×

Restored Footage at Centre of ‘Mishima’ Documentary on Controversial Literary Figure

Restored footage of an infamous Tokyo University debate between controversial Japanese poet and novelist Yukio Mishima and university students is the centerpiece of a documentary “Mishima: The Last Debate” by Keisuke Toyoshima, which will be released theatrically in Japan in March.

Mishima, real name Hiraoka Kimitake, is known equally as one of Japan’s most important 20th century literary figures, nominated for the Nobel Prize,, and as an unrepentant Japanese nationalist who wanted the powers of the Emperor to be restored.
The heated debate was held in 1969 at a time of mass protests in Japan, that included an uprising among students. A year later after failing to inspire an army mutiny, Mishima killed himself in ritual Japanese fashion.

The original footage of the debate was believed to have been lost, but was discovered by film makers during the process of making the documentary. It has been restored and preserved in 4K.

“Though they have different opinions to each other, Mishima addressed and influenced the young audience with respect. Through the restored 4K footage and interviews of the people involved in the discussion, the people who knew Mishima at that time, journalists and authors of our times, the film pursues timeless thoughts of Mishima which appeals to the people even today,” said Japanese firm Gaga Corp. which will handle international rights licensing.

Popular on Variety

Mishima’s best known works include “Confessions of a Mask,” about a man forced to disguise his homosexuality in order to fit in with society, and “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.” Biographer Andrew Rankin called Mishima an “aesthetic terrorist,” and said: “Mishima’s work is characterized by its luxurious vocabulary and decadent metaphors, its fusion of traditional Japanese and modern Western literary styles, and its obsessive assertions of the unity of beauty, eroticism and death.”

Gaga will pitch the film to distributors next month at the European Film Market, an adjunct to the Berlin Film Festival. “The Last Debate” is set for release in Japan on March 20, 2020.

More Film

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    How 'Bad Boys for Life' Escaped the Franchise Revival Curse

    Sony’s “Bad Boys” franchise proved a 17-year gap between installments means little for the right property. “Bad Boys for Life,” reuniting stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as drug-busting cops, beat expectations and debuted to a stellar $68 million in North America over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The action comedy now stands [...]

  • Tony Hall, Director General of the

    Frontrunners Emerge as BBC Boss Tony Hall Set to Leave Broadcasting Behind

    As the U.K. industry reacts to news of Tony Hall’s intention to depart the BBC this July, top-level executives including Charlotte Moore and Tim Davie as well as external contenders such as Channel 4’s Alex Mahon are beginning to emerge. Variety understands that Lord Hall, who has headed the BBC for seven years as director [...]

  • The Isle of the Dead

    UniFrance Puts Spotlight on Emerging French VR Sector at Rendez-Vous

    France has a burgeoning eco-system of virtual reality and augmented reality producers, and is one of Europe’s leading VR/AR hubs. The UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris, a showcase of French projects that wraps Monday, included a VR/AR showcase, with recent projects demonstrated by Wide Management VR, VRrOOm and Atlas V. UniFrance’s online MyFrenchFilm [...]

  • Los Lobos

    Watch First Trailer for Samuel Kishi Leopo’s ‘Los Lobos’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    FiGa Films has shared the first trailer for Animal de Luz production “Los Lobos,” the second feature from Mexican director Samuel Kishi Leopo, set to play in Berlinale’s GenerationKplus. Previously the film won the SIGNIS award at the Havana Film Festival and passed through various international festivals such as Korea’s Busan International Film Festival and [...]

  • Jacques Bidou, Marianne Dumoulin on Challenges

    Jacques Bidou, Marianne Dumoulin on Challenges of Producing Sundance-Player 'Yalda' in Iran

    Massoud Bakhshi’s second feature, “Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness,” has its world premiere in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition, to be screened without the director. The pic’s production company, JBA Production, and sales outfit, Pyramide International, issued a joint statement on Jan. 14 explaining that the director won’t be attending due to the U.S.-Iran crisis, [...]

  • Mama Weed

    'Divorce Club,' 'Mama Weed,' 'Under the Stars of Paris' Among Highlights at UniFrance Rendez-Vous

    A mix of comedies such as Isabelle Huppert starrer “Mama Weed” and Michaël Youn’s “Divorce Club,” and director-driven titles like Claus Drexel’s “Under the Stars of Paris” were among the most buzzed-about market premieres of the UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. The five-day showcase kicked off Jan. 17 with the world premiere of Martin Provost’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content