Japan quake shakes ‘Himizu’

Sono rewrote script to reflect March 11 tragedy

It’s the second year that controversial Japanese helmer Sion Sono has had a film debut at Venice. But this year’s “Himizu,” screening in competition today, has a rather different tone than last year’s serial killer horror, “Cold Fish.”

Sono finished the script, based on Minoru Furuya’s dark manga, just before the triple catastrophes of March 11 hit Japan.

As the world watched the devastation caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown, Sono felt compelled to weave the events into the storyline.

Pic, about a teenager trying to lead a normal life despite living in a world of chaos with a drunken father and a mother who abandons him, was hurriedly shot in May in a month against the backdrop of real events.

“The reason I was in such a rush is because I wanted to show it to audiences as quickly as possible,” said Sono. “Every scene changed drastically. The original manga had no hope in it but after March 11, I didn’t think I should make a film with no hope. I felt that I had to convey it in the film.”

Sono said it was essential that the low-budget pic, fully financed by its Japanese distrib Gaga and the manga’s publishing company Kodansha, reflected the country’s situation.

“The entire Japanese community feels like they have no choice but to have hope, because their situation is so bad,” he said. “Before I wrote the original script even I didn’t have that much hope, but that has changed drastically.”

Sono, who is planning two more pics about March 11 to complete a trilogy, added, “Everyone in the world saw the Japan earthquake on the news but I think this film will enable audiences to experience what happened after March 11 and feel close to them.”

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