Sadao Nakajima’s Latest “Love’s Twisting Path” Screened as Closing Film
Sadao Nakajima had a strong presence at the 5th Kyoto International Film and Art Festival. He officially declared the festival had started at the opening ceremony. He was also honored with the talk event “The Chair: An Homage to Director Nakajima” at the Kyoto University of Arts and Crafts.
It is only fitting that his latest film, “Love’s Twisting Path” (“Tajuro Jun Aiki”), be screened as the closing film of the festival. The screening to a packed house at the Yoshimoto Gion Kagetsu theater on Sunday, October 14th was also the film’s world premiere.
After an absence of about 20 years, Nakajima returned to the genre that established his reputation as a master of Japanese cinema—the historical drama centered around sword fighting. Nakajima co-wrote the script with Keiko Tani. It centers on the penniless samurai drifter Tajuro Kiyokawa, who has left the world of violence behind and only wants to practice painting while leading a life of peace and quiet. But the battling factions loyal to the Shogun and the deposed Emperor, including his brother, force him to pick up his sword again. This leads up to a climatic sword fight in a bamboo forest.
Kengo Kora, who plays Tajuro, appeared with Nakajima after the screening to say that he is so happy to see the film get big applause in Kyoto, because the city is also the setting of the film. Ryo Kimura, who plays Tajuro’s younger brother, also joined the talk session and said that he was very thankful for the opportunity.
Nakajima himself said that he had to go back to study “chambara,” or the art of Japanese sword play, and was happy to share what his knowledge with his young cast. Kora said that he learned from Nakajima that the important thing is not just about speed of swinging the sword or cutting as many opponents as possible, but rather it is important to think why the character is cutting this way, or holding the sword at this angle.
The two young stars agreed that of course they felt pressure and nervousness on the set, but what they remember most is the happiness they had working and living in Kyoto during the month and a half shoot. As the audience applauded, they were clearly happy that they were able to return to Kyoto to present the film.
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