On Saturday 29 August, co-stars Suda Masaki and Komatsu Nana had a 30′ minute online chat with about a hundred fans from the 47 prefectures of Japan. It was their last appearance as a pair to promote Ito. They both thanked the fans for their support and comments as many said they were deeply moved by the film. Then the two thespians answered a few questions from the MC.
Nana Komatsu said she had never talked that much about a role before a release. Director Takahisa Zeze could not attend but a letter he sent was read, he praised his two leads for their human qualities and their involvement in and for the film.
Talking about her co-star, Nana Komatsu said he was both receptive and responsive. The whole event should be available on Toho’s YouTube Chanel from August 31 onwards, in the meantime you can get the original Japanese script from Screen Online.
Back in 2012, 16-year-old Nana Komatsu was a young model and still at school. She used to travel to Tokyo on week-ends for her photoshoots and did not consider an acting career then. In 2014, much to her surprise, she was asked to audition for The World of Kanako, the next opus from famous director Tetsuya Nakashima.
She was reluctant but encouraged by relatives and friends she went to the audition. She was hired right away after a brief interview and the rest is history now. She has starred in many films since then and worked with very different directors: Takahiro Miki, Bernard Rose, Akihiko Shiota, Martin Scorsese, Hideyuki Hirayama or Akira Nagai to name just a few.
A much sought after actress and known for being extremely versatile Nana Komatsu is most certainly one of the best representatives of the ‘Old School’ approach to acting in the Japanese film industry (and beyond). When nuance and subtle body language prevail over wordiness, when emotion is conveyed through the eyes, you’re ‘old school’ but there’s more to it, Nana Komatsu does have a few add-ons: a surprising ability to suddenly embrace rage and also a playful side which comes close to eccentricity.
Some films are available on NetFlix, Amazon Prime Video, Mubi, Outbuster and other online services on a regular basis, you can get a few DVDs with English subs from Amazon USA and all the original Japanese DVDs and Blurays can be purchased from CD Japan.
The following ‘guide’ is not based on movie genres, alphabetical order or date of release but rather on her performance in each and every film. Going to the movies is like going to the restaurant somehow, also the actress has a solid reputation as a food loving person, so this presentation makes sense in many ways. Here’s the Menu right below: you’ll get appetizers only, i.e. trailers and short scenes.
⭐ = the blogmaster’s choice
Closed Ward (2019): Closed Ward aka Family Strangers is a moving and quite realistic story about friendship, support and loyalty within a small group of people isolated from society. As Yuki Shimazaki, a young outpatient in the psychiatric ward of a hospital, Nana Komatsu delivers one of her very best perfs. Most of the film she remains sort of silent like a prisoner in a cage of suffering, yet, her eyes and expressions do tell a lot. Tension gradually rises until the trial scene during which words eventually flow.
Not a full translation but excerpts in English from Komatsu Nana‘s interview in Movie Walker Press today. Original article and interview there (Japanese): 小松菜奈が語る
Nakajima’s song is a great one which has been covered by a lot of people and it’s a song about life.
Beyond the ups and downs, the good times and hard times of life, the film emphasizes the importance of connecting with people.
When she came to know she was to work with Masaki Suda again, she kind of expected tough stuff -recalling some rough scenes from Drowning Love and Destruction Babies- and saw Ito as a new challenge as it depicted a quiet/peaceful love relationship.
As it is their third collaboration, she adds that they both know each other well when it comes to be in tune acting wise. Shooting in Singapore and Okinawa were done separately so it wasn’t easy to express the love between Aoi (Komatsu) and Ren (Suda) as he wasn’t there. In that sense she’s glad he was the one who played Ren to convey that.
About the numerous crying scenes, especially the one in Singapore, she tells the journalist she’s not very good at that and can’t cry out of the blue. She had to prepare and focus (…) It was easier for the airport scene as she felt she was more involved emotionally.
On Friday 21, Komatsu Nana and Suda Masaki went on stage for a special Ito premiere at the Toho Cinema in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. Separated by plexiglass panes they entertained the chosen few with co-stars Nana Eikura and Takumi Saito.
Sayonara Kuchibiru aka Farewell Song is the one and only Japanese film at the 16th edition of the Jecheon International Music & Film Festival in South Korea (August 13-17), hence the opportunity to post and display some Korean Posters and promo cards for the films Komatsu Nana starred in.
[Updated] A live promo event was held today (Tuesday 11) in Tokyo at the Ebisu Garden Hall (south of the Shibuya area). Separated by panes of plexiglass, Director Takahisa Zeze and his two leads talked about Ito bound for a nationwide theatrical release on August 21, Japan.
Director Zeze said he observed Komatsu Nana and Masaki Suda interact and found they got along well in between takes but when it came to playing the scenes they got into something new and he was very pleased they were able to bring that. He added that no special request came from singer songwriter Miyuki Nakajima yet she asked him not to make a sad ending. 🙂
Nana Komatsu helped a lot on the set, trying to get food for the extras especially on one cold day in Hokkaido. Masaki Suda said he and Komatsu had been working together several times and was glad they could work together again. Watching Masaki Suda play and interact with the kid actors, she said he would be a good father.
Referring to the period of emergency and restraint Nana Komatsu said she missed the connection between people, the communication, adding that though things aren’t back to normal she’s happy to open up again.
The two added that things they did on screen in the past were rather intense (spitting, choking each other…) whereas Ito was more like a classic love story.