27 de mai de 2007

60th Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Winners Part 2
Grand Prix:Mogari No Mori (("The Mourning Forest") (Japan), director Naomi Kawase.




















Best Actress: Jeon Do-yeon (
Secret Sunshine “Miryang” - South Korea)

"Lust, Caution" To Open Venice Film Festival

Lust, Caution














Director Ang Lee's latest hit Lust, Caution has been confirmed to open this year's Venice Film Festival, domestic portal Sina.com reported. The film, which started shooting in last year, is based on a short story by Chinese writer Eileen Chang. The work is now undergoing final editing in New York. Ang Lee's English-language work "Brokeback Mountain" won the Golden Lion at the 62th Venice Film Festival. On Tuesday, another Chinese director, Zhang Yimou, has been invited to chair the jury of the festival. The 64th Venice Film Festival will kick off on August 29. This year is the 75th birthday of the festival. (Source: CRIENGLISH.com)
Based on the Eileen Chang's same title short story, which was inspired by a true event, the story of Lust, Caution is set in the Japanese occupied Shanghai in the early 1940s. It tells a young woman Wang Jiazhi is assigned to approach Mr. Yee, a high-ranking official worked for the puppet government, and tricks him to an assassination trap. Then she realizes their relationship has dangerously grown out of control.

The cast includes newcomer Tang Wei as Wang Jiazhi, Leung Chiu-Wai as Mr. Yee, Wang Lee-Hom as Kuang Yu-Min, Wang's comrade and lover, and Joan Chen as Mrs. Yee. Focus Features scheduled a limited release in North America starting September 28 this year.
More are available on http://focusfeatures.com/

Cannes News 2007

Cannes Film Festival News

Cannes Winners Part 1

A young Chinese director's movie, Chen Tao's Way Out won the short film award on Saturday at the 60th Cannes Film Festival underway in France.

The work of Chen Tao, a 28-year-old student from the Beijing Film Academy, was awarded the second prize in the short film unit. The film tells the tale of a farmer who becomes a pickpocket, of the journey from "good" to "bad."

"I'm so happy," said the young director, "I feel like a kid entering into the big world of films."


The film's strong narration helped it outshine other candidates, according to Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke, who presided over the short film jury. The short film unit is in charge of promoting the emergence of the next generation of filmmakers. This year, 16 student films were selected from a large number of entries, varying in length from 8 minutes to 45 minutes.
http://english.cri.cn/3086/2007/05/26/1301@231770.htm

Secret Sunshine (filme, 2007)

Secret Sunshine/Miryang (South Korea)

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A Cinema Service release of a Cinema Service presentation, in association with CJ Entertainment, of a Pine House Film production.

Executive producers: Kim In-su, Lee Chang-dong

Director and Writer: Lee Chang-dong (original story by Yi Chong-jin)

With: Jeon Do-yeon, Song Kang-ho, Jo Yeong-jin, Kim Yeong-jae, Seon Jeong-yeob, Song Mi-rim, Kim Mi-hyang, Lee Yun-heui.

Camera (color, widescreen): Jo Yong-gyu
Editor: Kim Hyeon
Music: Christian Basso
Art Director: Shin Jeom-heui
Costumes: Kim Nu-ri & Cha Seon-yeong
Sound (Dolby Digital): Yun Hae-jin, Steve R. Seo
Assistant director: Jeong Seung-gu. R
Running time: 142 min.

“Secret Sunshine,” which opens May 24, asks the fundamental question, "Is life understandable?" Ostensibly a melodrama, it repeatedly asks questions about the nature of human beings. Can human beings understand the truth, other human beings and God? Why is it so hard to find an ultimate answer despite all our efforts?

The answers depend on the audience, though Lee's movie certainly does not seem to have a happy ending. The film follows Jong-chan, played by Song Kang-ho, a confirmed bachelor who owns a car repair shop and falls in love with Shin-ae, played by Jeon Do-yeon. He starts to follow her around. The two could not be more different: Shin-ae moved to the town only because it is the hometown of her dead husband, for whom she still grieves. Jong-chan is an ingratiating snob.

Lee has coaxed great performances from actors including Han Suk-kyu in “Green Fish,” Seol Kyung-gu in “Peppermint Candy” and Moon So-ri in “Oasis.” With Song Kang-ho and Jeon Do-yeon, he once again has two unforgettable leads. Song Kang-ho gives a fine performance, complete with convincing dialect, and Jeon Do-yeon proves her reputation by projecting the whole range from innocence to sensuality and horror.

The supporting cast are excellent. Mostly unknowns, some of them theatre actors from the Ulsan and Daegu region, they were selected through auditions. At the end of the movie, Shin-ae's brother comes to visit and asks about the town. Jong-chan answered in his rough dialect, "Not much different from other places. Milyang is the same as other cities where people live." The movie induces a kind vertigo with a sense of how difficult life is to understand. [http://english.chosun.com/]

Director Lee Chang-dong’s new movie “Secret Sunshine” was screened in competition at the Cannes International Film Festival on Thursday. Lee has been to Cannes before, when his work “Peppermint Candy” was picked for the festival’s Director’s Fortnight screenings. But it was the first time he has been invited to the official competition. In a press conference, Lee said he felt honored to have a work invited and was trying not to care about the decision of the jury. “I don’t like competition, so I tried to avoid competitive occasions even when I was at school.” “Secret Sunshine” also opened in Korea on Thursday.

The movie depicts the pain of the heroine, played by Jeon Do-yeon, who feels betrayed by both life and religion. Lee said the movie is about human beings, not about religion. “I wanted to pose question about the meaning of pain in our life. And I wanted to depict the process to heal the pain. And what about two Korean films are screened in competition this year? the director answered, “Essentially, the creative spirit of filmmakers is important in producing movies, not their nationality.” But he predicted it would encourage Korean filmmakers.

Questions about the movie’s stars were as warm as sunshine. Stéphane Boudsocq from French radio channel Radio RTL showered female lead Jeon Do-yeon with compliments, saying her acting was the most impressive in all the movies he watched in the competition. Jeon said her 10th film gave her new energy, and that was her biggest achievement. Song Kang-ho, who stars opposite her, also praised Jeon’s acting. [http://english.chosun.com/]

Joining the list of top-tier contenders for the Palme d’Or is “Secret Sunshine,” from the South Korean director Lee Chang-dong. Mr. Lee, who turned to filmmaking after a long career as a novelist (and who has also served as his country’s minister of culture), brings a contemplative, literary sensibility to a story that might easily have lent itself to melodrama and sensationalism. It is about a young widow from Seoul who moves with her son to her husband’s hometown, a small city where she knows nobody.

For the first third of its nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time, “Secret Sunshine” feels like a slightly somber fish-out-of-water comedy, until a sudden catastrophe cranks up the psychological intensity, sending the heroine (the remarkable Jeon Do-yeon) into a frenzied, desperate search for some kind of peace. Her pain is almost too much for Mr. Lee’s deliberate style to contain — and there is something incomplete about the film, in spite of its length — but Ms. Jeon’s portrayal of a meek soul in torment is a tour de force. She joins an impressive roster of fierce, fearless actresses gracing the Cannes screen this year. (review by A. O. SCOTT)
[ http://www.nytimes.com/]

"Not a frame is wasted in this 142-minute Korean drama from director Lee Chang-Dong, which begins with a mother and son stranded on the road to Miryang, the Korean town whose Chinese characters translate as the film's title," writes Premiere's Glenn Kenny.

"The first 40 minutes or so comprise fish-out-of-water comedy/drama of the sort that might have Hollywood pursuing remake rights, but an awful tragedy sends the movie and its heroine into another direction altogether."

"Secret Sunshine is not an uber-arty film - like some of the competition's more pretentious standouts - but in its own sharp, sensitive and fully naturalistic mode, it expresses profound human truths in a fully realized way that has been rare at this year's festival," writes Anthony Kaufman at indieWIRE.

"The film features outstanding performances by its two leads: Jeon Do-yeon as the story's central figure and Song Kang-ho, probably Korea's most popular actor at the moment, here playing more of a supporting role," notes Kirk Honeycutt in the Hollywood Reporter.

"The film ends on a neutral note as if Lee were telling a story with no real end. It's a life and at some point the story must stop, but the life continues with the future never entirely certain. This is a considerable achievement: To offer up a mix of movie genres yet make a story come together as a perfectly fitting and comprehensible whole."

"Nothing brings an uproar faster than the topic of religion and Secret Sunshine doesn't hold back in questioning the existence of God or critiquing the role of religion in society," writes luna6 at Lunapark6.

“It's no secret Do-yeon Jeon is a wonderful actress, just reference her performance in “You Are My Sunshine” or “My Mother Is A Mermaid” as proof. Yet, the brevity of pain she was able to express during her descent into darkness in “Secret Sunshine” was something to absolutely marvel at. During the final portions of the movie my hands were literally clenched to the armrests, out of this gripping fear of what she could possibly do next. I was actually praying another tragedy would not occur in her life. Meanwhile, Kang-ho Song seems to get better and better with each movie that he performs in.” ( Via Jon Pais at Twitch.)

"Some fervently admired “Secret Sunshine”, others thought it slow and forced; and you can get those varying opinions from the authors of this journal," write Richard and Mary Corliss for Time. "The big news here is Jeon's performance, which is being touted for the Best Actress prize."

"When the prizes are handed out tomorrow, it's almost inconceivable that Lee Chang-dong's “Secret Sunshine” will not be among the major winners," writes Dennis Lim for IFC News. "The film's secret weapon is its disarming plainness - a transparency that confers a kind of grace and belies an emotional complexity. It's about as limpid and unexploitative a film as you could imagine on the subject of human suffering." http://daily.greencine.com/archives/003821.html

tea house note: I didn´t like this USA review, it has a good share of insensibility, prejudice, and rude spoilers that I had cut off.

By “Sustained throughout its considerable running time by Jeon Do-yeon's finely detailed perf as a young widow starting over in an anonymous South Korean town, "Secret Sunshine" is an ambitious, almost novelistic pic by writer-helmer Lee Chang-dong ("Peppermint Candy") that ultimately fails to dramatize its lead character's conflicts in cinematic terms. Credit amassed by pic's slow-burning beginning and interesting mid-section is dissipated by a long final act in which the air is let out of the bag. Tightening by at least 20 minutes or so would make "Sunshine" a brighter bet for offshore niche release. Lee Shin-ae (Jeon) is a widow in her early 30s who's left Seoul with her young son, Jun (Seon Jeong-yeob), to make a new life in the southern town of Miryang (pic's Korean title, literally meaning "Secret Sunshine"). When her car breaks down on the outskirts, the boss of an auto repair shop, regular guy Kim Jong-chan (Song Kang-ho), comes out to lend a hand. Shin-ae, who gave up a promising future as a concert pianist when she married young, starts up a piano school for kids but immediately finds Miryang is not quite the clean break she'd hoped for. Without overdoing it, script succinctly sketches the town's gossipy substratum beneath the locals' smiles; more direct is the attempt of a local pharmacist to recruit Shin-ae to Jesus after hearing of her "tragedy."

... Jeon's performance really clicks into gear here, as she lets out her accumulated sorrow and frustrations and feels "reborn." In a difficult transition that few other South Korean actresses could have made convincing...However, the result of that meeting sets her on a 180-degree path that puts her at odds not only with the whole Jesus crowd but even tests the devoted Jong-chan. It's here the film starts taking on water, in a long final act that incrementally charts Shin-ae's withdrawal from society but loses dramatic momentum in a succession of basically repetitive sequences. At no point does her plight, detailed from an Olympian height by Lee's script and direction, become truly involving.Jeon's convinced playing -- a trademark of the chameleon actress ("Happy End," "No Blood No Tears") -- keeps "Sunshine" watchable but can't inject real tension and drama on its own. On screen almost the whole time, Jeon carries the pic virtually singlehandedly. Despite being South Korea's hottest actor of the moment, Song ("The Host") basically provides light relief with his bemused Jong-chan, forever accompanying Shin-ae's twists and turns. Character has no background or emotional arc, only behavioral tics. Largely handheld, widescreen lensing by Jo Yong-gyu is fine, whether drawing the anonymous nature of the small town or closely following the performances in invisible style. More music would have been a benefit, though a second visit to the editing table even more so.
[
http://www.variety.com/]

22 de mai de 2007

Wong Kar-wai's “My Blueberry Nights” at Cannes

The 60th Cannes Film Festival

The official recognition here of Asian cinema continues apace, evidenced by Mr. Wong and by new films from the Korean directors Kim Ki-duk and Lee Chang-dong, both in competition. Four out of 20 films in a parallel program called Un Certain Regard are from Asia, including that program’s opening-night film, from the revered Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien: “The Flight of the Red Balloon,” with Juliette Binoche, a tribute to the classic children’s short “The Red Balloon.” Action enthusiasts are already looking forward to “Triangle,” a collaboration of three Hong Kong legends: Tsui Hark, Johnnie To and Ringo Lam.

Wong Kar-wai's “My Blueberry Nights” reception at Cannes





















The 60th Cannes Film Festival opened May 16 with Wong Kar-wai's first English-language project, My Blueberry Nights, which is playing in competition.

"My Blueberry Nights" tells the story of a blueberry-pie-eating girl traveling across the vast expanses of the United States of America, searching, like all of Wong's protagonists, for the meaning of "love".

The film stars British and American big names, such as superstar chanteuse Nora Jones, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman, and David Strathairn. Its production team is also a mix of eastern and western talents, with American crime writer Lawrence Block as the screenplay writer, French Darius Khondji as the cinematographers, William Chang from Hong Kong as the production designer and editor, as well as an American camera crew. Wong Kar-Wai says "My Blueberry Nights" is an international film nonetheless embracing the spirit of Hong Kong film”.

Wong Kar-Wai won the Best Director prize in 1997 for the film "Happy Together". His protagonist Tony Leung was the judged Best Actor in 2000 for "In the Mood for Love". In 2006, Wong Kar-Wai headed the jury for the 59th Cannes festival, becoming the first Chinese jury president in its history.(Source: CRIENGLISH.com)

The film represents both a series of changes for the director -- a new language, a new country, a new director of photography and a singer with no acting experience in the lead role in the form of Norah Jones -- but at the same time the director also relies heavily on what makes a film a Wong Kar Wai film, including the signature abundance of neon-lights and that dreamy atmosphere that have become a director’s trademark. Since it is in English ...the film will probably be a bigger international hit than his previous efforts, but artistically speaking My Blueberry Nights is not a step forward but rather a step back. (more at http://european-films.net/)

“My Blueberry Nights” is a romantic confection that begins with a lingering shot of vanilla ice cream melting into the gooey filling of a blueberry pie. The film takes place in a postcard America of diners and red neon signs, a land of heartbreak and second chances where folks play poker and drink whiskey and subsist on cheeseburgers, pork chops and, in at least one case, quite a bit of that pie. The pie eater is Norah Jones, the singer and songwriter, who makes her screen debut as Elizabeth, a New Yorker on the rebound from a long relationship with an unfaithful, unseen and unnamed boyfriend. She takes refuge in a homey restaurant managed by Jeremy (Jude Law), where there is always a lot of blueberry pie left over at closing time. After they strike up a late-night, pastry-fueled friendship, sealed with a lovely, drowsy screen kiss, Elizabeth takes off on a journey that leads her from Memphis to Nevada, through a series of waitress jobs, slightly altered identities (she’s Lizzie in one place, Beth in another) and encounters with other lonely souls. These include an alcoholic policeman (David Strathairn), his estranged wife (Rachel Weisz) and a gambler (Natalie Portman) who seems to talk a better game than she plays.


... In “My Blueberry Nights,” shot in CinemaScope by Darius Khondji, the colors are still rich and smoky, but the wider format gives the compositions a looser, more open feeling. And the characters are correspondingly relaxed, even in their moments of distress. Ms. Jones and her co-stars invite and promise easy empathy. While the soundtrack music from “My Blueberry Nights,” which includes American institutions like Otis Redding, Ruth Brown and Ry Cooder, was still echoing in the Palais des Festivals, you could hear dyspeptic grumbling about Mr. Wong’s American venture, along with a certain amount of defensive praise. There will be plenty of time to sort it out. My initial impression is of a sweet, insubstantial movie that might have been more exciting — more meaningful — to make than it is to see.
Full text at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/18/movies/18cann.html


Wong Kar Wai’s visually arresting journey across America is propelled by the stories of loners half-crazed by love and grief. The film charts this haphazard emotional pilgrimage with decidedly mixed results. Wong’s first English language film reveals what a superb artist he is. Visually his film looks stunning on a giant festival screen, but the links between characters and stories require large leaps of faith. ...But it’s so beautifully painted that you can forgive Wong any number of sins. The close-up chemistry between Norah Jones’s feckless heroine and Law’s Mancunian café proprietor is electric. In her first role as an actress, the singer is a genuine find: artless and affecting. The scenes between Jones and Law have all the wonderful hallmarks of Wong’s masterpiece, In the Mood for Love. Where the director scores heavily is the way he handles atmosphere and themes. He experiments quite brilliantly with shutter speeds, angles, filters, and textures. The lettering on the windows of the café and scrawled on Elizabeth’s postcards takes on a sort of mysterious life of its own. The landscape photography is breath-taking, as are the iconic shots of street corners and open roads which you could cut out and hang in galleries. Like all metaphorical journeys, this one comes full circle but there’s a wonderful ambiguity about how it actually ends.
Full text at:
http://enterteinment.timesonline.co.uk/

[...]Over the past decade-and-a-half, the Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the most vital and distinctive talents in world cinema. But he loses his way badly on his first English-language outing, an American road movie that relegates him to the role of a passive, swooning tourist amid a blur of neon signs, smoky bars and open freeways. Admittedly My Blueberry Nights doesn't quite go so far as to feature a gum-chewing hitchhiker, or a Native American spouting soulful wisdom. But the rest of the genre tropes are all trotted out with a woozy abandon.

The film marks the acting debut of singer Norah Jones who headlines as Elizabeth, the self-styled "girl with a broken heart". [...]Credit where it's due, Jones copes well with the attention, in that her performance is easy and unobtrusive without ever quite communicating any great depth of feeling or life-changing epiphany. Weirdly, it's her more experienced co-stars who struggle. Natalie Portman toils against miscasting as a brassy gambler, while Jude Law is overly winsome as the good-hearted owner of a Manhattan cafe. Playing the role of a frazzled Memphis belle, Rachel Weisz manages a pitch-perfect accent and certainly looks the part. If only Wong hadn't chosen to introduce her in comical slow motion, sashaying into the bar to the strains of Try a Little Tenderness. It's the sort of humiliating entrance that no actor can hope to rebound from; the equivalent of walking in with her skirt hitched into her knickers.

[...]True to form, Wong's curtain raiser is beautiful to look at and unabashedly romantic. But it is also vapid and ephemeral, trading in a kind of karaoke Americana that bounces us from cafe to bar to truck stop for the simple reason that they are there to be bounced between. Taking off for Vegas, our heroine reflects that "what should have taken hours went on for days and what should have been a short ride became a long one". She might have been talking about the whole of My Blueberry Nights.

My Blueberry Nights,[...] arrived in a finished print, complete with credits, it also seemed strangely formulaic for such a maverick director known for re-editing his movies even after release. [...] For the last ten years Wong has been an established Cannes staple – and for admirers of his dreamy, neon-drenched style, My Blueberry Nights is definitely the work of the auteur behind such wonders as Chungking Express and In The Mood For Love. However, for the first 20 minutes at least, My Blueberry Nights wavers on the borders of self-parody. Filmed on location, it evokes a gorgeous, hallucinatory (and largely twilight) world, but where Wong's dialogue once seemed so cute and rarefied in Cantonese, it now seems a little on the clichéd side.

[...] It's a shame, then, that the film never quite plays up to its players: Wong shoots and directs his cast with an understated sensitivity, but the story itself never quite marshals all the moments he gathers on screen.

11 de mai de 2007

Memories of Murder (2003)

Memories of Murder (Salinui chueok) (DVD/ Thriller/ South Korea, 2003, 145 min.)
Director: Bong Joon-hoScreenwriter: Bong Joon-ho, Kim Kwang-rim, Shim Sung BoActors: Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung, Kim Roe-ha, Song Jae-ho, Byeon Hie-bong, Ko Seo-hie, Park No-shik, Park Hae-il, Choi Jong-ryol

Based on a real-life story, placed in a Korea shook by social conflicts and military repression, Memories of a Murder is an impressive dramatic thriller. The now worldly acclaimed – by The Host – director/screenwriter Bong Joon-ho exhibit with brilliancy his multiple qualities as an realizatéur.

The story is relatively simple, reminding lots of other films about serial killers already seen. But in this case, what makes this film different of the hollywood clichés is the story´s rhythm and unique development and approach of the characters. And the carefully composition of cenography, the half shady but delicate photography (Kim Hyeong-gyu), as well as the music (from japanese composer Taro Iwashiro) creates the perfect assemble of dramaticity and sensibility. Some less sensible souls may pass through the experience as watching just another good thriller movie picture, but I was personally very well impressed by this film. As a woman, it´s impossible not to be affected with all that the women go through, in this place, in this moment in the film – and that this situation can be transfered to any time and place in the world. At the little town where a troubled police team try to investigate a series of murders, the women don´t suffer only in the hands of a cruel serial killer. They stand police beating at the civil street protests, are despised and abused by husbands, boyfriends, bosses...The girlfriend of Song Kang-ho´s detective is the symbol of everything that a woman represents in this town: she´s dedicated to work, cares about her loved one´s health and carrer, while he gives her less attention that to his work partners; he never looks her in the eyes, even making love. And goes on...The only police woman has her intellectual capacity disdained by the male cops...A victim doesn´t have the courage to denounce her own rape. The women are alone and defenceless, at home, in the middle of a country road, in a rainy night.
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1 de mai de 2007

Sunshine (UK)

SUNSHINE – a new “almost classic” sci-fi movie
































English director Danny Boyle´s new film is a sci-fi thriller named SUNSHINE, produced by Andrew Macdonald from an original screenplay written by Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later).

The film has three big asian stars, japanese Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai), chinese Benedict Wong (Dirty Pretty Things), and malaysian Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), besides Rose Byrne (Troy), Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider), Chris Evans (Fantastic Four), Troy Garity (After the Sunset), and the always great Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins).

“The film has an American/Asian crew because we felt that in 50 years time the Chinese and American space programs would be the most developed and that they would have the economic power to bankroll such an endeavor,” says Boyle.

”All begins 50 years from now, when the Sun is dying. Without the needed sunlight, the mankind is freezing to death. An international mission is sent into space to deliver a bomb to (try) reignite the Sun. A team of eight astronauts/scientists lead this mission. On their journey towards the Sun the crew stumble upon the ship that was sent on the same mission seven years previously, the Icarus I, drifting in space. From this point on things start to go very wrong and it’s about how the crew react under the enormous pressure of their endeavor to save mankind.”

The movie has a very realistic design, besides the scientific approach on the subject (there was a lot of research about the NASA projects, etc). The fictional part of the sci-fi is the Sun´s death within our lifetime, but the possibility of man’s extinction is not so hard to imagine this days, with global warming, wars, epidemic deseases, etc.

Sunshine is about the psychological journey of this group of cosmonauts, but in fact represents the faith of all humanity.
It´s depressing, but anyone doubt that our destiny in this universe can be really dark? And I´m not talking about alien invasion...


Don´t wanting to spoil the end, I don´t think this wonderful film will be considered a classic (maybe it wasn´t the intention anyway), but will stay in the memorie of the fans of the good sci-fi genre. And thanks to Danny Boyle! He didn´t corrupt another Philip K. Dick novel.

Hiroyuki Sanada
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Born Hiroyuki Shimosawa (Tokyo, October 12, 1960).
As a teenager learned martial arts at Sonny Chiba’s Japan Action Club, besides music and tradicional dance. Graduated from Horikoshi Gakuen High School.
His movie debut was in Chiba´s Yagyu Ichizoku no Inbo, which made him into action star in samurai and ninja movies in the 70’s and 80’s.
Graduates from Nihon University of Art, majoring in Film (1982).
Stars another Sonny Chiba´s action film, Shogun’s Ninja. His career take a change with dramatic roles, like Dotonborigawa , Mahjong Horoki; and in several Hong Kong productions, as Royal Warriors with Michelle Yeoh.
Experiments with the rock singer life. In 2000, the Royal Shakespeare Company cast him as “The Fool” in King Lear, alongside the great Sir. Nigel Hawthorne, and the recognition cames with the Member of the British Empire title.
Best actor at 2002 Japan Academy Awards (The Twilight Samurai). Became known worldwide with important roles in films The Last Samurai, The White Countess, The Promise (China), Ringu (Japan). Will star in Rush Hour 3, with Jackie Chan.

- “He gives this extraordinary and majestic performance. When I met him I felt he had that kind of natural authority that makes people respect him automatically, which was crucial for the character.” Sunshine´s director Danny Boyle.
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