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Shota Sometani × Natsuki Seta in Inokashira Park

On April 4th, 2017, I took a walk through Inokashira Park with Shota Sometani and Natsuki Seta. I was there to interview them about their film Parks, which is set in this same park. The park turns 100 years old in May.

Actor Sometani and director Seta have worked together on more than one occasion even before this, both as actor and director, and as co-writers, as on 2013's Similar But Different, which Sometani directed. Their first collaboration can be seen in 2011's A Liar and a Broken Girl, Seta's professional debut.

With the cherry trees in full bloom, I slowly made my way through the park and the crowds of cherry blossom viewers. "I didn't think you'd have a camera," called Seta, who says that she's unaccustomed to being filmed. On the subject of how he can carry himself the way he does, Sometani explains himself with a smile.

"I've never thought there wouldn't be a camera."

With an odd understanding somehow established, we went on walking.

When asked about the Kichijoji neighborhood and what comes to mind, Sometani answered, "Of course, the Baus Theater." This theater was known for the Bakuon Film Festival, among other things. Seta noted that she shot one of the scenes for her 2002 film Todomaruka Nakunaruka there.

As the talk continues, the pair both point at the same time. Across from us was a building they remembered, with its shutters closed. While Natsuki Seta's films give us a feeling that could be called "nostalgia for the future," I felt like I was being taken away by a different kind of moment. I thought of the day when, on the streets of Kichijoji, I saw 5 Windows, which was filmed in Koganecho, Yokohama. Shota Sometani appeared in that, as well. Six years and three months since their first collaboration, the duo's story continues.

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Photos: Teppei Kobayashi

Words: Hideyuki Okamoto

Shota Sometani

Born September 3, 1992. From Tokyo. Won the Marcello Mastroianni Award (newcomer of the year award) at the Venice Film Festival for his work in “Himizu” (2012; dir. by Sion Sono). Lauded as the rise of a tremendous acting talent after nabbing the Newcomer of the Year award at the 36th Japan Academy Awards for “Himizu” and “Lesson of the Evil” (2012; dir. by Takashi Miike).

Following this he appeared in such films as “The Kiyosu Conference” (2013; dir. by Koki Mitani), “The Eternal Zero” (2013; dir. by Takashi Yamazaki), “Parasyte” parts 1 and 2 (2014-15; dir. by Takashi Yamazaki), “Bakuman.” (2015; dir. by Hitoshi Ohne), “All Esper Dayo!: The Movie” (2015; dir. by Sion Sono), and “A Man Called Pirate” (2016; dir. by Takashi Yamazaki), gaining heaps upon heaps of praise for his unparalleled acting ability. Still to come are “PARKS” (2017; dir. by Natsuki Seta) and Sino-Japanese coproduction “KU-KAI” (2018; dir. by Chen Kaige), in the latter of which he will play the lead role.

Natsuki Seta

Born in 1979 in Osaka Prefecture. Film director. Completed studies at Yokohama National University Graduate School of Environment and Information Sciences and Tokyo University of the Arts Graduate School of Film and New Media. After earning positive reviews with her thesis film A Letter from Elsewhere, made her professional directorial debut with A Liar and a Broken Girl (2011, starring Aya Omasa and Shota Sometani). In addition to the films Ato no matsuri and the 5 Windows series, her directing credits include a drama series for a streaming service, music videos for artists such as Ikimono-gakari, and commercials. Her latest film Parks (2017, starring Ai Hashimoto, Mei Nagano, and Shota Sometani), is currently in theaters.

Parks

Open at Theatre Shinjuku beginning April 22 (Sat.), Kichijoji Odeon and theaters nationwide beginning April 29 (Sat.)

Official website: http://parks100.jp

©2017 Honda Promotion BAUS

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