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Legendary Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has signed on to write the music for Palme d’Or-winning director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s forthcoming feature film Monster (Kaibutsu), Tokyo-based production company Gaga Corporation revealed Thursday.
Sakamoto will provide newly written compositions as well as some of his pre-existing music for the film, producers say. A musical polymath, Sakamoto made his film debut with the iconic score for Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), starring David Bowie. He later won an Oscar with his music for Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987) and a Golden Globe nomination for his compositions for Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant (2015). The partnership with Kore-eda marks his first work on a high-profile Japanese title in some time.
Monster is also Kore-eda’s first Japanese film since he won the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2018 with Shoplifters. It follows the director’s French film The Truth, which opened the Venice Film Festival in 2019, and his Korean title Broker, released earlier this year.
Story details for Monster are being kept under wraps, but Gaga revealed Thursday that Sakura Ando, the breakout star of Shoplifters, will lead the new film’s cast. Rounding out the cast are Nagayama Eita (Hokusai), Mitsuki Takahata (Japanese Girls Never Die), Akihiro Kakuta (Spring Has Come), Shido Nakamura (Twisted Justice), Yuko Tanaka (Midnight Diner), and child actors Soya Kurokawa and Hinata Hiiragi.
Currently in postproduction, Monster will release in Japan on June 2. The release date sets the film up for a potential world premiere in May at Cannes, where Kore-eda is a regular.
Monster will be the second movie directed by Kore-eda that he didn’t also write himself, following Maborosi, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival way back in 1995. The new film is scripted by Yuji Sakamoto, the writer of such Japanese TV series hits Mother, Woman and Matrimonial Chaos. Prolific writer-director Genki Kawamura, whose directorial effort A Hundred Flowers recently won best director at the San Sebastián festival, is lead producer of Monster.
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