To the Ends of the Earth
Japanese auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa shows no signs of slowing, turning to Uzbekistan for his latest feature, To the Ends of the Earth. Kurosawa, who has been steadily making films since the 1970s, broke into international acclaim with 1997’s thriller Cure, and spent the 2000s being praised as one of Japan’s most heralded contemporary genre filmmakers thanks to items like Pulse (2001), Bright Future (2002) and Doppelganger (2003). After a brief hiatus following his 2008 switch to melodrama with Tokyo Sonata, Kurosawa has directed two mini-series, seven features and one short since 2012. Like his 2016 French horror drama Daguerrotype, Kurosawa continues to branch out into co-production territory with his latest, produced through Uzbekkino, King Records, Loaded Films, and Tokyo Theatres K.K. Starring Atsuko Maeda (who appeared in his 2017 sci-fi drama Before We Vanish), the scant plot details promise to be in line with the director’s usual existential posturing informed by unexpected genre elements. Despite his reputation and prolific filmography, Kurosawa has only competed in Cannes once, with 2002’s Bright Future. Cannes tends to shutter him into Un Certain Regard (Pulse, 2001; Tokyo Sonata, 2008; Journey to the Shore, 2015; Before We Vanish, 2017), where he won the UCR Jury Prize in 2008 and a Directing Prize in 2015. 1999’s Charisma was programmed in Directors’ Fortnight.
Gist: Kurosawa’s screenplay details how Yoko (Maeda), a travel variety show host, finds herself tested when she takes her crew to film a segment in Uzbekistan.
Release Date/Prediction: Kurosawa filmed in Uzbekistan in late spring/early summer of 2018. Recently, Kurosawa’s Daguerrotype competed in Toronto’s Platform, while 2016’s Creepy (review) played in an out-of-comp slot in Berlin, with 2017’s Foreboding going to Berlin’s Panorama sidebar. The post-production period suggests Kurosawa might head to Berlin, potentially in a comp slot for the first time. Otherwise, expect to see Kurosawa to pop up somewhere in Cannes, though trends suggest in UCR or Directors’ Fortnight. Here is some recent footage.