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Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Journey to the Shore is heading to Blu-ray

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Eureka! Entertainment have announced that new film from Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Journey to the Shore, will be released theatrically on 20 May 2016 for a limited run, ahead its home video release.

Multi-award winner Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Tokyo Sonata, Pulse, Cure), takes us on a love story that challenges our usual conceptions of life, death and half-life.

Mizuki’s husband drowned at sea three years ago. When he suddenly comes back home, she is not that surprised. Instead, Mizuki is wondering what took him so long. She agrees to let him take her on a journey.

Eureka Entertainment is proud to continue its association with the work of Kiyoshi Kurosawa, winner of Best Director, Cannes 2015 Un Certain Regard. In Journey to the Shore, he re-teams with Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer, Zatoichi, Thor) who also starred in Bright Future, and the Japanese actress Eri Fukatsu.

The Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD is released on 23 May 2016, and is available to pre-order now from Amazon.

You can watch the trailer below.

Here is what Kurosawa had to say about the film:

In Japanese, there is a verb for the act of accompanying a dying person, or watching over them until their death. It is called ‘mitoru’. It remains to be seen if it is possible to translate all the subtleties of this word into a foreign language…

Rare are those who have gone through the experience of remaining next to a dying person, delicately taking their hand and feeling a vague mutual intention without ever looking away from their face. Fortunately, I have never been confronted with this myself. But according to those who have, those few days, those few hours spent face-to-face with this person constitute a precious and truly sacred moment of sharing. Inside this moment, the past they have shared, the parts of their respective pasts that the other has never known, but also the future that both will one day experience together – all these moments are evoked, evaluated, and understood. The verb mitoru includes this entire process.

In reality, this extremely intimate and emotional dialogue takes place at the dying person’s bedside. But in the world of fiction, why not stretch time and space out to however long the process requires, narrating it in the form of a ‘journey’? This is the audacious premise upon which the original novel Kishibe no tabi was built.

In light of the experience I have acquired as a director, the subject I am most attracted to right now is adapting a vision like this for the screen.

For the longest time, it has been my opinion that the body and the spirit exist on different planes. That is why I have always found it a little hasty to think that death takes both simultaneously. Despite this, whenever I thought of portraying ghosts in fictional terms, my inspiration limited itself to a story like: They become ghosts and do their utmost to exact uncompromising revenge. As you know, this type of ghost is a classic among classics and has long-existed in Japanese kwaidan (horror films), but also in Shakespeare.

In JOURNEY TO THE SHORE, a completely new form of death appears. Better yet, the figure described here is fundamentally different from the usual ghosts or dead people one usually finds. Carried away by a temporary death (a physical death), Yusuke remains in the world three more years in order to gently prepare himself for his true death (the death of the spirit). The fact that this temporarily dead man impassively continues to possess a body is only natural. First of all, the body is a moving system that has nothing in common with a substance like stone. Experiments have proven that the substances that make up the body, beginning with the brain, are entirely renewed after one year. With this in mind, seeing the body as a physical base for the spirit is already absurd. And yet, though I may not understand the miracle by which the spirit manages to exist beyond a fluctuating system, I can nevertheless maintain that it does not belong to the material plane. Thus, even though the original body has already disappeared (in the book, his body is supposed to have been eaten by crabs at the bottom of the ocean), it is absolutely plausible to imagine this system recreating itself by amassing other substances. Likewise, there is nothing surprising about imagining Yusuke’s vagabond spirit finding a new home. (Besides, he drinks, sleeps, and his beard grows.)

Finally, the other protagonist in the story is Mizuki, who clutches onto the temporarily deceased man who has comes back to her. She travels with him and gently accomplishes the task of accompanying his death. After being taken away by Yusuke, she meets many people, a number of whom are temporarily dead like him. Throughout their travels, Mizuki learns you can never turn back but she clings to the faint hope that, by continuing their journey, this temporary death will remain just that: temporary. And their daily life together will continue as unchanged as always. But is that really possible? Whatever the case, Yusuke’s three years of absence will eventually be filled with his presence and Mizuki will enjoy a sense of fulfilment she has never yet known. Their shared past, the past they never shared, and their future together will be examined, evaluated, and understood. It seems to me that no film has ever described both this kind of ‘accompaniment (mitoru)’ and the act of ‘being accompanied towards death’ in as rich and lively a way as through the story of this couple.

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