R100: New Sex Comedy from Creator of BIG MAN JAPAN
Welcome to the World that No One Dares to Explore… Until Now!
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures Japan, Free Stone Productions, Silversalt PR
Official Site: r-100.com (Japan)
SPOILER WARNING: This article contains plot details and images from a new movie.
Japan’s most absurdist auteur and one of the country’s leading comedians, Hitoshi Matsumoto, has captivated audiences all over the world with the unique storytelling and striking visual style of his films BIG MAN JAPAN (2007), SYMBOL (2009), and SCABBARD SAMURAI (2011). Now Matsumoto presents a whole new vision with his fourth directorial effort, R100 (2013), an intense sex comedy about a man who joins a mysterious club which opens the door to another world he has never before experienced.
Whatever the subject, Matsumoto knows absolutely no boundaries, defying any filmmaking conventions. Each of his films is a planet of its own — or sometimes even several parallel planets — which would leave Michel Gondry gasping for air if he were to land on one. With a Hollywood remake of his first film, BIG MAN JAPAN, and a retrospective of his works at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, Matsumoto has established himself as a major talent to watch and R100 secures his position as an auteur in world cinema.
The title of R100 is a word play on the Japanese ratings system, suggesting that the viewer should be at least 100 years old to see the film. Mr. Matsumoto thought of the title while doing publicity for his previous film SCABBARD SAMURAI. With R100, he challenges the concept of rating, or any kind of judgment, of films — which he explores in a tongue-in-cheek subplot about the filmmaking process. The universe that Mr. Matsumoto created for R100 is decidedly kinky. Shooting for “go-for-broke and outright absurd silliness” in his own words, Matsumoto dives headlong into the world of sexual fantasies, bypassing the usual fetish clichés. In a hilarious performance as a deadpan, no-nonsense police officer, Matsumoto gets to ask the pivotal question: “What happens if you get what you asked for?
The all-star cast includes Nao Omori of VIBRATOR (2003) and ICHI THE KILLER (2001), renowned stage actress Mao Daichi, Shinobu Terajima of CATERPILLAR (2010), Hairi Katagiri of KAMOME DINER (2006), Japanese supermodel Ai Tominaga, Eriko Sato of FUNUKE SHOW SOME LOVE YOU LOSERS! (2007), and Hitoshi Matsumoto himself.
R100 will be released in Japan on Saturday, October 5th through the domestic distribution arm of Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.
A very ordinary man (Nao Omori), who takes care of his son while his wife lies in a coma, enters a very ordinary building. Following a seductive ride on a merry-go-round, he signs up with a mysterious and exclusive club. Membership is for one year only and there is one rule; no cancellation under any circumstances. The man enters into a whole new exciting world he never before experienced. Is it an illusion or is it real?
Happily he endures dominatrix intrusions in his daily life, until they get a little too close to his unsuspecting family. With a courage not displayed in his professional life as a bed salesman, he tries to cancel his membership, evoking the wrath of the American CEO, who descends upon Tokyo to teach him a lesson…
An entertainer, film director, an essayist, Hitoshi Matsumoto is best known as the boke (funny man) half of the popular comedy duo Downtown opposite straight man Masatoshi Hamada. Having changed the face of TV comedy, Matsumoto made a major splash in the film world with his directorial debut BIG MAN JAPAN (大日本人, Dai-Nipponjin, 2007), which premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight in the Cannes International Film Festival and screened at Toronto, Busan, and Rotterdam. BIG MAN JAPAN is the portrait of a 40-year old slacker who turns into a building-sized, but less-than-efficient creature to protect Japan from monster attacks. Subsequently Columbia Pictures picked up the remake and sequel rights to be produced by Neal Moritz (FAST AND FURIOUS 6 and 7, JACK THE GIANT SLAYER).
Matsumoto’s second film SYMBOL (しんぼる, Shinboru, 2009) is a Beckett-like study of a man (Matsumoto) locked into a room that presents him with random objects, which he tries to manipulate to escape, only to end up in further rooms. Showcasing Matsumoto’s unlimited talent for visual gags and mime, SYMBOL premiered in Toronto and screened at Rotterdam, Berlin, and Busan.
SCABBARD SAMURAI (さや侍, Saya Zamurai, 2011), in which he explores the wandering samurai genre, premiered at Locarno International Film Festival and screened at Busan and Mar del Plata. The Cinémathèque Française held a retrospective of his works in 2012 and honored his achievements in cinema.
Nao Omori as Takafumi Katayama
Born 1972 in Tokyo, Omori made a breakthrough portraying the title role with ICHI THE KILLER (殺し屋 1, Koroshiya 1, 2001). In 2003, he won several awards for VIBRATOR (ヴァイブレータ) and AKAME 48 WATERFALLS (赤目四十八瀧心中未遂, Akame Shijuya Taki Shinju Misui) and was nominated for the Best Actor at the Japan Academy Prize with HAGETAKA: THE MOVIE (ハゲタカ, Hagetaka, 2010). His extensive credits include DEMONLOVER (2002), DOLLS (ドールズ, 2002), THE GO MASTER (呉清源 極みの棋譜, Wu Qingyuan, 2006), TOKYO! (2008), SWEET LITTLE LIES (スイートリトルライズ, Suitoritoruraizu, 2010), TOKYO PLAYBOY CLUB (東京プレイボーイクラブ, Tokyo Pureiboi Kurabu, 2011), and HELTER SKELTER (ヘルタースケルター, Heruta Sukeruta, 2012).
Mao Daichi as The Voice Queen
Born 1956, Daichi is a major stage actress in Japan and a former leading star of the Takarazuka Revue, a prestigious all female musical theater troupe. After leaving the Takarazuka Revue, she has starred on many stage productions including “Gone with the Wind”, “Carmen”, “Marie Antoinette”, “My Fair Lady” and more. Her film credits include SINKING OF JAPAN (日本沈没, Nihon Chinbotsu, 2006) and THE BLACK SWINDLER (映画 クロサギ, Eiga: Kurosagi, 2008).
Shinobu Terajima as The Whip Queen
Born 1972 in Kyoto, Terajima is a veteran actress who won the Best Actress the Japan Academy Prize in 2003 for VIBRATOR and AKAME 48 WATERFALLS. She won the Best Actress at Berlin International Film Festival for her fearless performance in CATERPILLAR (キャタピラー, Imomushi, 2010). Her credits include TOKYO TOWER (東京タワ, 2005), IT’S ONLY TALK (やわらかい生活, Yawarakai Seikatsu, 2005), and THE MILLENNIAL RAPTURE (千年の愉楽, Sennen no Yuraku, 2012).
Hairi Katagiri as The Gobble Queen
Katagiri is a veteran stage actress and starred in many films and TV series. Her credits include OTAKUS IN LOVE (恋の門, Koi no Mon, 2004), KAMOME DINER (かもめ食堂, Kamome Shokudo, 2006), THE INSECTS UNLISTED IN THE ENCYCLOPEDIA (図鑑に載ってない虫, Zukan ni Nottenai Mushi, 2007), NO MORE CRY (なくもんか, Naku Monka, 2009), and HONEYMOON IN HELL (大木家のたのしい旅行 新婚地獄篇, Ohkike no Tanoshii Ryoko, 2011).
Ai Tominaga as Queen #1 (The Violence Queen)
Tominaga started modeling at the age of 15 and became a runaway model for New York Fashion Week at the age of 17. Sine then, she modeled in Paris, Milan, London as one of the top Asian models. She now appears on TV and various TV shows as well as films. She made her screen debut with DEVILMAN (デビルマン, Debiruman, 2004).
Eriko Sato as Queen #2 (The Destructive Queen)
Sato started her career as a model and made her way onto the big screen. Her credits include CUTIE HONEY (キューティーハニー, Kyutii Hanii, 2004), A SLIT MOUTHED WOMAN (口裂け女, Kuchisake-onna, 2007), AKIFUKAKI (秋深き, 2008), and GOEMON (ゴエモン, 2009). Her performance in FUNUKE SHOW SOME LOVE YOU LOSERS! (腑抜けども、悲しみの愛を見せろ, Funuke Domo, Kanashimi no Ai wo Misero, 2007) earned her several awards including the Best Actress at Yokohama Film Festival.
Naomi Watanabe as The Saliva Queen
Watanabe began her career as a comedian and her performance imitating Beyonce became a breakthrough. She now appears in various TV shows and drama. She made her screen debut with TUG OF WAR! (綱引いちゃった, Tsuna Hiichatta!, 2012) and R100 is her second film.
Gin Maeda as Father in Law
A veteran seasoned actor, Maeda played a role of the father in all 48 installments of Tora-san, Japan’s longest running film series. His credits include BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY: HIROSHIMA DEATHWATCH (仁義なき戦い 広島死闘篇, Jinginakitatakai Hiroshimashitoo-hen, 1973), MOUNT HAKKODA (八甲田山, Hakkodasan, 1977), MOONLIGHT MASK (月光ノ仮面, Gekko no Kamen, 2011) and THE FLOATING CASTLE (のぼうの城, Nobo no Shiro, 2012).
YOU as Setsuko
YOU started her career as a lead singer of a rock band Fairchild. While building her career as a musician, she also appeared on TV shows and made her screen debut with NOBODY KNOWS (誰も知らない, Dare mo Shiranai, 2004). Her credits include CHRISTMAS ON JULY 24TH AVENUE (7月24日通りのクリスマス, 7 Gatsu 24 ka Dori no Kurisumasu, 2006), STILL WALKING ( 歩いても 歩いても, Aruitemo Aruitemo,2008), and BOYS ON THE RUN (ボーイズ・オン・ザ・ラン, Boizu on za Ran, 2010).
Haruki Nishimoto as Arashi
Born 2005, Nishimoto has been building his career in various TV drama and commercials. R100 marks his screen debut.
Suzuki Matsuo as Club Owner
Born 1962, Matsuo launched his own theatrical troupe Otona Keikaku in 1988. Since then, he has starred and directed theater performances and films. His credits as an actor include ICHI THE KILLER (2001), CHICKEN HEART (チキン・ハート, Chikin Haato, 2002), IN THE POOL (イン・ザ・プール, In za Puru, 2005), THE INSECTS UNLISTED IN THE ENCYCLOPEDIA (2007), and SHOCK LABYRINTH 3D (戦慄迷宮３Ｄ, Senritsu Meikyuu 3D, 2009). He made his directorial debut with OTAKUS IN LOVE (2004) and also directed WELCOME TO THE QUIET ROOM (クワイエットルームにようこそ, Kuwaiettoruumu ni Yookoso, 2007). His screenplay for TOKYO TOWER: MOM AND ME, AND SOMETIMES DAD (東京タワー オカンとボクと、時々、オトン, Tokyo Tawa: Okan to Boku to, Tokidoki, Oton, 2007) earned him the Best Screenplay at the Japan Academy Prize.
Atsuro Watabe as Secret Agent Kishitani
Born 1968, Watabe made his debut with THE RIVER WITH NO BRIDGE (橋のない川, Hashi no nai Kawa, 1992). His performance in A QUIET LIFE (静かな生活, Shizukana seikatsu, 1995) earned him the Best Actor and the Best Newcomer at the Japan Academy Prize. His screen credits include SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY (スワロウテイル, Suwarooteiru, 1996), KEIZOKU: THE MOVIE (ケイゾク, Keizoku/Eiga, 2000), ZEBRAMAN (ゼブラーマン, Zeburaaman, 2004), THREE… EXTREMES (쓰리, 몬스터, Saam gaang yi, 2004), LOVE EXPOSURE (愛のむきだし, Ai no Mukidashi, 2008), and THE FLOWERS OF WAR (金陵十三钗, Jinling Shisan Chai, 2011). In 2006, he produced the stage performance “La pluie d’ete a Hiroshima” and performed in France. He made his directorial debut with ECHO OF SILENCE (コトバのない冬, Kotoba no Nai Fuyu, 2008).
Lindsay Hayward as CEO
Known to fans as Isis the Amazon, Hayward is an American professional wrestler who was signed with the WWE and the TNA. At 6 ft 9 and 240 lbs, she is one of the tallest women in the US. R100 is her first film appearance.
It all began in March 2012 in France when Matsumoto was discussing his latest film SCABBARD SAMURAI at the Deauville Asian Film Festival and the Cinémathèque Française, which presented a retrospective of his three films. When asked about his next project, Matsumoto announced, “I’m going from one far-out absurd nonsensical movie on the next one. Since SCABBARD SAMURAI is more like a movie, the next one will go to the extreme opposite. It will be rated 80 (meaning no one under 80 will be permitted to see the film).”
Upon his return, a concrete discussion began. Before the actual story materialized, Matsumoto knew the title of his next film: R100, named after the Japanese film ratings system. Then he wanted to incorporate the concept of S&M, a subject on which he explored in his comedy skits and radio shows and developed his own philosophy. So he came up with a story about an ordinary salary-man who joins a mysterious club only to find himself in big trouble.
To make the “far-out absurd nonsensical movie” became Matsumoto’s mission. During the script stage, he asked himself, “Is this far-out absurd enough?” and developed a story based on that idea. He insists R100 is not a comedy. His intention was to breakdown the notion of comedy and go beyond. In order to do this, Matsumoto felt that the film had to be carefully constructed. While his three previous films heavily employed improvisation on the set and drew inspirations from a mockumentary style, with R100, Matsumoto stayed close to the scripted dialogue and storyline. In that sense, R100 is his first film to be made like a regular feature film. The production period was the shortest compared to the last three films and Matsumoto didn’t stray from his original objective.
Unlike his previous films, it was important for Matsumoto that professional actors play roles in the film. To go “far-out absurd,” he felt he needed performances to match. Nao Omori was his first choice to portray Katayama. The versatile actor has proved that he could handle both serious and comedy roles and Matsumoto thought he would be perfect for the lead.
The ability to perform and deliver became the deciding factor in casting dominatrices. Mao Daichi, who had already worked with Matsumoto on TV quiz shows, and Shinobu Terajima, an internationally renowned star who had not previously worked with Matsumoto, agreed to participate since they adored his films and his TV persona. Former models Ai Tominaga and Eriko Sato, character actress Hairi Katagiri, comedian Naomi Watanabe, veteran actor Gin Maeda, singer turned actress YOU, and established actors and directors Suzuki Matsuo and Atsuro Watabe joined the cast out of respect for the director. Matsumoto himself appears as the deadpan police inspector to whom Takafumi tries to report the club.
The shooting started on January 10th 2013. The film was mostly shot on location in Tokyo and at Toho Studio. To create a unique world of its own, production design and art department created and built props and sets that are in retro style, yet retain a degree of timelessness since Matsumoto was specific in creating a world without cell-phones. A Merry-Go-Round, used in the scene, which takes place at the mysterious club Bondage, is a full-scale carousel imported for the film.
The actors were ready on the set with full comprehension of Matsumoto’s intention. In a scene where the destruction queen (played by Eriko Sato) crushes sushi, Matsumoto had her watch his old comedy skit where Matsumoto himself examined which fish gets squashed the best and carefully picked the selection. A dance sequence by the saliva queen (played by Naomi Watanabe) was also carefully choreographed.
The production wrapped on April 8th after a three month-shoot. Editing took another three months and finally R100 was completed. Matsumoto predicts that the film will stir up some controversies and critics will loath or jump to analyze this “far-out absurd nonsensical” film, and insists that everything is open for interpretations including who the 100 year old director is and what function he serves in the film. “I simply want the audience to watch and experience the film,” Matsumoto says.
Toronto International Film Festival
Busan International Film Festival
World Premiere: September 12, 2013 (Toronto International Film Festival)
US Premiere: September 2013 (Fantastic Fest 2013)
Japanese Theatrical Release: October 5, 2013
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Takafumi Katayama: Nao Omori
The Voice Queen: Mao Daichi
The Whip Queen: Shinobu Terajima
The Destructive Queen: Eriko Sato
The Violence Queen: Ai Tominaga
The Saliva Queen: Naomi Watanabe
The Gobble Queen: Hairi Katagiri
Setsuko Katayama: YOU
Arashi Katayama: Haruki Nishimura
Father in Law: Gin Maeda
Club Owner: Suzuki Matsuo
Secret Agent Kishitani: Atsuro Watabe
Police Inspector: Hitoshi Matsumoto
CEO: Lindsay Hayward
Writer / Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Producer: Akihiko Okamoto
General Producer Hisaya Shiraiwa
Executive Producer: Hiroshi Osaki
Associate Producers: Natsue Takemoto, Keisuke Konishi
Cinematographer: Kazushige Tanaka
Editor: Yoshitaka Honda
Music: Hidekazu Sakamoto
Sound: Tatsuhiro Okamoto
Production Design: Etsuko Aikou
Art Director: Koji Shinoda
Costume: Satoe Araki
VFX Supervisor: Kentaro Nishio
“Bondage” Stylist / Design: Daisuke Iga
Production Companies: Yoshimoto Kogyo Co., Ltd. in Association with Yoshimoto Creative Agency and Phantom Films
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Japan
International Sales: Free Stone Productions Co., Ltd.
© 2013 “R100” Production Committee/ © Yoshimoto Kogyo Co., Ltd.