Katsu Futaro Captivates Crowd at Toho Cinemas Nijo
Crowds gathered just after noon on Friday October 18 at Toho Cinemas in Nijo to take in Katsu Futaro, a powerful examining of modern life based on a graphic novel of the same name. This inventive film by director Keisuke Shibata centers on the titular character Katsu Futaro, wonderfully portrayed by Hayato Ichihara. As a baby Futaro was abandoned at a Zen temple by his mother and he’s grown up with a strict spiritual practice his whole life. This intense discipline has led to a radical freedom that spiritual attunement brings. Because of this Futaro doesn’ follow temple rules and the wise head monk (Akaji Maro) tells him to take some time in the real world.
In the city he encounters Kenji (Tom Fujita), a small time hustler. The two become a duo with Futaro offering life advice and Kenji collecting money (unbeknownst to Futaro). He helps salaryman Takahira, a woman named Shiori (Ayano Kudo) and Kenji. The film tells their stories in turn but uses a fascinating technique of winding back when the story is done to show the other two stories are going on simultaneously. In addition to the compelling form, the flick has some searing insights into Japanese society and issues as well as the personal lives and choice of the characters. At its heart the work is questioning what values are proper for people and how should we make our life choices.
Director Shibata and actor Ichihara appeared before the thrilled audience and gave their thoughts on the remarkable film. Shibata noted, “the original story comes from a comic but it was set in a different era so we had to update things a bit. The work deals with social issues and we had to make those relevant to today’s society.” Ichihara explained why he was attracted to this role. “I was really happy to play this character. This story makes us think life. It asks the question ‘what should I do with my life’ and ‘why am I here.’… and what does it mean to live. These are great questions to examine.”
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