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MOVIE

TAKE THE “A” TRAIN: Bokutachi Kyuukou
TAKE THE “A” TRAIN: Bokutachi Kyuukou
photo

Status: Completed
Release: Fall, 2011
Market Screening: Marchedu Film

STARRING:

松山健一(Kenichi Matsuyama)…Gantz, Norwegian Wood, Detroit Metal City,
瑛太(Eita)…Nodame Cantabile: The Movie, April Bride, No More Cry

DIRECTOR:

森田芳光 (Yoshimitsu Morita)…The Mamiya Brothers, Sanjuro, Lost Paradise

INTRODUCTION:

A heartwarming comedy brought to you by director Yoshimitsu Morita!
In the films that he directed such asSOMETHING LIKE IT, THE FAMILY GAME, FOR BUSINESS and THE MAMIYA BROTHERS, and in the works that he wrote the screenplay for such as the BAKAYARO!series, Yoshimitsu Morita has always depicted the senses of the people who live in modern times through his uniquely comedic style. The original project that he had kept in his mind for over 10 years, based on the conviction that "someday, people will start taking their hobbies very seriously," has finally been realized.

Commonly referred to now as "tecchan" or "tetsuko," train enthusiasts both young and old, men and women alike are enthralled by the world of the railway. In this film, two young men who apparently have little in common – one is an employee at a large corporation who likes to do things at his own pace, and the other is the son and heir to his family's ironworks in the lower parts of town – cultivate a friendship through their shared love of trains. This is a heartwarming comedy in which the laid-back sense of humor and the warm, almost shimmering atmosphere capture the way these two men grapple with their respective love lives and jobs.
This film stars Kenichi Matsuyama, currently much sought-after as the leading man in the filmizations of popular original works such as NORWEGIAN WOOD and GANTZ, and Eita, a versatile actor who can take on both serious and light roles as can be seen in his latest appearances in APRIL BRIDE and THE FOREIGN DUCK, THE NATIVE DUCK AND GOD. The superb performances by these two talented stars representative of today's Japanese cinema bring to life the relationship between this pair of naïve young men whose characters are typical of Japan in the 21st century. Passionate without being aggressive, serious in a matter-of-fact way, and caring in a nonchalant manner… Such factors that these two have in common possess a genuine power that has a calming effect on those of us living in these uncertain times.

The supporting cast is filled with a variety of highly talented actors such as Shihori Kanjiya, Pierre Taki, Keiko Matsuzaka, Takashi Sasano, Tokuma Nishioka, and Masatoh Ibu.

The film was shot on location in various areas around Kyushu, currently highly popular among railway enthusiasts in part because the remainder of the Kyushu Shinkansen (bullet train) line is scheduled to open in spring of 2011. A total of 20 different lines and 80 models of trains including the segments shot in Tokyo is featured in this work. Also, all the characters' names are taken from the names of various limited express trains such as the protagonists Komachi and Kodama, a touch that is characteristic of Morita's eye for detail.

Director's Comment:

I'd been working over the idea for this original screenplay for decades. I'm an only child and spent my childhood gazing at trains at the railroad crossing. So the idea itself had been in my mind for a pretty long time, but I only began to actually write the screenplay about a year and a half ago. There are many different types of "train enthusiasts," from those who like traveling on them to those who enjoy the boxed lunches that are sold on them. So as a hobby it's enjoyable in a wide-ranging way and as a result, it's very cinema-friendly. By taking the form of a road movie, various railway lines can be included, which invites a sense of nostalgia for the Japanese. I'd been thinking about creating a protagonist that enjoys these sorts of things.

Now is the "age of hobbies." Whether one works in a large corporation or a blue-collar job, a shared hobby brings people together. I thought that an interesting work of comedy could be created by using this trend of the times as the base and making full use of the humor that is born when someone takes their hobby so seriously and enjoys it so much that they can blow away all the pain and bitterness in their lives.

The biggest selling point of this work is the comedy. Basically, anyone can get a good laugh out of this film, not just train enthusiasts. But a different kind of laughter awaits you if you're a deeply devoted enthusiast. The appeal of the two central characters and the purity of the way someone devotes their lives to a single hobby are the factors that contribute to the humor of this film. I wanted to make a funny film that everyone could laugh together at, whether you're young and enjoy traveling like the two protagonists of this film or if you just enjoy watching love stories. By laughing together, we can all begin to feel like we're traveling together.

Yoshimitsu Morita

Born on January 25, 1950 in Tokyo, Yoshimitsu Morita made his commercial film debut in 1981 with SOMETHING LIKE IT. With THE FAMILY GAME (83), he won many awards and received high acclaim. AND THEN (85) won the Kinema Junpo Award for Best Film and other awards. HARU(96) won the 6th Annual Japan Critics Award for Best Director, the Japan Academy Prize for Screenplay of the Year and various other awards. In 1997 he adapted the best-selling novel LOST PARADISE by Junichi Watanabe, which depicted a forbidden love, and this film went on to become a social phenomenon. He has since directed such films as COPYCAT KILLER (02), LIKE ASURA (03), THE MAMIYA BROTHERS (06), SANJURO (07), and continues to tirelessly release works in a wide range of genres. His most recent releases are IT’S ON ME (09), which he also wrote, and ABACUS AND SWORD (10).

Hobbies, jobs, and love lives. Some of the things we have in common to better understand each other.

STORY:

Kei Komachi (Kenichi Matsuyama), an employee at Nozomi Estate, and Kenta Kodama (Eita), the son and heir to Kodama Ironworks, both love trains as a hobby. They quickly become friends after becoming acquainted with each other by chance. Komachi, who is particular about having a "train view" (being able to see trains) even from his home, moves into Kodama Ironworks' dorm, but he is soon transferred to the Kyushu branch of his company. Located in Kyushu is a major company that hitherto could not easily be persuaded to cooperate with Nozomi Estate. However, the president (Pierre Taki) happens to also be a train enthusiast and finds a kindred spirit in Komachi and Kodama, and thus business takes a turn for the better. But for both Komachi and Kodama, their love lives were not panning out as well as their hobbies and jobs, and they were at a loss as to what to do.

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