World Premiere Of HAUSU Director's SEVEN WEEKS To Close Yubari 2014

James Marsh, Asian Editor
The Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival is a favourite cinematic celebration here at Twitch, and next month we'll be heading east to snowbound Hokkaido, Japan for this year's celebration of weird and wonderful genre cinema. 

The official programme has now been released and the big news is that Seven Weeks, the new film from Hausu director Obayashi Nobuhiko, will have its world premiere on 2 March as the festival's closing film. Rest assured, we'll be there to check out this 3-hour opus, starring Shinagawa Toru, Murata Yuji and Matsushige Yukata.

While details are pretty scarce right now, our resident Japanese contributor, Chris O'Keeffe, was able to assist with a translation of the official synopsis:

The snowy city of Ashibetsu, Hokkaido, the present. Suzuki Mitsuo (Shinagawa Toru) owner of the antique shop 'Shooting Star' and former head of a hospital, dies at the age of 92. The members of his family return to their hometown to attend the funeral.  At the funeral a strange woman, Shimizu Nobuko (Tokito Takako) appears. "Have I arrived in time?" she says before disappearing. They wonder who she was and her connection to his past.

After the end of World War Two, war continued in Karafuto, an area north of Hokkaido, when the Russians invaded. What happened to Mitsuo during that time? Nobuko owns a poetry book from that period and a little girl named Ayano wants to buy it. What's the relationship between Nobuko and Ayano? Who is Shimizu Nobuko? The borderline between life and death is unclear until the 49th day after death, in the families hometown the living, dead and wandering souls learn the painful past.

Personally I cannot wait. I may only have seen two of Obayashi's films to-date, Hausu and the hilarious teen body-swap comedy I Are You, You Am Me, but I'm pumped for anything new Obayashi has been working on, and word is the director himself will be in attendance. We'll be trawling through the rest of the Yubari 2014 line-up and sharing some other highlights with you in the run-up to the fest, but right now this is at the top of my must-see list.

Christopher O'Keeffe contributed to this story.

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