SILK (2007)
March 10
The R2 DVD of "SILK" will be released on May 23, 2008.  Reportedly this DVD version has special
features: making of Silk footage (28 min.) Ryuichi Sakamoto in Silk (11min.), and trailer collection.

March 3
The R1 DVD (US) of "Silk" is now available.

"Silk" has gained
five nominations for the 28th Annual Genie Awards.
Carlo Poggioli and Kazuko Kurosawa won the Best Achievement in Costume Design.

Best Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design
Francois Seguin

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Alain Dostie

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Carlo Poggioli
Kazuko Kurosawa

Best Achievement in Music - Original Score
Ryuichi Sakamoto

Best Achievement in Overall Sound
Claude La Haye
Daniel Bisson
Hans Peter Strobl
Bernard Gariテゥpy Strobl

January 29
In the January 26 issue of the Mainichi Weekly, there's an exclusive English language interview with Koji
Yakusho about SILK under the title of "Global Stage".

November 23, 2007
The Japanese official website of "SILK" has been updated, with a new beautiful front page picture.  If you
click "ENTER" and then click "About the film, you can see some important film scene photos.

Yesterday (Nov.22)  there was a specila showing of this film at a school festival of a private university in
Shinjuku, Tokyo, and Sei Ashina attended a talk show after the showing, wearing a beautiful kimono. Nov.
22 was her 24-year-old birthday.
Here are some photos of her on this occasion as well as the main cast
members. Each photo can be enlarged.

November 15
The original sound track CD of "SILK" composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto will be released on December 12.

November 15
Here is the interview with Francois Girard about "Silk" (Nov. 1, Variety)
It is translated into Japanese!

November 5
Here is Pymmik's rough translation of the speeches of the audience greeting session by the main cast
members and director Girard on October 28.

ctober 31
Here are another photos taken at the greeting session on Oct. 28. Each photo can be enlarged.  Koji's photo
here.  And if you want to see the photos of the main cast in front of the Orchard Hall, click here. Try to
click the small arrow below each picture to see the next one.

I'll try to translate what the main cast members and director Girard mentioned on this occasion. This photo
of a scene with Michael Pitt and Sei Ashina seems to be new.

October 29
Here's another photo of the main cast. From left: Kanata Hongo, Sei Ashina, Maichael Pitt, Koji Yakusho,
Miki Nakatani, Shun Kunimura, and director Feoncois Girard.

October 28
The audience greeting session by the SILK main cast members was held this afternoon at the Orchard Hall
in Shibuya, Tokyo. Here is the photo site. You will see the photos of Director Francois Girard, Michael Pitt,
Koji Yakusho, Miki Nakatani, Shun Kunimura, Sei Ashina and Kanata Hongo.

October 27
The Japanese official website of "SILK" reports that Michael Pitt arrived safely in Tokyo yesterday (Oct.
26).  He is due to greet the audience at the Orchard Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo before the showing of "SILK"
on October 28 (Sunday), together with the Japanese cast.

October 11
The Japanese official website of "SILK" reports that director Francois Girard and Michael Pitt
are due to attend the Japan premire of "SILK" to greet audience from the stage, with the Japanese cast
members on October 28, the last day of the Tokyo International Film Festival.

October 1
The Japanese official site for SILK is now available. We can now see images of Miki Nakatani (Madam
Blanche), Shun Kunimira (Umon) and Kanata Hongo (village boy).
This site has now the video clip of the greeting session held at the Tokyo International Film Festival on
October 28.

(September 29)
"SILK" will be shown from 22:30 on October 21 at the second Rome Film Festival.

(September 1)
It was announced today that "SILK" was selected as the closing film at the 20th Tokyo International Film
Festival to be held from October 20 to 28.

(August 29)
Here is the page for  "SILK" at the Toronto International Film Festival.

(August 26)
"SILK" is due to be shown at 9:00 p.m. on September 11 (Tues) during the Toronto  International Film
Festival. It will also be shown at 9:00 a.m. on September 13.

(August 25)
The Twitchfilm net put some info about "SILK" in connection with the Toronto International Film Festival.
The writer gave some nice comment on  Koji Yakusho:
"Yakusho's performing in English in the trailer - and sounding good doing it - and if he keeps up the high
profile appearances - this following close behind Babel - the Japanese actor will eventually, inevitably, end
up taking over the world."

I like this comment very much!

There's also a clip about Michael Pitt and Miki Nakatani as Madama Blanche.  Her English sounds superb!

(August 22)
We can now see the trailer for "Silk" on the official website.

(August 13)
Plot summary by the
Based on the beloved, best-selling novel by Alessandro Baricco, "Silk" is the story of Herve Joncour (Pitt), a 19th Century French
silkworm merchant who travels to Japan and begins a clandestine and forbidden romance with a mysterious and sensual woman.

Silkworm eggs. In one's palm one could hold thousands of them. When the pテゥbrine epidemic窶杯he spotted silkworm disease that
ravaged eggs from European hatcheries in the 1860s窶敗pread overseas, however, eggs from as far away as Africa and India became
infected and the entire European silk trade seemed doomed.

To continue his lucrative trade Baldabiou (Molina), a roguish French trader, decides to send a young military officer Herve Joncour (Pitt)
on a perilous mission to Japan. Thus, separating him for months on end from Helene (Knightley), his lovely and devoted schoolteacher
wife. The island that produced the finest silk in the world for thousands of years, prior to the opening of the Suez Canal, Japan was
considered a dominion forbidden to foreigners, quite literally the opposite end of the world.

It is here that Herve encounters the powerful and feared local baron, Hara Jubei (Yakusho), with whom he will trade for the precious
silkworm eggs. And it is here, in a world unlike anything that Herve has experienced before, that he becomes entranced by the baron's
concubine, a deeply mysterious girl of intoxicating beauty. Without speaking one another's language, together they share a doomed,
obsessive love...

A film of painterly beauty and ravishing romance, "Silk" is a historically rapturous epic romance of East meets West."

(August 1)
I found a new photo of Sei Ashina among the production stills for "SILK" on the Coming Soon Net.

(July 30)
It was announced today in Tokyo that "SILK" would be shown during the 20th Tokyo International Film
Festival to be held from October 20th  to 28th.

(July 26)
The IMDb "SILK" site has new still photographs of "SILK".

(July 18)
"SILK" will be shown during the Toronto International Film Festival (September 6- 15) as a special
presentation. It says:

"SILK Francois Girard
With his first film since 1998's THE RED VIOLIN, filmmaker Franテァois Girard (THIRTY TWO SHORT
FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD) tells the story of Herve Joncour (Michael Pitt), a 19th century French
silkworm merchant who, out of necessity, travels to mysterious and exotic Japan. There he experiences
forbidden love for a nobleman's concubine - a love that threatens to destroy his life and the domestic bliss
he leaves behind with his young bride in France. Adapted from the novel by Alessandro Baricco, the film
also stars Keira Knightley, Miki Nakatani, Alfred Molina, Mark Rendall and Koji Yakusho."

(June 23)
On the internet, I found the English version of "Sankyo Warehouse", Sakata city, Yamagata prefecture.
Sankyo Warehouse was used as a location for "SILK".
You can read the detailed English synopsis of "SILK" on that site.

(June 3)
You can see the teaser poster as well as the trailer for "SILK" on the Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm:Soie site.

(May 26)
Here's the latest news about Sei Ashina.
"Promising young actress Sei Ashina has been given her first starring role. The movie is "Tatoe Sekai ga
Owattemo," the first feature-length work by director Teruo Noguchi. Ashina plays a desperate young
woman who gets sentenced for life.

Ashina gained international visibility when she was cast in Francois Girard's "Silk," which is being released
later this year.

"Tatoe Sekai ga Owattemo" opens in theaters this August.

(May 14)
Here's the French-Canadian poster for "SILK" (SOIE).

(April 23)
While searching "Silk" on the internet, I hit on a blog by a Japanese man who was invited to a special
premiere of the movie, "Silk" in Tokyo around the end of March. This man reported that since the movie
had just been completed, he was able to have a chance to see "Silk", together with its main Japanese cast , i.
e. Koji Yakusho, Miki Nakatani, Jun Kunimura and Sei Ashina.

He commented that he enjoyed the movie very much; he was impressed with the story, the pictures and the
music by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

This lucky man also joined the gorgeous party after the premiere. He noted that during the party he was
enthralled by the beautiful young actress, Sei Ashina, who played the role of a mysterious and sexy mistress
of the village chief (Koji Yakusho).  During the nearly two hours of the movie, this girl did not speak at all,
so the man was greatly struck when he heard Sei Ashina's voice for the first time during the party.

According to him, "Silk" will be released in Japan in January, 2008.

We can now see
the teaser trailer of "SILK" on the Cinema Montreal site.

I found on the internet that a noted Japanese 'shamisen' musician and composer, call
Honjo Hidetaro worked for "SILK" as a music adviser. Here's his website with the English version.

According to the IMDb Silk site, the noted Japanese composer, Ryuichi Sakamoto will be in charge of

Incidentally, Ryuichi Sakamoto's music, "Bibo no Aozora" was used for  the last scene of "Babel", in which
Koji Yakusho appears as Yasujiro, the father of a teen-age deaf-mute daughter (Rinko Kikuch).

(January 20, 2007)
The teaser trailer for  "SILK" is now available! It is beautiful!

(November 2)
On his official website, Koji Yakusho has written that when he visited the Toronto International Film
Festival for the showing of another of his Hollywood films, "Babel",
he saw director Fracois Girad. Koji also reports that director Girad has been directing an opera, and that on
finishing it, he will start finishing off the last work on "Silk".

(April 1
Another "SILK" filming place in Jap

So far I have reported various "SILK" filming places in Japan, such as Matsumoto city in Nagano
prefecture, Sakata city in Yamagata prefecture and Geibikei Valley in Ichinoseki city in Iwate prefecture.  In
addition to these places, I have to report that filming was done in Ofunato city in Iwate prefecture from
March 16th to 19th . The actual filming place was at sea off Ayasato seashore near Sanriku town. Scenes
filmed there were of the sailing boat heading for Japan with Herve Joncour on board. The boat used for
these scenes was the sailing boat named Kesen-maru, which was a replica of a type of boat which was
actually used during Edo era. No actors were on board, but the four Japanese local people ( the ones who
actually did the construction work of this boat for the special Sanriku Ocean Exhibition in 1991) appeared
as the crew of the boat.  (The Kesen-maru is owned by the Ofunato city commerce and industry.)

Source: The Tohkai  Shimpo newspaper, March 21, 2006

(April 13)
The webmaster of Michael Pitt Fan Site kindly informed me of the French interview with Francois Girad
about "Silk" and here is the English translation site which I have made through the aid of the Babel Fish
translation service. (I hope that readers understand the gist.)
The Toronto Star has recently translated this interview with Francois Girad.

(April 12)
If you click here, you will be able to see some photos of Kiera Knightley as Helene in "SILK", together with
all the photos taken in Matsumoto city and Sakata city.

(April 1)
If you click this URL, you will be able to see photos and video footage made during filming of SILK at
Sakata city.  Filming of SILK actually finished on March 23 after the shooting of five scenes, in which Herve
Johcour landed in Japan some four times.

(March 30)
I have just found a French interview with Michael Pitt about "Silk",  and on the site some photos from
"Silk" are to be seen.  I was totally enthralled by Koji Yakusho as Hara Jubei.

(March 22)
The filming of "SILK" in Sakata city, which was formerly announced to be done on March 21, is actually
going to be held on March 23 (Thurs).

(March 1
"SILK" filming ne
On March 9, a local person in Matsumoto city reports on his website that he went to see the open set of the
hamlet built in Iriyamabe being set on fire.

The Baba house museum in Matsumoto city was closed from March 11(sat.) to 18 (Sat.) due to the filming
of SILK.

(March 13)
The Sanspo com reports that Jun Kunimura plays Umon, Hara Jubei (Koji yakusho)'s subordinate and
Miki Nakatani plays the Japanese madam living in France.
For the translation of the Sanspo news, please click here. ( March 12, Hoga Central )

(March 13)
The beautiful lady whom Herve Joncour meets in Japan was announced today.
The name of the actress is Sei Ashina (aged 22 ). She was selected from among 200 people after the
audition.  There are comments by director Mr. Girard and Sei Ashina: --

(Pymmik's unofficial translation)
Searching for somebody to cast in the role of 'the beautiful Japanese lady at the other end of the world,'
director Girard visited Japan three times and met some ten Japanese actresses, selected from among 200
applicants. (Originally there were 800 applicants.)

He said, "I have never met so many actors for the sake of selecting one cast. When I met Sei Ashina, I
thought that I had found an actress who was almost incredible."  Ashina herself remarked,  "I feel that I am
spending the happiest time in my life. I would like to make the most of this precious time.窶�br>
You can see a photo of Sei Ashina as the beautiful Japanese lady.

This movie is due to be released in the USA and in Japan in 2007.

(March 11)
I have recently come across a website written by a lady "Koharu", in Nagano prefecture, where she reports
her visit to the open set of SILK in Iriyamabe on March 5.

She writes that she heard there that it had taken nearly one year before the film shooting staff found this
place. What they actually wanted to find was a place that had beautiful Japanese winter scenery, where there
was a valley, clear streams, and terraced rice fields without electric wires. They found the Iriyamabe area (on
the Susuki-gawa River upstream, on the way to Utsukushigahara Heights) to be most ideal.

Here is Pymmik's translation of what Koharu wrote:

"Within a short walk after getting off the bus, a hamlet appeared before us. It stood there as if it had been
there for years. I was surprised to find the hamlet lightly covered with snow. The snow was actually artificial;
it did look real, though.

I was told that the total cost of constructing the hamlet was 150 million yen. Unfortunately, as the story
proceeds, the open set is due to be destroyed by fire. The roof of the residence of the wealthy silk man was
supposed to have been made of slates; but as enough slates could not be found, they used thatch instead. At
first, the builders, whose age was over 70, declined the request to build the hamlet houses when they heard
that those houses would be destroyed by fire within a week; but they were finally persuaded. I understand
their feelings.

In the hamlet there were about ten houses, bamboo forest, mulberry fields, and an aviary. What looked
rather funny was that there were a pair of stone guardian dogs called 窶廳OMAINU窶�(Pymmik; such as
those usually found in shrine or temple precincts) in front of the wealthy man's residence.  I wonder whether
that was due to the European concept of Japan
." (Arigatou/Thanks Koharu)

(March 10)
I have just seen Michael Pitt being nterviewd on an internet movie info website called "Movie Walker"
in relation to his latest movie, "Last Days", which is to be released in Japan from March 18.  The
interviewer says that he has agreed to have 25 media interviews on "Last Days" , although he is very busy in
shooting the movie, "Silk" in Matsumoto city.  Please click here for the interview.

(March 8)
If you would like to see the latest photo of Koji Yakusho, please click here.
Koji attended the special event, held at Hibiya Sukaraza movie theater on March 5, when there was no
shooting of SILK at the Iriyamabe open set.

(March 7)
I have just heard that there was a tour on March 5 to visit the open set of an Edo period village for "SILK",
which has been prepared at Iriyamabe in Matsumoto city.  About 200 participants were taken to see  
thatched houses, bamboo forest, mulberry fields and the like, all specially constructed within the village set.

Reportedly at a later stage in filming, those village houses are to be set on fire and allowed to burn down to
some extent, in order to provide settings for scenes to be shot amid ruined dwellings.

According to the Shinano Mainichi shimbun newspaper, apart from being done at this open set area,  the
shooting of SILK will be done at some six other places within Matsumoto city. One of them includes the
Baba house, which was built towards the end of Edo period and which, in 1996, was designated as one of
Japan's most important national cultural properties.

Pymmik's guess is that the scenes set inside Hara Jubei's house may be filmed h

rch 4)
Here is another photo site (PDF) of a part of the Edo period village.  This grand thached house must be the
dwelling house of Hara Jubei (Kei ).  What is seen on the left in the photo may be Hara Jubei's arviary.

On March 3 Koji Yakusho's official website reports that he is now joining the filming of SILK.

(March 2)
On February 28, I found another report about the filming of SILK on a movie info website, called
Cinemacafe.  Reporting that the filming of SILK started on February 27 in Matsumoto city, the website
adds some new info on the cast and about future filming locations in Italy.

Together with Koji Yakusho and Miki Nakatani, it seems that Jun Kunimura, too, appears in this film. The
role which he performs must be a new one, seeing that in the novel there is no major male Japanese
character apart from Hara Kei (Jubei).  The website also reports that the beautiful maiden whom Herve
meets in Japan has a white skin窶和s bright as silk', and adds that the name of the actress cast in her role
will be announced later.

After filming in Matsumoto city and Sakata city in March, further filming will be done from April onwards
in Italy in窶牢ermonata, Rome, and Piemonte.

(Feb. 28)
The following is Pymmik's unofficial translation of an article about filmimg of SILK from the Nagano
district news of Asahi Shimbun newspaper:

"An Edo period village has appeared in Iriyamabe in Matsumoto city.  This village is the open set of a film,
entitled, SILK which Japanse, Canadians and Italians are producing.  Filming started  here from February
27.  About 40 local people from Matsumoto city are to appear in this film as extras.

The open set has been constructed on the rice fields on an Iriyamabe valley.  It was constructed from last
December to this February.  The site is  8000 square meters in size.  And there are ten houses with thatched
roofs and an aviary.   Filming will continue until about  the middle of March both here and on nearby
Norikura Kogen Heights...."

The Iwate Nippo newspaper reports that the filming of SILK started on February 23 in Iwate prefecture at a
famous sightseeing valley called GEIBIKEI,  within the bounds of Ichinoseki city.  The scene is that in
which  Herve Joncour goes up river by boat to a certain village. Incidentally, two local professional  
boatmen, wearing  Edo period costumes, appear in this scene.

The Chunichi Shimbun newspaper reports that the filming of SILK will start from February 27, in Nagano
prefecture, at a huge, specially constructed open set in the IRIYAMABE area in Matsumoto city. It is
reported that  320 people will be invited to see this set on March 5; the application deadline is February 28.

(Feb. 18)
A certain Japanese newspaper in Yamagata prefecture reported in its Feb. 3 issue that Koji Yakusho's role
name in "SILK" was 'Hara Jubei', not 'Hara Kei' as in the original novel.  Hara Kei (1856 - 1921) is
actually the name of a famous Japanese statesman in Meiji Era!  The newspaper also reported that Miki
Nakatani was to portray the Japanese madam.

(February 7)
The City of Sakata in Yamagata prefecture is now recruiting 56 extras for the filming of 窶彜ILK".
Date: March 21 (Tues)
Place: In the vicinity of the Sankyo Dock area in Sakata city
Extras needed :
* Boatmen: 9
*Town's folks: 10 males (10 to 60 years old)
                    12 females  ( 10 to 60 years old)
* Dock workers: 25 men (20 to 50 years old)
Application deadline: February 28
Info & application: Sakata Tourist & Souvenir Sales Association

On January 23, Kaijushakedown site put an interesting comment on "SILK",

"The light just turned green for Francois Girard's SILK, a movie starring Koji Yakusho, Keira Knightley and Alfred Molina. The flick's
international rights look to be split between Picturehouse and New Line International and filming is set to start in late February.

Based on Alessandro Baricco's bestselling book, SILK, the movie "...follows a 19th century French silkworm merchant Herve Joncour as
he travels to Japan and embarks upon a secret affair with a mysterious woman."

The president of Picturehouse says, "Silk is a sweeping erotic tale..."

Ah, yes - Japan: a land of mystery and secrets and sweeping eroticism. Didn't we just see this movie? Wasn't it called MEMOIRS OF A
GEISHA? Didn't it have Koji Yakusho in it?

(No word on the Koji Yakusho, Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt film BABEL, howev

Here is another confirmation of Koji Yakusho's appearing in "Silk".

"Deal Set for Keira Knightley, Michael Pitt 'Silk' Adaptation
January 20, 2006
By Gregg Kilday

Picturehouse and New Line International have acquired rights to Francois Girard's Silk, a world-hopping
romantic drama based on the novel by Alessandro Baricco. It stars an international cast headed by Michael
Pitt, Keira Knightley, Koji Yakusho and Alfred Molina.

The deal was announced Friday by Picturehouse president Bob Berney; Rolf Mittweg, president and chief
operating officer of New Line worldwide distribution and marketing; and Camela Galano, president of New
Line International.

Based on the 1997 novel by Alessandro Baricco, which Kirkus Reviews deemed "masterly, with a wrenching
climax and dテゥnouement", Silk is the story of Hervテゥ Joncour, a 19th-century French silkworm merchant
who travels to Japan, where he begins a forbidden romance. Girard and Michael Golding have adapted the
screenplay for the film, to be produced by Niv Fichman, Nadine Luque, Domenico Procacci and Sonoko

"Silk is certainly going to have an epic quality," Berney said, calling it "a big, erotic film. ... It's going to
shoot all over the world, and it has a great cast that can broaden it out and attract a wider audience than
that of an art house film."

Principal photography on the film, budgeted in the low-$20-million range, will begin at the end of February
in Matsumoto, Japan, and will be completed in Italy in late May. A second unit will shoot exteriors in locals
ranging from Cairo, Egypt, to the Himalayas. A release is tentatively planned for fall 2007.

For Picturehouse, formed last year when Time Warner units New Line Cinema and HBO joined forces to
create a new specialty films unit, the project represents an ambitious undertaking. Berney said the
acquisition suggests the flexibility that Picturehouse enjoys in working with its two corporate parents.

"In this case," he said, "the New Line group had been tracking the film and working with the producers.
They then suggested that Picturehouse come in to handle the domestic distribution."

As it readies its first full-year release slate, Picturehouse has adopted various distribution strategies
depending on the profile of individual films. For Steven Shainberg's upcoming Diane Arbus biopic Fur,
Picturehouse came on board as domestic distributor and then brought in New Line to handle international
territories. In the case of Mary Harron's upcoming The Notorious Bettie Page, Picturehouse is handling
domestic and HBO's international sales arm is handling foreign. For Robert Altman's A Prairie Home
Companion, Picturehouse acquired only the domestic rights.

"It's a real mix," Berney said. "But it gives Picturehouse a lot of options in terms of the different levels of
pictures it gets involved in."

Silk is a Canada/Italy/Japan co-production, produced by Rhombus Media, Fandango S.R.L. and Bee Vine
Pictures, in association with Productions Soie and Vice Versa Films. Motion Picture Distribution Lp. will
distribute in Canada, Fandango in Italy and Asmik Ace in Japan. New Line International will handle all
other territories.

The deal was brokered on behalf of Picturehouse by New Line senior vp business affairs Carolyn Blackwood
and negotiated on behalf of the film by Stephen Saltzman of Loeb a
nd Loeb."

Press release
on "SILK"

I have just learned that there was a press release on "SILK"  through Keira Knightley's fan site and IMDb
"SILK" mess
age board:

From ScreenInternational:

Picturehouse, New Line Int'l take Silk road together
Jeremy Kay in Los Angeles 20 January 2006

Picturehouse and New Line International have snapped up the majority of the world on Francois Girard's
dark romantic adaptation Silk, which will stars Keira Knightley, Michael Pitt, Koji Yakusho and Alfred

Filming is due to begin at the end of February in Matsumoto, Japan, and will end in late May in Italy, as the
crew follows the trail of Alessandro Baricco's besteller across Egypt and Asia.

The Canadian-Italian-Japanese co-production is being put together by Rhombus Media, Fandango SRL and
Bee Vine Pictures, in association with Productions Soie and Vice Versa Films.
Alliance Atlantis affiliate Motion Picture Distribution will release in Canada, Fandango in Italy and Asmik
Ace in Japan.

New Line, a joint venture partner in Picturehouse alongside HBO, will handle all other territories and will
begin sales in Berlin next month.

Baricco's story follows a 19th century French silkworm merchant Herve Joncour as he travels to Japan and
embarksupon a secret affair with a mysterious woman.

Girard and Michael Golding adapted the screenplay and Niv Fichman, Nadine Luque, Domenico Procacci
and Sonoko Sakai will serve as producers.

New Line's senior vice president of business affairs Carolyn Blackwood negotiated the deal with Stephen
Saltzman of Loeb and Loeb on behalf of the filmmakers.

"Silk is a sweeping erotic tale that will translate gloriously from page to screen," Picturehouse president Bob
Berney said. "With the book's many dedicated fans around the world, we look forward to bringing this film
to theaters."

"Alessandro Baricco's book is perfect movie material," Girard, whose credits include The Red Violin,
added. "It offers both the intimacy of a gripping emotional tale and the epic quality of a journey to the end
of the world."

Picturehouse's upcoming releases include Michael Winterbottom's Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story,
Mary Harron's The Notorious Bettie Page, Steven Shainberg's Fur, which recently wrapped production and
stars Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr, and Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion

(Thanks, Paul)

Most overseas fans of Koji Yakusho may find it difficult to have an image of Koji as samurai, as it was only
in "Dora heita" (2000), directed by Kon Ichikawa, that Koji appeared in person in a Edo period movie.
However, Koji actually started his career as an actor in TV period dramas such as Tokugawa Ieyasu (1983)
and Miyamoto Musashi (1884).

I especially like this photo of Koji Yakusho as Miyamot
o Musashi.

Here is Pymmik's unofficial translation of the Yamagata Shimbun newspaper article about the film  
"SILK". Michael Pitt meets a beautiful Japane
se woman!

Sakata City was selected as one of the filming places for a movie called, 窶彜ILK窶� which is going to be
produced this year and then released all over the US and Japan, with the 2007 Cannes International Film
Festival in view.  Last September, both the director and the staff visited the city of Sakata in Yamagata
prefecture and inspected the Sankyo docks area. After visiting some ten harbor towns in Japan including
Otaru in Hokkaido, they decided on Sakata for the reason that in this city there still remain縲�ome old-
style surroundings and atmosphere. The filming is due to be done from around March 20.

窶彜ILK窶�is to be produced with a budget of about 2.2 billion yen by an American movie company, New
Line Cinema, the same company that produced 窶弋he Road of the Ring. The movie is based on a novel by
Alessandro Baricco, as was the famous movie, 窶弋he Pianist on the Sea".  The director is Fran?ois Girard,
director of 窶彝ed Violin窶� which received the Academy music award. Michael Pitt, who once starred in a
Bernard Beltrich movie, will play the main lead role; Koji Yakusho and Miki Nakatani are due to appear in
this movie in other leading roles.
SILK is set in 19th century France. As a result of a strange epidemic, a lot of silkworms have died. Leaving
his wife behind in France, the hero, a silk trader (Michael Pitt) is forced to travel to Japan in search of
silkworms that can produce the most beautiful silk in the world. In Japan the trader meets a beautiful
Japanese lady and falls in love with her. The movie depicts their sensuous and lyrical love.

It seems that some scenes in which a wooden ship comes alongside the quay are likely to be filmed in Sakata
city near Sankyo docks. The production team has requested Sakata City's help in finding a certain number
of extras.

In addition to being done in the city of Sakata, filming is also to be done in the city of Matsumoto in
Nagano prefecture.

I have just read the Japanese translation of the novel, "SILK"  with great interest, and immediately felt like
seeing those characters on the big screen.  The  local Japanese baron, Hara Kei, whom Koji Yakusho is
supposed to portray sounds so fascinating!

I am also interested in the role of Miki Nakatani.  Does she play the role of Hara Kei's concubine or that of
a Japanese woman,named Madam Blanche, living near Joncour's town in Southern France?   It is further
reported on some website that Keira Knightley is due to play the role of a  local Japanses baron's i.e. Hara
Kei's concubine, but if her role is that of Helene, it means that she is Joncour's French wife.
Hara Kei's concubine is described that she does not have oriental eyes, which seems to lead to the
conclusion that she is not Japanese but European.  Miki Nakatani is a beautiful young Japanese actress....  
Well, let's wait a
nd see!
Created on January 9, 2006
Updated on January 11, 2010
Credited cast (Based on IMDb:Silk)  

Michael Pitt ....  Herve Joncour  
Keira Knightley ....  Helene Joncour  
Alfred Molina ....  Baldabiou  
Koji Yakusho ....  Hara Jubei     
Miki Nakatani .... Madam Blanche    
Sei Ashina ....  The Girl                    
Jun Kunimura .... Umon
Kanata Hongo ....Japanese village boy
Nana Nagao... Geisha #1


Novel by Alessandro Baricco
Director:Francois Girard
Screenplay: Francois Girard  
Michael Golding  
Running time: 110 minutes
Costume design by
Kazuko Kurosawa       
Carlo Poggioli
Original music by
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Review of stage play, "Silk"
(May 9, 2005  Chicago)