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Fuji mines TV synergy for contempo story

Mita: 'It's a new style in (Japanese) filmmaking.'

TOKYO — He lives in a designer apartment high above the smog in one of the new high-rise buildings, with a glorious vista of the endless city below, drives a pricey sports car and commands presentations of new ad campaigns like Napoleon did his troops. She’s a spoiled kid of a wealthy company boss and shows signs of moneyed ennui.

Sounds like a typical modern variation of “boy meets girl”? It is, this time set in present-day Tokyo. “g@me.” is the newest product of Fuji Television Network’s revitalized film department, to be released in early November. It was presented to a preview crowd last week and will be screening at the upcoming MIFED for potential international buyers.

As the box office tally of Fuji’s top-grossing live-action feature “Bayside Shakedown 2” hits the $156 million mark, Fuji TV is continuing the formula it knows best: package the right TV talent as leads, concoct a story based on a book by best-selling author Keigo Higashino and hire a dependable director Satoshi Isaka) to come up with a sleek, suspenseful love story showing off Tokyo’s newest image of itself. Well-known Japanese TV stars Yukie Nakama, as the spoiled ingenue, and heartthrob Naohito Fujiki, as the yuppie ad exec, topline.

And, as is the case with “Bayside Shakedown 2,” Japanese social rules and the intricacies of expectations society has of each individual, especially women, play a leading part.

“This is a film targeted at the all-important female audience,” explains Mina Mita. “It’s all about what preoccupies modern Japanese women, and what they aspire to.”

“It’s a new style in (Japanese) filmmaking,” says Mita. “It tells a lot about life in this city, its pressures, what younger professional people have to deal with if they are ambitious.” Toho’s relatively wide release on some 240 screens will tell whether the film has a life beyond the initial fascination with seeing favorite TV actors on the bigscreen.

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