Japanese actor Masataka Kubota has been cast as the lead in the upcoming film “A man” or “Aru Otoko.”
Kei Ishikawa is returning to the Venice Film Festival with “A Man (Aru Otoko),” 6 years after making his debut feature “Gukoroku – Traces of Sin” which was launched in the festival’s Orizzonti schedule. The film “A Man” has also been chosen as the conclusion movie for the forthcoming Busan International Film Festival. It stars Sakura Ando, who is known for her leading role in “Shoplifters” by Hirokazu Kore-eda which won 2018 Cannes Palme d’Or as well as lead actor Masataka Kubota. The film once again reunites filmmaker Ishikawa and Satoshi Tsumabuki, who previously worked together on “Traces of Sin.”
“I feel really great. I always wanted to come back [to Venice]. The last time was my debut film and I came here without knowing much. I was like a tourist,” Ishikawa recollects on his return with “A Man.” “This is my second time and now I know what it means to have a film here. There’s a different feeling.” In the past few years, director Ishikawa, a graduate of the Polish National Film School, has made “Listen to the Universe,” television series “Innocent Days” and the anthology series “Ten Years Japan.”
“The reaction, the standing ovation — now I know what it means. My film was in Venice last time but after that I made a few films that were quite big in Japan but not as visible internationally. The Japanese film industry is a bit closed and very domestic. You can have a good result in Japan but it doesn’t mean that it will do well abroad, or vice versa. I try to keep a balance. Now with A Man, I feel that this could be the balance for me.”
“A Man” is based on a novel written by Keiichiro Hirano, the film begins as a reflective illustration of love and loss, as Sakura Ando’s Rie struggles with her recent divorce as she raises her child alone. Rie later meets Daisuke (Masataka Kubota) and marries him. Together they raise her son and they welcome a daughter together. However, her happiness is short-lived as Daisuke passes away in an accident and she suddenly gets curious to find out about his identity and his past. In the second hour of the film, it comes to be more of an investigative story, while also pondering on the nature of his identity. “Characters are important but this time, I really wanted to focus on identity,” Ishikawa asserts.
In the later half of the film, there’s a shift in the film’s protagonists with lawyer Akira Kido (Satoshi Tsumabuki) steering the action of the film. “I don’t want to focus this movie on the feelings of one particular person or [for the film to be] driven by one single character. That was the distance that I wanted to create,” explains Ishikawa. “Having the protagonist change one after another is an idea that I like and enjoy.”