Natsume Soseki’s TEN NIGHTS OF DREAMS Comes to America
“I am an ambitious man who wants the people of 100 years hence to solve my riddle.”
– author Natsume Soseki (1906)
Japanese author and poet Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) first came to public attention with his short story I Am a Cat (Wagahai wa Neko de Aru) in Hototogisu magazine in 1905. The next few years saw the publication of his popular stories and novels as London Tower (London To, 1905) Botchan (Master Darling, 1906), The Three-Cornered World (Kusamakura), The 210th Day (Nihyaku-jyu Nichi), and Poppy (Gubijinso, 1907). In 1907, Soseki became a writer for the newspaper Asahi Shimbun. Many of his works were first serialized in the paper then later collected in novel form; this included such acclaimed tales as Ten Nights of Dreams (Yume Ju-ya, 1908) and Kokoro (1914).
In the years following his death, Natsume Soseki became known as the most renowned author of the Meiji Era. In recognition of his accomplishments, Soseki’s likeness was featured on the Japanese ¥1,000 notes printed from 1984-2004.
In 1906, Soseki challenged audiences of this modern age to solve the riddle of his stories. In 2006, eleven of Japan’s top directors took up that challenge and created the omnibus film TEN NIGHTS OF DREAMS. Based on the same-titled short story collection, TEN NIGHTS OF DREAMS delves into the surreal subconscious with ten madly imaginative, reality-subverting visions that range from wonderfully wacky to nightmarishly unsettling.
The ten episodes are directed by the legendary late filmmaker Kon Ichikawa (THE BURMESE HARP, THE INUGAMIS), who previously adapted Soseki Natsume’s Kokoro for film in 1955; the late Akio Jissoji (ULTRAMAN, TOKYO: THE LAST MEGALOPOLIS, RAMPO NOIR); horror maestro Takashi Shimizu (JU-ON, THE GRUDGE); Blue Ribbon Best Director Miwa Nishikawa (WILD BERRIES, SWAY); Nobuhiro Yamashita (LINDA LINDA LINDA); actor/director Matsuo Suzuki (OTAKUS IN LOVE, WELCOME TO THE QUIET ROOM); J-horror standbys Atsushi Shimizu (EKO EKO AZARAK, KAZUO UMEZU’S HORROR THEATER: THE WISH), Keisuke Toyoshima (TALES OF TERROR FROM TOKYO), and Yudai Yamaguchi (BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL, CROMARTIE HIGH SCHOOL); and the new directing team of FINAL FANTASY character designer Yoshitaka Amano (VAMPIRE HUNTER D) and gaming guru Masaaki Kawahara. Their bold interpretations, imaginative presentation and fantastic visuals actually solve the century old riddle and present their audience with the beautiful world of immortal fantasy as so keenly depicted in Natsume Soseki’s original masterpiece.
“I had a dream like this…”
– author Natsume Soseki (1908)
Director: Atsushi Shimizu
Starring: Erika Toda
THE FIRST NIGHT
Director: Akio Jissoji
Writer: Kuze Teruhiko
Starring: Kyoko Koizumi, Matsuo Suzuki, and Minori Terada
THE SECOND NIGHT
Director: Kon Ichikawa
Writer: Kokuji Yanagi
Starring: Tsuyoshi Ujiki and Nakamura Umenosuke
THE THIRD NIGHT
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Staring: Keisuke Horibe and Yuu Kashii
THE FOURTH NIGHT
Director: Atsushi Shimizu
Writer: Shinichi Inotsume
Starring: Koji Yamamoto and Toru Shinagawa
THE FIFTH NIGHT
Director: Keisuke Toyoshima
Writer: Keisuke Toyoshima
Starring: Mikako Ichikawa and Koji Okura
THE SIXTH NIGHT
Director: Matsuo Suzuki
Writer: Matsuo Suzuki
Starring: Sadao Abe, Tozawa, and Yoshizumi Ishihara
THE SEVENTH NIGHT
Directors: Yoshitaka Amano and Masaaki Kawahara
Starring: Sascha and Fumika Hideshima
THE EIGHTH NIGHT
Director: Nobuhiro Yamashita
Writer: Kenichiro Nagao
Starring: Hiroshi Fujioka and Hiroshi Yamamoto
THE NINTH NIGHT
Director: Miwa Nishikawa
Writer: Miwa Nishikawa
Starring: Tamaki Ogawa and Pierre Taki
THE TENTH NIGHT
Director: Yuudai Yamaguchi
Writers: Yuudai Yamaguchi and Junya Kato
Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Manami Honjo, Koji Ishizaka, and Yasuda Dai Circus
TEN NIGHTS OF DREAMS premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival In October 2006, and Nikkatsu Corporation distributed the film to Japanese theaters in February 2007. The movie is now coming to America courtesy of Cinema Epoch, a Los Angeles-based international sales, production and distribution company founded by Gregory Hatanaka.
TEN NIGHTS OF DREAMS will have a one week theatrical run at the ImaginAsian Center in Los Angeles from August 22-28, with a premiere screening this Friday, August 22. The film will be introduced by Japanese film critic Nicholas Rucka, and there will be an after party following the evening show. The ImaginAsian Center is located at 251 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Upcoming theatrical dates include:
September 5-11, PORTLAND – Clinton St. Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., Portland, OR 97202
September 19-25, SEATTLE – Grand Illusion Cinema, 1403 N.E. 50th Street, Seattle, WA 98105
On October 14, Cinema Epoch will release TEN NIGHTS OF DREAMS on Region 1 DVD. The DVD will include the film in 1.66:1 widescreen, with Japanese audio and removable English subtitles. Special Features will include an essay by Nicholas Rucka. SRP $24.98.