Starring Atsuko Maeda, Ryo Kase, and Shota Sometani, the film is a rare example of a Japanese-Uzbekistan co-production. Production is by Eiko Mizuno-Gray and Jason Gray of Tokyo-based Loaded Films and Toshikazu Nishigaya of Tokyo Theatres. Uzbekistan’s national cinema agency Uzbekkino serves as co-producer, with backing from the Ministry of Tourism, through the State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Tourism Development.
The story involves the host of a popular travel show who is in fact insular and shy on a trip to Central Asia, where her assignment calls for the filming of a mythical fish. As things go wrong, and team members return to Tokyo, she discovers a new freedom in the mountains.
“The once-great Timurid Empire has fascinated me for decades. Today, the nation of Uzbekistan exists in the very same part of the world. Now I’m going to shoot a film in the middle of the Silk Road with a cast and crew I admire very much, and a theme which is personal to me,” said Kurosawa in a statement last year.
Kurosawa (no relation to Akira Kurosawa) has worked across a range of genres with films ranging from “Cure” and “Pulse” to TV series “Penance. His “Journey to the Shore” and “Before We Vanish” both played in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.
“Earth” had been tipped to find a berth in Cannes, but instead is expected to have a festival premiere later in the year. It will receive its commercial release in Japan on June 14, 2019, through Tokyo Theaters.