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Cannes: Toei Pitches Shunji Iwai Return to Live Action Film

Major Japanese studio Toei Co. is backing the untitled new project by Shunji Iwai, one of the most travelled Nippon film directors.

The film is now in production with Haru Kuroki, winner of the Berlin festival’s best actress award in 2014 for Yoji Yamada’s “The Little House.”

Iwai set out a multi-seasonal shooting schedule to fulfill an ambition to shoot a film that captures the beauty of Japan’s four seasons. Lensing will wrap in August, with theatrical distribution in Japan set between February and April next year.

The story involves a couple, their online personas, jealousy, divorce and cynical manipulations.

The film also marks the return to live-action filmmaking for Iwai after an absence of more than four years since “Hana & Alice.” In the intervening period, Iwai has been involved in TV animation series “Mysterious Transfer Student” (aka “Nazo Ni Tenkosei”) and directed animated feature “The Case of Hana & Alice,” a spinoff of his live-action film. He was previously a favorite on the festival circuit with arthouse hits including “Love Letter,” “Swallowtail Butterfly,” “April Story” and “All About Lily Chou-Chou.”

In Cannes, Toei is also handling sales of “Battles Without Honor and Humanity,” the 1973 Kinji Fukasaku-directed title that appears this week in the festival’s Cannes Classics section.

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