Drafthouse Films Picks Up Surreal, S&M-Themed Toronto Hit 'R100'
The fringe-loving distribution arm of the Austin-based distributor nabs Japanese director Hitoshi Matsumoto's “beautifully and weirdly imagined” comedy.
After strong debuts at the Toronto Film Festival and the genre-heavy Fantastic Fest, Drafthouse Films has announced that it will release Japanese director Hitoshi Matsumoto's R100. The title is a riff on the Japanese movie rating system, whose "R18" is the equivalent of America's NC-17.
"There's probably no bigger fan of Hitoshi Matsumoto's comedy in North America than me," Drafthouse Films Founder Tim League says in the official press release. "Without Matsumoto, there's no Jackass; there's no extreme reality TV. With the release of his brilliant new film R100, I hope to expose this legendary comic genius to a new, wide audience."
The film stars Ichi the Killer actor Takafumi Katayama as a lonely man who hires an S&M agency that specializes in "random acts of extreme public degradation." Although their practices help him in the beginning, one breach of contract trips up his newfound happiness and sends him spiraling out of control. The movie crosses over into meta-narrative territory that makes the entire affair even more outrageous.
Matsumoto is known for his wild imagery and niche sense of humor. His 2007 film Big Man Japan, a giant monster mockumentary, earned rave reviews. Columbia Pictures picked up the remake rights in 2011.
THR caught R100 as part of TIFF's Midnight Madness programming, calling it "a film whose very surreal, disturbing first hour dissolves in disappointing B-movie nonsense at the end," and that it was "hard to remember a film about S&M as funny as this one, or one as beautifully and weirdly imagined."
The deal was negotiated by League and James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Miyuki Takamatsu of Free Stone Productions on behalf of the producers.