Courtesy of Jason Gray (twitter @jgtokyo), here’s a great interview with Sabu, director of new proletariat novel-based film Kanikosen. Translated by @ryuganji
NT: Shinjo, the leader of the workers on the cannery boat, is played by Matsuda Ryuhei, so did you see him as carrying on the legacy of his father Matsuda Yusaku?
S: That’s exactly right. When I met him, he was the spitting image of Matsuda Yusaku. I was moved (laughs). Matsuda Yusaku had an aura of madness to him, but in terms of portraying that in a role I’d say Matsuda Ryuhei has probably surpassed him already. He has his own unique presence, and at the same time he’s also a capable actor.
I’ve noticed a certain amount of reluctance in some Japanese movie-lovers to give due credit to Ryuhei-san. When I think about it, all of these miserly types have been male which, considering Matsuda’s undeniable physical beauty and charm, is therefore not particularly surprising. However, I am personally aware of my own trepidation towards giving plaudits to the very beautiful for much the same reason (though not out of underlying envy). Under an article on Nippon Cinema for a new release of Kamikaze Girls on DVD, I struck up a quick commentary on the seductiveness of Anna Tsuchiya’s unique heritage and appearance, compared with her not-quite-proportionate amount of real talent. Talent she has, but undoubtedly much is owed to the exploitation by filmmakers and music production companies of her genetic diversity.
I was equally scrutinizing of Ryu-san for a similar reason as I began watching his acting, and I have happily given up trying to look for deception or laziness on his part. This is a young man with a hell of a lot to live up to, has had the majority of screen time on almost every movie since the tender age of fifteen, and doesn’t seem to take vacations. I now only interpret naysayers as betraying their own envy, either for his status as an actor or his appeal to young women. If he were at all plain I doubt that anyone would be trying to undermine his considerable talent.
Kanikosen looks to see this young yet well established star at his best and most mature – and I can’t wait for a subtitled DVD release in the West.
(I was going to give props to the enigmatic and geeeowgeous Arai Hirofumi who co-stars in this movie, but I would definitely lose any unbiased credibility)