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Kazuaki Kiriya and Takeshi Ihara, impressed by 350 fans, promoting “Last Knights”, handing out business cards


©2015 TIFF

LAST KNIGHTS co-starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman was officially screened on October 28 at Roppongi Hills, Tokyo and other locations in the Panorama section of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival. Director Kazuaki Kiriya and actor Takeshi Ihara gave the greetings from the stage.
Director Kiriya has been around the entire country promoting the film, and had been personally handing out business cards to his fans. On this day, he walked among the seats handing out business cards with Ihara and said to the fans filling the approximately 350 seats with deep emotions. “it is no exaggeration to say that I made the film imagining this scene spreading out in front of me. I am very proud to be able to show the film publicly to so many people in this way.” Ihara also had a huge smile on his face. “This is a film in which the director and I have represented as a Japanese creator and in a certain sense, have fought for the gaining of credits in a global film industry. I am overwhelmed with emotions that you are finally able to see it.”
This film is a Hollywood debut for the director of Casshern and Goemon, Kiriya who portrays the noble knights in the film which is based on Forty‐seven Ronin. He explained that “(in the screenplay which I’ve received) it had been decided that it would be set in Japan, but then I remembered how director Akira Kurosawa’s RAN was a version of Shakespeare’s King Lear set in the age of Warring States (in Japan) and I wondered if I could do the same thing. With the intention of broadening possibilities for making the film, I thought that I would set it in an imaginary country in an imaginary era, showing all sorts of people and occupations. This is the first time in a period drama that people from different ethnic backgrounds such as white people, black people and Asian people-have gathered together to perform.”
Ihara confronts Owen as his biggest rival character. “In scenes together (with Owen and Freeman), I was mindful not to yield to their presence. When I actually looked at the footage, I thought it turned out pretty well (laughs). I’m probably only saying this because it’s my own work but I thought to myself ‘I’ve got my presence on the screen, too’. This film has made me think that I would like to try acting in a foreign film, too.” he responded. He also spoke of how “most people associate director Kiriya with computer graphics but this time, there are almost no snow or action scenes.” He showed his trust in the director saying “there are not many Japanese directors who can go out into the world, casting a variety of talented actors. I definitely want to stick with Kiriya as I think he is going to continue to flourish in directing not only in Japan but also in the rest of the world.”
Kiriya responded to Ihara’s praise with a “thank you” and spoke passionately of how “directors only have a minuscule amount of power, which is dependent on how many outstanding people they are surrounded with. A film is my creation “my child” and something that we raise together with outstanding people. This current film is my “third child” for which we have fought together with all the staff involved to create in the condition where we had the temperatures of minus 20 or 30 over more than 12 hours a day. It was my intuitive to risk my life to this extent.”
LAST KNIGHTS will be released nationwide from November 14.

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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)