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Japanese Cult Director Shinya Tsukamoto Takes Period Route in ‘Zan’

Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto, who has acquired international cult status for his genre films, has unveiled plans for his first period drama.

Titled “Zan,” the film stars Sosuke Ikematsu as a ronin (masterless samurai) trying to survive the turbulence of mid-19th Century Japan, when the country was making an often-violent transition from feudalism to the modern world. Co-star Yu Aoi plays a peasant girl from the same farming village as the hero, on the outskirts of Edo (old Tokyo). Stars with long lists of credits in both indie and commercial films, Ikematsu and Aoi are both working with Tsukamoto for the first time.

As usual, Tsukamoto serves as director, scriptwriter, cameraman and editor. Also, his company Kaiju Theater produced the film. A theatrical release in Japan is set for November 24, with the distributor yet to be announced.

One likely destination for “Zan” is Venice: Tsukamoto has been invited to the festival four times, more recently in 2014 for his WW2 film “Fires on the Plain.”

In addition to his own work as a director, beginning with his feature debut “Tetsuo” (1989), Tsukamoto has often appeared in the films of others as an actor, including a turn as a peasant village leader in Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” (2016).

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