Japan brings strong field to Venice

Miike's 'Assassins,' Tran's 'Norwegian Wood' in competition

TOKYO -- Takashi Miike’s “13 Assassins” and Tran Anh Hung’s "Norwegian Wood” will be representing Japan in competition at Venice.
Miike’s latest, billed as an "epic samurai bloodbath," will be joined by the director’s "Zebraman" (2004) and this year’s "Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City," out of competition.

Although Miike is a cult/festival favorite in Europe, his films rarely score big boxoffice at home. “Zebraman 2.” performed poorly despite so much promotion that the distributor claimed to be applying for a place in the Guinness Book of Records.  
“Norwegian Wood” – the adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel – will get its world premiere in Venice, as will every other film in this year’s competition. The producers recently got permission, after protracted negotiations, to use The Beatles' song of its title for the score. Jonny Greenwood from Brit rockers Radiohead will also work on the soundtrack. 

Both “Norwegian Wood” and “13 Assassins” have strong international connections, with the former being produced by the U.K.’s Jeremy Thomas, and the latter directed by Tran Anh Hung, a Vietnamese-born Frenchman.

Thomas is a long-time collaborator with Japanese cinema and will be working as an adviser to this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival.    

Takashi Shimizu’s (“Ju-on – The Grudge”) "Shock Labyrinth 3D" – Asia’s first 3D horror flick, will also be screened out of competition.