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Japan Switches on to ‘Light’ as Foreign-Language Oscar Contender

Japan has selected “The Light Shines Only There” as its national contender for the foreign-language Academy Awards race.

Directed by woman director Oh Mipo, the film is a drama about an unemployed man’s slow reinvigoration through a love affair with the emotionally damaged sister of a friend.

The film was previously the closing film of the Osaka Asian Film Festival and Oh was last week announced as the Grand Prix winner of the Montreal World Film Festival.

The film stars Ayano Go in the lead role, Sato Yasushi and Ikewaki Chizuru as the sister.

The screenplay was adapted by Ryo Takada from a novel by Yasushi Sato.

Production is by The Light Shines Only There Production Committee with Open Sesame handling international sales.

“Light” is Oh’s fourth feature after “The Sakais Happiness,” “Here Comes The Bride. My Mom,” “Quirky Guys And Gals.”

Japan has a strong history at the Oscars and won many of the early awards. In 2008 Takita Yojiro’s “Departures” won the Oscar, while in 2010 Nakashima Tetsuya’s “Confession” made it to the January shortlist.

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