Shochiku, Hou launch ode to Ozu

Helmer's homage to star Asano, Hitoto

TOKYO — Japanese major Shochiku will produce an homage pic to helmer Yasujiro Ozu directed by Taiwanese arthouse favorite Hou Hsiao-Hsien to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the legendary director’s birth on Dec. 12.

Production on the feature, which has the Chinese working title “Kafei Shiguang” (loosely translated as “Enjoying Coffee With a Chat”), will start Aug. 2, with shooting to be completed in Tokyo and northern Japan by late September. World premiere is scheduled for Dec. 12, which is also the 40th anniversary of Ozu’s death.

“Ozu has deeply influenced my work. His aesthetics and his film language are masterful,” Hou said during a presentation in Tokyo on Thursday. He approached Shochiku, which owns the rights to most of Ozu’s work, some time ago with the project.

Partnered on 3 pix

Three of Hou’s previous outings have been co-produced by Shochiku. French arthouse distrib and production company Diaphana Films came onboard at this year’s Cannes Festival before the script’s completion.

Hou said his pic, which stars Japanese arthouse fave Tadanobu Asano and first-time thesp Yo Hitoto, deals with the importance of leisure time and conversation to “find one’s center and the root of our being.”

The topic is at the center of many of Hou’s previous films and, combined with family relations, is close to the recurring theme in Ozu’s work. Pic is to be filmed with Ozu’s distinct visuals in mind.

Shochiku leads a production committee incorporating the Asahi Shimbuin newspaper, Sumitomo Corp., Imagica and satellite broadcaster Eisei Gekijo.

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