Samurai Marathon Bonus

The Bluray and DVD collector’s editions for Samurai Marathon include a bonus disc which is really worth the extra money: superb making of documentary, premiere event report and various interviews. (Amazon Japan – CD Japan)

The atmosphere of involvement, complicity and good humor from the cast, which pervades the Making of Documentary, can also be felt in the 3SHOT Interview with Takeru Satou, Mirai Moriyama and Nana Komatsu.

The actors are asked about difficult scenes, things they had to care or worry about and if Bernard Rose, being a foreign director, was different from Japanese directors. We get the impression that the shooting was exciting and enjoyable but rather demanding both physically and mentally. For instance, Mirai Moriyama recalls the water he had to swim in was awfully cold.

Takeru Satou had no problem running with others but he was asked to deliver extra speed when he was on his own. Nana Komatsu was a bit worried about her kimono (a very valuable and unique piece) not getting dirty or wet, quite an issue when one considers weather conditions in Japan (end of summer, early fall). The three actors portray director Bernard Rose as a nice and benevolent man who relies a lot on his actors’ ability to be spontaneous.

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Marathon Girl Yuki Hime

Samurai Marathon 1855 is definitely a bold take on the genre with unexpected yet thoroughly enjoyable elements of comedy. There is action too, especially when Jinnai (Takeru Satoh), Heikuro (Mirai Moriyama) and Princess Yuki Hime (Nana Komatsu) get tough on the baddies.

The film is also a must watch for the journey you get through the beautiful landscapes of the Yamagata Prefecture: kudos to Takuro Ishizaka, director of photography whose work is matched by a haunting score written by Philip Glass. For Nana Komatsu fans, it is a ‘must-not-miss’. As Princess Yuki Hime, one of the modernistic elements of the movie, she looks proud, brave and beautiful.

Here is a special post with screencaps and short clips from the film and the making of documentary. The bonus disc* is a real treat: Amazon Japan – CD Japan. *only available in the collector’s editions.



Lord Itakura’s daughter

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Samurai Marathon DVD

Bernard Rose‘s movie DVD was released in Japan on Wednesday 24 July. It is available as a standard edition or deluxe edition either on DVD or Blu-ray: Amazon JapanCD Japan. Below you’ll find selected excerpts from film reviews -with links to the original articles- illustrated with selected screen caps of Nana Komatsu as Yuki Hime.


“Our opener was a big hit, and one of our biggest opening films since Bad Genius[in 2017]. This is quite possibly the best “chambara” / samurai film I’ve seen since Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins; it’s a bit of a paradox that an Englishman directed it, but maybe a sign that cinema can truly be without borders sometimes.” Samuel Jamier, director of the New York Asian Film Festival (source)


Eastern Kicks: “Samurai Marathon is a wonderful narrative about a less known historical fact – the first Japanese marathon. While this historical event had no true effect in the unfolding of history, Samurai Marathon succeeds, by intermingling various narrative threads into an effective narrative structure and allowing dramatic musical pieces support its unfolding, in turning this event into an exciting jidaigeki narrative. Rose might have created a somewhat atypically packaged jidaigeki, but it provides everything one should expect of a contemporary mainstream example of the genre.”

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New York follow up

From Eiga.com yesterday, a series of photographs by Brent N.Clarke and a report on Nana Komatsu -with bits of interview- at the US Premiere of Samurai Marathon in New York last Friday (June 28). The movie was the opening film of the 2019 edition of the New York Asian Film Festival. That night, the young actress received the Rising Asia Star Award.

The article provides a summary of her career, reminds readers she had already worked with a non-Japanese director (Scorsese for Silence in 2016) and quotes her when she received her trophee: I am really honored and feel very happy. I’ve come to New York for the first time, but as an actor, as a person, I’m very thankful to be praised this way by people from another country. The actress humbly added that to be worthy of this award, she would like to continue and become an actress who could grow up greatly.

Asked a few questions by Nobuhiro Hosoki from Eiga.com, she said working with Bernard Rose was a fresh and valuable experience. He is not much into rehearsals and relies a lot on improvisation from his cast. Though she reckoned it could bring a certain level of tension, she found it was very rewarding for the actors.

Regarding this she mentioned that she had properly prepared and rehearsed a fighting scene with two other actors. Though she thought the resulting sequence was fine, Bernard Rose came and said it did not look realistic at all because fighting with swords wasn’t like choreographed work. He subsequently cut that scene. She was first very disappointed but then it helped her adapt to the director’s leaning towards a less preset way of working.


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Samurai Marathon US 2020

It’s official, Samurai Marathon will be released in US theaters in 2020. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Well Go USA Entertainment has acquired North American rights to Bernard Rose’s film.

“Samurai Marathon is such an engrossing, often moving film — there were times it was difficult to catch a breath,” Doris Pfardrescher, president and CEO of Well Go, said Tuesday in a statement. “Staying true to tradition while finding a place in the quickly modernizing and progressing world is a rather timely [theme], and we feel audiences in North America will connect to this story.”

Original article: Hollywood ReporterOther sources: Bernard Rose