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Tatsuya Nakadai joins Twitter

Tatsuya Nakadai
Veteran actor Tatsuya Nakadai has joined Twitter to promote his upcoming film Lear by the Seashore (Umibe no Lear). Whether the @nakadai84 account will be solely used for the film’s advertising and whether Nakadai himself actually has much to do with it remains to be seen, but it’s been rather quiet on the news front, so I thought I’d mention it.

Nakadai, of course, appeared in numerous Akira Kurosawa films, including playing the lead roles in both Kagemusha and Ran. During his impressive career that now includes close to 150 films, Nakadai has also worked with Mikio Naruse, Kon Ichikawa, Masaki Kobayashi, Isao Takahata and many others.

Lear by the Seashore will premiere in June this year, and it has Nakadai take on the role of a famous retired actor who, possibly suffering from dementia, now resides in a nursing home by the sea. The film was directed by Masahiro Kobayashi, marking the third time that the actor and director have worked together, following their collaborations on Haru’s Journey (2010) and Japan’s Tragedy (2012).

Here is the trailer:

Oh and while you are on Twitter, also follow @kurosawainfo, if you haven’t done so yet!


Discussion

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chomei

I looked at the Twitter feed and it certainly looked like he was writing it. Incredibly cool to think that he has played Lear twice! Few actors are capable of playing it at all, and fewer get the opportunity. Only thing left is for him to do Shakespeare’s version.

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Vili Maunula

Indeed! He seems to have played quite a number of Shakespeare’s characters on stage, with his 1964 portrayal of Hamlet apparently particularly legendary, but he doesn’t seem to have appeared in a Lear production, as far as I can see.

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Yingzhe

It would be very interesting to see him play something onstage, as it seems that that is definitely one of his fortes. He’s got quite the film resume though, and has contributed to some extremely iconic films both in and out of the Kurosawa canon.

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ssj

he seems younger now than he did in the ’80s. 😉

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Ugetsu

He is remarkably young and healthy looking, lets hope he still has some good films in him.

It reminds me a little of the Irish actor David Kelly who, although quite young specialised in playing little old men in various British and Irish TV series in the 1960’s and 70’s. People were often astounded when they saw him out and about in real life 30 or more years later, looking no older than he did as they remembered him as kids.

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ssj

not to keep bringing topics back to star wars (though this is sort of a star wars site—right, vili? :grin:), but ian mcdiarmid would be another example of a young guy apparently not aging because of his roles. . . or rather, his most famous role.

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yjmbobllns

Anybody have any good Nakadai film recommendations? Other than his Kurosawa roles I’ve seen of his collaborations with Kobayashi (Human Condition, Harakiri and Samurai Rebellion) as well as Sword of Doom, but he’s so great in High and Low I would love to see some of his other ‘contemporary’ roles. What are some of his other great ones?

Seeing him play Hamlet in the 60s sounds like it would be amazing.

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Vili Maunula

I too have seen fairly few Nakadai performances outside of Kurosawa, Kobayashi and a handful of golden era samurai films.

But definitely check out Naruse’s When A Woman Ascends the Stairs, which is an absolutely wonderful film with great performances from the cast, including Nakadai. There are also other Naruse films with Nakadai.

The 1987 Hachiko, about a dog who stays loyal to his owner even after the man’s death, was very popular and if my memory serves well, sort of worth watching, if you like the genre. It was later remade with Richard Gere in the lead role.

Masahiro “not Masaki” Kobayashi, who directed Lear by the Seaside, also directed Haru’s Journey, which as I understand is worth a watch as well. I haven’t seen it though and I don’t know about its availability.

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Ugetsu

I’d second his performance in When a Woman Ascends the Stairs – its very subtle and unshowy, but he was outstanding in it.

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yjmbobllns

Thanks for the recommendations, Vili and Ugetsu! I will definitely check out When a Woman…

I do remember seeing the Gere remake of Hachiko, I’ll have to keep in mind the original for revisiting.

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lawless

Very late to the party, but I also recommend Nakadai’s performance in When A Woman Ascends the Stairs. If you’ve only seen him play heroic and villainous characters, watching him portray a Friendzoned Nice Guy(tm) is something of a revelation.

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Ugetsu

I’d second that recommendation, its a marvellous film. For some reason I didn’t realise it was Nakadai playing that character it until after I watched it, he was very convincing.

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yjmbobllns

I still haven’t gotten around to Woman Ascends, which sits on my shelf next to Song of the Horse and many other films I’ve yet to get around to watching, but I recently got a chance to rewatch and finally finish The Human Condition. Wow, what a tour de force, both from Nakadai and Kobayashi, to get through that much tragedy over so long a run time and still be so entertaining.

Nakadai captivates in nearly every scene as Kaji, a humanist saint every bit as grand as Red Beard. In a way he’s the opposite of Mifune; he minimizes his character’s physical characteristics and forces you to focus in on his face (specifically his eyes) where he expresses the same range of emotions more subtly. It’s hard to imagine Mifune pulling off Kaji with the same amount of empathy. It’s not a competition, though it sound from the behind the scenes material that every actor in Japan was going out for the role of Kaji, so it’s interesting to fantasize about Mifune in the part. Nakadai turns in an all-time great performance in what had to be a miserable shoot.

Kobayashi seemed to place his politics more overtly into his work than Kurosawa, but I see a similarity to AK in his aversion to systems and the way they manipulate individuals into committing acts of cruelty. Knowing anti-Imperialist sentiment was encouraged in Japanese filmmaking after the war, I imagine some of this point-of-view was common among that generation of filmmakers, but it still seems like a novelty in epic filmmaking, and particularly contemporary blockbuster film. Which is not to say that either Kurosawa or Kobayashi were blockbuster filmmakers, but they certainly worked on a scale comparable to today’s blockbuster directors, albeit with more authorial control.

Anyway, I don’t mean to hijack a conversation about Tatsuya Nakadai to talk about big budget moviemaking. If you haven’t yet, give The Human Condition a binge-watch. I could go on and on about the dutch angles. Oooh, the dutch angles.

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