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Shochiku, Celluloid pair for ‘Hana’

Pic features Okada as a troubled young samurai

Shochiku and Paris-based Celluloid Dreams are partnering on international sales of “Hana,” the first period drama from Japanese helmer Hirokazu Kore-eda (“After Life, Nobody Knows”).

Celluloid Dreams will handle sales for Europe, Shochiku for the rest of the world. The partnership, announced Tuesday by Shochiku, is the first for the two companies.

Based on an original story by Kore-eda, “Hana” features Junichi Okada as a troubled young samurai bent on revenge for the death of his father, played by Rie Miyazawa. Instead of flashing swords and falling bodies, however, the focus of the story will be on human relationships in a crowded, vibrant urban neighborhood.

The producers on the long-mulled project are Shiho Sato, who worked with Kore-eda on “After Life,” and Nozomu Enoki (“Blood and Bones”).

Kore-eda’s last film, the drama “Nobody Knows,” was screened in competition in Cannes in 2004, and its 14-year-old star, Yuya Yagira, won the actor award. Remake rights to “After Life” have been purchased by 20th Century Fox.

“Hana” is skedded for a local release this spring by Shochiku.

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