entertainment

'Norwegian Wood' has Japan premiere

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The Japan premiere of the film version of Haruki Murakami’s famous novel, "Norwegian Wood," was held at the author’s alma mater at Waseda University this week. Stars Kenichi Matsuyama, 25, Rinko Kikuchi, 29, and other cast members joined Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung on the red carpet.

Matsuyama, who plays main character, Toru Watanabe, said of the film, “I can’t express how fantastic this piece is. I really do believe it is perfect.” Kikuchi, who plays the female lead, said, “The time from when I auditioned for the role until today seemed to go by in a flash.”

The director chimed in, “When I imagined [Kikuchi’s character] Naoko, Rinko didn’t really come to mind.” Kikuchi apparently sent the director a video letter to help her win the part. “I’m the type to actively go out and get what I want, rather than waiting to see if it will come,” she confided.

The film, like Marukami’s book, is set in Tokyo in the late 1960s. The character of Watanabe is a young university student struggling to choose between two women, one the girlfriend of his best friend who committed suicide, and the other self-confident and independent, representing the future.

The novel has won worldwide popularity, and many directors had approached the author to adapt it to film. More than 10 million copies of the book have been sold in Japan alone, with 2.6 million more sold in another 33 languages.

Tran said he didn’t know why he was chosen, but producer Shinji Ogawa said Murakami wanted an Asian director to project the region’s aesthetic.

Tran said the story about new love easily transcends borders. "It’s about the pain you feel when you are in the process of love. Love is growing and suddenly something stops it. It happens twice to Watanabe,” he said.

Viewers may be surprised that the Beatles classic from which the book takes its name makes little more than a cameo in the film. “It’s only that the song is too soft, too cute, too sentimental. What happens with the characters is really stronger than that song,” Tran said. “I put the song at the end of the movie because it works like the beginning of the book.”

"Norwegian Wood" opens nationwide on Dec 11.

© Compiled from wire reports

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


10 Comments
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Rinko Kikuchi seems to have a different look everytime she appears in public. Nice of her to show some lovely legs on a cold night.

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I believe the title "Norwegian Wood" originally referred to a risqué novel written by infamous U.S. underground director J.X. Williams back in the 1960s...

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rondh69 at 01:00 PM JST - 26th November

I believe the title "Norwegian Wood" originally referred to a risqué novel written by infamous U.S. underground director J.X. Williams back in the 1960s...

No, it's a song by The Beatles.

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im watching it for kiko mizuhara, one of my favourite models!

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Norwegian Wood was my first Murakami read. I became hooked! So I wonder how does Murakami-san so intimately understand my Western middle-aged female soul? I'm very much looking forward to seeing this film, hopefully before the new year.

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Tran Ang Hung sets odd standards if he thinks a song about spite-motivated arson is "too soft, too cute, too sentimental"

The characters in the book echo the characters in the song, in my opinion, not to mention the themes of love, lust, alcohol, and getting stuffed around by the opposite sex.

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I love Norwegian Wood, if you haven't read it, please do so. Cant wait to see the movie.

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Tran Anh Hung is an AMAZING director, and this is one of my favourite contemporary books, so I'm really looking forward to it. I can't believe the same guy that did 'Scent of Green Papaya' did 'I Come With the Rain', though.

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soothsayer: "The characters in the book echo the characters in the song, in my opinion, not to mention the themes of love, lust, alcohol, and getting stuffed around by the opposite sex."

I agree with you; the song name is COMPLETELY apt as the book's title, especially given that Watanabe loves that kind of music. However, I suppose for people who don't know or pay attention to the lyrics (would be the case in Japan, for the most part, just because they are foreign) I could see some people thinking it's an odd choice.

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Sorry... meant to add the song is also apt in the soundtrack.

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