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Miike unsheathes '13 Assassins' at Venice film fest

Miike unsheathes '13 Assassins' at Venice film fest

Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike unsheathed his swashbuckling samurai period piece "13 Assassins" at the Venice film festival on Thursday, saying he had young people's education in mind.
"What really scares me is that people don't know this is the story of our recent past," Miike said of the blood-drenched action drama set in feudal Japan in the mid-19th century.
"This story does not take place in the remote past, but in a quite recent past, when our great-grandparents lived," he said. "It is something that might have happened in reality."
The action-packed remake of a 1963 samurai movie by the late Eiichi Kudo, surprisingly true to the genre from a director known for his quirkiness, involves the rise to power of sadistic Lord Naritsugu and an elaborate, suicidal plan to assassinate him. Twelve samurais are joined by a 13th fighter, Koyata (played by heartthrob Yusuke Iseya), armed only with a slingshot to provide comic relief.
The band is hopelessly outnumbered but goes fearlessly into a blockbuster final fight scene.
Noting that the original film was "made for my father's generation," Miike said he "wondered what could be made by us, another generation," while fretting that "Japanese cinema may have forgotten how to deal with these costume films."
Miike, as prolific as he is versatile, also brought superhero spoof "Zebraman" to Venice, where it screened out of competition.
Transformed from a mild-mannered schoolteacher into a flawed superhero - with no telephone booths to be found, the switch takes place off-screen - Zebraman takes on extra-terrestrial forces of evil seeking to take over Earth using green goo.
His mission? to defend "peace, justice and the Japanese way."
Miike said the project was inspired by a favourite television show from his childhood. "I was really influenced by that... in Zebraman, there's a message that if you believe in something it will come true." Also Thursday, competing with "13 Assassins" and 22 other films for the coveted Golden Lion at the world's oldest film festival was "The Solitude of Prime Numbers" by Italy's Saverio Costanzo.
The story of an inescapable bond between two youths haunted by childhood traumas is based on a best-selling first novel by Paolo Giordano, who shot to fame in Italy by winning the country's premier Strega book award. The film is a faithful rendition of the book, except in the use of flashbacks instead of a chronological narration.
"Because the story was well known, we had the responsibility of shifting the story from what to why," Costanzo said. "We tried to have everything happen in the single emotional moment. There are no days, there is just one single emotional moment that tries to answer that question."
While Mattia (Luca Marinelli) bears deep guilt for the disappearance of his mentally disabled twin sister, Alice (Alba Rohrwacher) suffered a crippling leg injury on the ski slope which she blames on an overbearing father who pushed her too hard to become a champion skier. They bond but can come no closer than twin prime numbers - those separated only by one even number such as five and seven or 11 and 13.