Samurai Marathon Q&A

On Friday June 28, Samurai Marathon opened the 18th edition of the New York Asian Film Festival. Director Bernard Rose was there and the film’s lead actress, Nana Komatsu, graced the evening with her presence. She had come to New York to attend the US Premiere and receive a Rising Star Award.

A couple of weeks ago, Film Lincoln Center released the video of the Q&A session. Director Bernard Rose has a pretty good sense of humour and both he and his lead actress tell a few interesting things about filming and directing in Japan.



Rockin on Interview

Nana Komatsu and director Bernard Rose attended the US Premiere of Samurai Marathon at the New York Asian Film Festival on Friday, June 28. It was a memorable evening for the young actress as she received a Rising Asia Star Award. Rockin on has published a short but interesting report with highlights from the Q&A session as well as interviews. Original Post (Japanese) – Pics by Brent N.Clarke.


Selection of translated excerpts


“New York is such an amazing city with power and liveliness (…) here I felt like when I started acting, my heart was beating fast ” (Nana Komatsu, speech)


What was your favorite scene in Samurai Marathon?” ‘A scene I liked was when my father burned a picture at the beginning of the movie. Originally it was a scene with speech, but I thought of expressing emotion without words, I tried to suggest this to the director’ (Nana Komatsu, Q&A)

What’s the best thing to do so that Japanese actors appear in more American films?” ‘American films should right way appoint Nana a lot more. Then they should take Godzilla’. (Bernard Rose, Q&A)


“Princess Yuki Hime is sort of confined (…) but she is interested in the West and has a broad view of the world. She is a strong woman who wants to experience things without being bound by stereotypes (…) I thought it would be fine if I could impersonate such a woman so that everyone in the world could see and then have some cool after thought about her”. About the modernistic element in the movie and the empathy from the audience (Nana Komatsu, interview)

Are there any overlaps with yourself?” ‘Yuki Hime and I are similar as far as curiosity is concerned, I’m very curious and want to try anything (…) it’s all about challenge, dressing as a man, getting into a group of men, I think that makes her a rather active woman for that era…’ (Nana Komatsu, interview)

It’s a trite question but what about Scorsese and this time’s experience” ‘The way of shooting is completely different (…) Mr Scorsese isn’t the type of director who comes to the shooting scene, he comes when he needs it and will say ‘right, it’s good now, let’s have one more take’ and then you can have up to 30 takes and you don’t know which one will be used (…) Bernard Rose tends to favour live play (…) situations that seem chaotic serve as a strategy to give the cast a sense of unity’. (Nana Komatsu, interview)

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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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Asian Movie Pulse Interview

Asian Movie Pulse has just released an interview of Director Bernard Rose and actress Nana Komatsu. Rouven Linnarz from AMP attended the US Premiere of Samurai Marathon at the New York Asian Film Festival. Read the whole interview there: Interview with Bernard Rose and Nana Komatsu: Bernard likes real, raw responses.


Selected Excerpts


Bernard Rose on Nana Komatsu: Nana is such an amazing actress and she draws you in during her performance. She is very thoughtful and there is a lot going on behind her eyes. Additionally, she is very witty and funny. You might look at some of her works and think she is a bit flighty, but that is not the case. In fact she is very strong and that is what I wanted for that character.

Nana Komatsu on her role as Yuki Hime: Princess Yuki is a character who lives in a very closed, confined environment. But she has an interest in the Western world and she is really committed to what she likes. And it is not only that, she turns this into action. I was very drawn to that: this woman with this very strong feeling and passion. It was something that I haven’t done in the past, and so it felt really new to me. On top of that, working with a foreign director I thought would help me grow and would challenge me.


Asian Star in New York

Director Bernard Rose and Nana Komatsu, his female lead in Samurai Marathon attended the movie’s US Premiere at the Film Lincoln Center in New York, on the evening of the 28th. The young actress received the Rising Asia Star Award, a special prize for Asian thespians who are deemed to have the potential for a successful international career. She was the first Japanese actress honoured by the festival since Fumi Nikaido in 2014.


The waiting



The Award




The Q&A Session



Interview report: shortly before the Award ceremony, Nana Komatsu was interviewed by Hiroaki Saito for Yahoo! Japan. With him she recalled the time of Kawaki (i.e. The World of Kanako) when she did not really consider being an actress, she wanted to go abroad because she likes old clothes and vintage stuff.

Coming to New York for the first time made things come true yet it gave her a feeling of both excitement and strangeness, as if things were not real, she went to the vintage shops though.

On hearing the news about her award, she told him she was on the “What’s going on? Me?” mode for some time then felt really happy and thankful, seeing it as an exceptional experience with good memories she would never forget.

Speaking English makes the world a bigger place‘ she added. With all due respect, reasserting her love for shooting films in her own country, she said she’d like to get a chance to meet and work with foreign directors and actors and would seize opportunities.

She said she felt ready to work hard and face challenges even for small things. The journalist concludes his article with hopes the trip to New York and the Award will be a step forward for her film career on the international scene.

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Japanese Woman in New York

According to the Film at Lincoln Center bulletin, there will be a Q&A session with director Bernard Rose and actress Nana Komatsu for the US Premiere of Samurai Marathon on June 28. The movie will open the 2019 edition of the New York Asian Film Festival which means that she will go to the USA to receive her Rising Star Asia Award.

Friday Jun 28, 7:00pm (Walter Reade Theater, Film at Lincoln Center)
Director Bernard Rose and Komatsu Nana in attendance (Introduction and Q&A) Actress Komatsu Nana will receive the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award (source: NYAFF)

International trailer
Japanese TV Spot

Promo Stills