TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo will host the first commercial screening of Hong Kong director Yu Lik-wai’s latest film “Plastic City” in March.
The director explained during a luncheon at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan this week that he chose the gangster film’s two main stars, Japanese heartthrob Joe Odagiri (“Tokyo Tower: Me, Mom and Sometimes Dad”) and Anthony Wong, a versatile actor from Hong Kong who has appeared in over 100 films, expressly because of their unique flair.
“They present a very different image of the traditional Asian male,” said Lik-wai of the actors in his third feature. “I think they are both very modern. I needed modernity for this picture. For Joe, I find a very special spirituality within him, which corresponds to the character Kirin.”
Set in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the film tells the story of Kirin, a Japanese-Brazilian orphan, and his adoptive parent Yuda (Anthony), who runs a racket in knocked-off brand goods.
Brazil was the ideal setting for this Hong Kong-Japan-Brazil co-production, Lik-wai said, because of the country’s status – along with India, Russia, and China – as an emerging nation. “I really have this necessity to see the Asian experience in these types of emerging countries; I really want to see the interaction between two different peoples,” explained the director, whose first film “Love Will Tear Us Apart” includes a similar theme of immigrants facing challenges in a big-city environment.
Using a mix of spoken English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Portuguese, “Plastic City” was in competition for the Golden Lion Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival.
For Odagiri, the shooting of the film was an opportunity. “We participated in shooting in Brazil for three months last year, which was during the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants. It was a great honor to spend time in Brazil during such a special occasion,” the actor said.
In selecting an appropriate ending, Lik-wai said he was initially very puzzled. But after viewing the Amazon River’s backdrops and water surface, he felt he finally found an answer. “It was truly an inspiration provided by nature when I visited that place,” he said.
“Plastic City” opens on March 14 at Human Trust Cinema in Shibuya and Shinjuku Wald 9, said a press release from distributor Bitters End.