a shooting of a zombie film in Japan. The film starts with Koji Yausho as Katsu, a lumberjack who lives alone in the mountain village of Yamamura, who was interrupted by a film crew shooting a movie nearby. He eventually finds himself getting more involved, helping scout locations and even playing as a zombie extra, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a thing about movies. As the film progresses, Katsu forms a bond with the awkward and insecure director Koichi (Shun Oguri) and their friendship gives them both different views of life.
Director Shuichi Okita successfully came up with the best of both worlds: mixing the essentials of recent Japanese indie comedies with something heart warming. While the audience were occasionally invited to laugh at the characters, the dynamics between them created lots of comic moments and a deeper emotional tone.
Not only does it successfully combined humor and deeper emotions, the film also gave its audience insights into amateur film-making in Japan. The film may not be at certain levels with Shuichi Okita’s “Chef of South Polar,” but all in all, The Woodsman and the Rain charms and entertains for its duration. It is a well-told tale with strongly defined characters that are likable and easy to relate to, enjoyable and truly deserving of an award.
Photos from Nippon Cinema