'Yasukuni' sells French rights at Cannes

Docu by Chinese director touches Japanese nerve

NEW YORK -- Jupiter Communications on Wednesday at the Festival de Cannes bought French territory distribution rights to "Yasukuni," the documentary by Chinese director Li Ying about the Tokyo shrine that honors, among others, Japanese war criminals.

"Yasukuni" has made news since its completion last year by touching a nerve in Japan about the atrocities some of its soldiers committed during Emperor Hirohito's 1930s invasion of China.

It is the only Japanese film since WWII whose original release, planned for April 12, was delayed due to political pressure, a statement from Hong Kong based sales agent the Film Library said.

Li, who was in Cannes to help promote the film, was told by Japanese police to stay away from Japan during the film’s new release on May 3 by Argo Films, the Film Library said. In October, Li told The Hollywood Reporter he had received death threats over the film.

Read THR's review of "Yasukuni."