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Kiyohiko Shibukawa surprised by tricky question- “Lowlife Love” is a fantasy film


©2015 TIFF

Film Lowlife Love starring actor Kiyohiko Shibukawa had its official screening on October 24 at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival in the Japanese Cinema Splash section. Shibukawa, along with co-stars Maya Okano, Shugo Oshinari, Yoshihiko Hosoda, Kanji Furutachi, director Eiji Uchida, and producer Adam Torel appeared for a “greetings from the stage” at the venue of the world premiere, the TOHO CINEMAS Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.

Uchida, who gained considerable attention both domestically and overseas for Greatful Dead, has given us a drama that portrays the love of film the lowlifes who hang out at the bottom rungs of the indie film scene have, as well as the tensions between them. The MC for the event, the festival’s programming director Yoshihiko Yatabe, asked Shibukawa, who performs the self-proclaimed film director Tetsuo who is just this side of 40 but won’t give up on his dreams, the hard question: “Do you have a particular ‘lowlife’ director that came to mind when you were developing the role?” Shibukawa answered incredulously- “you actually want me to give a name? Actually there wasn’t really anybody, which is why I think this is a fantasy film.”, he said, revealing his pet theory.

The cast, who were abuzz even before entering the venue, enjoyed each others company the whole way through. The venue was the 4DX theater, and Hosoda joked that “the only time this will be shown in 4DX is today, so I hope you enjoy it”, and Furutachi told the audience “you will only see lowlifes in this film, so we want you to just laugh at it, as though you are looking at yourselves.” Torel, who has experience with distributing Japanese films in England, said “this really is a wonderful film. I’ve seen it 50 times already, and I’m not sick of it yet”, breaking the ice even further.

Uchida told us he was thinking “I wanted to make a real Japanese film which is close to real life”, and after hearing a lot of interesting stories from the staff and other actors around him, he told us that he decided to make the film set in the world of indie films, and insisted that “I just want to make it sure: this is not an autobiography. There are a lot of different lowlife characters in the film, but one thing they all have in common is that they love film. The actors also give a really strong performance.”

The self-proclaimed film director Tetsuo, with no money and no resources, leads a degenerate life of trying to get girls back to his home, using his one success in life, receiving an award at a film festival. Then along comes the young actress Minami, full of talent, and he finds hope again, and makes every effort to get a new film for her. His friends Kida, an unsavory film producer, Kyoko, a struggling actress trying to sleep her way up, and a group of associate directors earning a living from homemade porn, are his last chance-will his dreams come true?

The 28th Tokyo International Film Festival runs until October 31. Late show screenings of the film Lowlife Love will be shown at Tokyo Theater Shinjuku from April 2, 2016.

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KEIRIN.JPThe 28th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
27th Tokyo International Film Festival(2014)