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Playtime, Kino Intl. Board Naomi Kawase’s ‘Comes Morning’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Paris-based company Playtime and Japanese outfit Kino Intl. have boarded “Comes Morning” (“Asa ga Kuru”), the next project by revered Japanese director Naomi Kawase. The film started shooting last month in Tokyo.

Penned by Kawase and based on Mizuki Tsujimura’s bestselling novel of the same name, “Comes Morning” tells the story of a young couple, Satoko and her husband, Kiyokazu, who after a long and painful experience with fertility treatment decide to adopt a child. Six years later, they get a threatening phone call from a woman named Hikari, who pretends to be the biological mother of the child and who is ready to extort money from them.

“Everyone is somebody’s ‘child’ and was given birth [to] by ‘mother.’ And because of this fact, the core of this story will shake people’s heart, I believe,” said Kawase in a statement. “There lies the beginning of the world, seen by the pure soul who believed this world is genuinely beautiful.”

The movie is produced by Yumiko Takebe, the president of Kino Films, who produced Kawase’s “Radiance,” which competed at Cannes in 2017.

Playtime and Kino Intl. will share the international sales on the film, with Playtime handling worldwide sales outside of the Asian territories represented by Kino. The script and the first images of the film will be made available to buyers in Toronto.

“Kawase is one of the great voices of contemporary Japanese cinema and one of the very few Asian female directors with international recognition,” Playtime co-founder Nicolas Brigaud-Robert said. “With ‘Comes Morning’ she illustrates once more her talent for the delicate understanding of the human soul and the subtleties of family ties and relationships.”

Brigaud-Robert brokered the deal along with Sébastien Beffa for Playtime and Yukiko Tanigawa for Kino. It marks the first collaboration between the two companies.

Takebe said that when he read the original novel, he “was deeply impressed by the uncommon path that these two main characters followed – a woman who accepted her fate of not being able to have children because of her husband, and a girl who accidentally became pregnant with a boy who she really loved.”

Takebe said that “Naomi Kawase’s vision through the camera will capture their moments and will sublimate their lives to a true drama.”

Since winning the Camera d’Or at Cannes for her 1997 feature debut, “Suzaku,” Kawase went on to have seven more films selected for the festival. She won the Jury Prize for 2007 drama “Mourning Forest” and the 2009 Golden Coach from  Directors’ Fortnight. Some of her best-known films include “Sweet Bean” and “Still the Water.”

Besides “Comes Morning,” which is expected to be delivered next year, Kawase is also on track to direct the official film of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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