Best Film:The Real Thing by Koji Fukada ; Best Director: Hikari for 37 Seconds ; Best Actress: Komatsu Nana for her performances in Sakura and Ito (aka Tapestry)…these are some of the winners at the 30th Japanese Professional Movie Awards/日本映画プロフェッショナル大賞. Sakura made it into the jury’s Top Ten movies for 2020.
The Japanese Professional Movie Awards (Japanese wiki page) were established in 1991 by journalist and film critic Hiroo Otaka. Backed by a group of film industry professionals, the main aim of the Awards is to provide recognition to films that sometimes fall under the radar because of lack of publicity or/and funding.
Based on Kanako Nishi‘s successful novel of the same name (2005), Sakura, directed by Hitoshi Yazaki (Strawberry Short Cakes, Sweet Little Lies…) hit Japanese theaters on November 13 last year. It was released on DVD and Bluray on May 12 this year.
Plot: An ordinary and happy middle class family that consists of parents and their 3 children: Hajime (Ryo Yoshizawa), Kaoru (Takumi Kitamura) and Miki (Nana Komatsu). Hajime is the eldest son, a handsome and very popular guy at school, he is also a fine baseball player. His younger brother Kaoru is a reserved and somewhat moody person. Miki is the young sister: stubborn, childish, careless yet sensitive, her feelings for Hajime go beyond simple admiration. They have a cute little dog, Sakura. One day, Hajime has a terrible car accident and as the family falls into despair, much will be revealed.
The last that ever she saw him carried away by a moonlight shadow…Banana Yoshimoto‘s famous novel published in 1986 was indeed inspired by Mike Oldfield‘s most emblematic song (1983). The main character, Satsuki, is a young woman “coming to terms with the death of her boyfriend, Hitoshi, in a car accident and her friendship with her boyfriend’s brother, Hiiragi, whose girlfriend, Yumiko, also died in the same accident. With Japanese cultural and surrealistic themes, it is an example of Yoshimoto’s clean writing style that portrays the emotions of grief, loss, and hope.” (from Wikipedia)
Actress Komatsu Nana is Satsuki thus taking the lead in the novel’s adaptation by Singapore born Malaysian director Edmund Yeo (We, The Dead – Malu…). Set for release next fall.
Not this time ! A recipient of an Excellence Prize for her role as Sonoda Aoi in Ito, actress Komatsu Nana did not get the supreme award in the Best Actress category. Experienced actress Nagasawa Masami was voted Best Actress by the Academy for her remarkable and powerful performance in Mother.
Nana Komatsu looked radiant and beautiful in a Chanel dress from the Haute Couture Fall 2019-2020 Collection, with a new haircut and wearing earrings at the top of her ears. Funnily, there was some interaction and questions from the MCs about her costar Masaki Suda (also a nominee as Best Actor) regarding the filming of Ito and their previous collaborations, much to the delight of fans who like to pair them more often than not.
Though she wasn’t awarded the Best Prize, it seems obvious that Komatsu Nana is no longer perceived as a newcomer, she grabbed several noms and awards during the last two years and it was the second year in a row the Academy gave her a nod. In years to come, there will be plenty of opportunities to rejoice and celebrate, she will sure get the leading parts in strong films that will propel her into a new and even greater dimension.
Ito aka Tapestry is available in different editions since February 2. Both DVD and Bluray have standard and deluxe versions, there is also a limited ‘super deluxe’ Bluray which includes mini posters and big size film cards. It’s even possible to get different bonuses or gifts depending on which store you purchase from. Standard, deluxe and ‘super’ deluxe Blurays from Amazon Japan.
The Bluray Deluxe edition includes: the film on BR, a 22-page booklet, a set of 5 photographs from the film (Suda x 2, Komatsu x 2, Suda+Komatsu x1) and a special DVD packed full of documentaries and reports for a total duration of approximately 140′. Special DVD contents: ‘making of’ documentary (36′), unreleased scenes (26′), Masaki Suda special interview and Nana Komatsu special interview (both with Lilico), premiere and promo events on video…
Actress Nana Komatsu is Aoi Sonoda in Ito aka Tapestry, director Takahisa Zeze’s summer hit in 2020. From Hokkaido to Singapore, Okinawa and Tokyo and through two eras –Heisei then the beginning of Reiwa– Aoi endures a lot: domestic violence, separation, disillusions and betrayal but she’ll triumph anyway. Determined, strong willed and undefeated, she will eventually reconnect with her roots and childhood love, Ren (Masaki Suda).
Acting wise, Komatsu Nana is perfect, her character is very different from the quirky, unconventional, odd or atypical characters she has often played. She’s just a woman with a great soul, simple yet superb. Here’s a selection of screencaps to celebrate.