Fumihiko Sori’s ICHI Gets UK Theatrical Release
Reimagining of the Legendary Blind Swordsman ZATOICHI Opens in Britain on July 10
Source: The Associates press release, Shochiku Co., Ltd.
Official Movie Site: ICHI (Japan), ICHI THE MOVIE (UK)
Special Thanks to Farhana Shaikh
From Fumihiko Sori, the director of VEXILLE and PING PONG, comes the period martial arts action saga ICHI, a bold, gender-bending reimagining of the classic “Zatoichi” series of films and TV shows. Originally created by novelist Kan Shimozawa, the eponymous hero— a blind masseur and master swordsman— has traditionally been a male character (previously played by stars such as Shintaro Katsu, Takeshi Kitano and, in BLIND FURY, by Rutger Hauer). In a refreshing break from tradition that adds an intriguing twist to the story, Sori’s ICHI stars actress Haruka Ayase (HERO) in the title role playing a young and beautiful blind musician who also happens to be an adept swordswoman.
British distributor Manga Entertainment will open ICHI at selected UK cinemas on 10th July, 2009.
Travelling the country in search of the blind swordsman who raised her as a child and passed on his fighting skills to her before mysteriously leaving her life, Ichi is constantly struggling to deal with those eager to take advantage of her disability. During her quest she encounters and is threatened by a brutal gang of bandits. Another passing wanderer, Toma (Takao Osawa), steps in to rescue Ichi but finds he is the one being saved when she reveals a samurai sword hidden inside her walking stick and effortlessly despatches their attackers. The slaying of the bandits brings the wrath of their leader, Banki (Shido Nakamura), down upon Ichi and Toma and they reluctantly become embroiled in a battle for control of a village between Banki’s gang and the local yakuza. However, Ichi’s initial feelings about her involvement changes when she discovers Banki may know the whereabouts of the man she is seeking.
Co-starring Shido Nakamura (LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, DEATH NOTE, RED CLIFF), Yosuke Kubozuka (PING PONG) and Takao Osawa (SKY HIGH), and with fight choreography by Hiroshi Kuze (responsible for the amazing sword fights in many of Akira Kurosawa’s epics, including RAN) and a superb musical score by award winning composer Lisa Gerrard (GLADIATOR), ICHI is a sublime and welcome addition to the “Zatoichi” movie canon.
Label: Manga Entertainment
Release date: 10th July 2009
Certificate: 15 tbc
Running time: 120 mins
Director: Fumihiko Sori
Stars: Haruka Ayase, Takao Osawa, Shido Nakamura, Yosuke Kubozuka, Akira Emoto, Riki Takeuchi
For more information on ICHI please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan:
- Japanese Movies at American Film Market 2008
- ICHI: Zatoichi Returns as the Blind Swordswoman
- Japan Film Festival – Los Angeles: April 10-26