“The first filmization of the forbidden erotic cartoon by Osamu Tezuka”

One of Osamu Tezuka’s most adult and sexually-charged works, Barbara (1973-74) was originally serialized as a follow-up to Ayako (1972-73) in Big Comic from July 1973 to May 1974. It was recently published in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German, garnering enthusiastic fans around the world, including hundreds who made history by crowdfunding a recent English re-release of the manga in a limited edition format.

Barbara is an adult-orientated fantasy tale filled with love and the occult from Osamu Tezuka’s reimagining of “The Tales of Hoffmann (French: Les contes d’Hoffmann)”. Its story deals with the erotic and bizarre experiences of a famous novelist called Yosuke Mikura whose life is tossed upside down by a mysterious girl named “Barbara”.

The controversial story, dealing with various taboos such as forbidden love, mystery, art, Eros, scandal and occultism, was said to have been impossible to be cinematized at the time of its original publication, but has been made into a live-action film for the 90th Anniversary of Osamu Tezuka’s birth.

The director is Macoto Tezka, the son of Osamu Tezuka. He received the Digital Award at the 1999 Venice International Film Festival for ‘Hakuchi: The Innocent’ plus achieved international success with 2004’s ‘Black Kiss’. His latest film ‘The Brand-New legend of Stardust Brothers’ was invited to the 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival.

Internationally renowned Christopher Doyle is the cinematographer, who is valued with the beauty of filming as exemplified with his previous collaborations with Wong Kar Wai on ‘Chungking Express’ and ‘In the Mood for Love’ (among others) plus Zhang Yimou’s global box office success ‘Hero’. Christopher Doyle’s lense will bring out the glamorousness of modern-day Tokyo.

Synopsis
The story is set in modern-day Tokyo. Famous novelist Yosuke Mikura encounters a young girl in the subway station and brings her home to his condominium. The girl’s name is Barbara. For all her bad manners and constant state of drunkenness, she has a certain charm that is hard to put your finger on. Much like a stray cat claiming her territory, Barbara settles herself into Mikura’s apartment. This propels the creatively congested Mikura to write again. His life takes a drastic turn for the better. Is Barbara a muse? An artist’s savior? Or is she a spell-casting sorcerer?

Before long, the two become intimate and Mikura asks for her hand in marriage. The wedding ceremony is something of a black mass, but a sudden interruption forces them to abort the proceedings. Heartbroken, Barbara runs away. Mikura’s life now takes a sharp tum downhill, causing him to suffer from paranoia. No longer able to tell delusion from reality, he incessantly pursues her and when he finds her they flee to the countryside. Mikura takes Barbara to a mountain lodge, but things get stranger and stranger. Now worn out and at the brink of death, Mikura is suddenly gripped with the creative urge to write…

Cast

Fumi Nikaido
as Barbara

Born in September 21, 1994 in Okinawa Island. At age twelve she was scouted by Sony Music Artists after her picture appeared in an Okinawa edition of ‘Picture Book of Beautiful Girls’, a free regional publication that features local amateurs as models.

She made her film debut as Hikari Horie, a principal supporting character in Koji Yakusho’s directorial debut “Toad’s Oil”. At the same time, Nikaido took her first starring role in a feature film, playing conflicted high school shogi (Japanese chess) player, Michiko, in Yu Irie’s rock drama “Ringing in Their Ears” (2011). Coming off that success, Nikaido made her major breakthrough starring in Sion Sono’s “HIMIZU” which won the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival, the festival’s highest prize for emerging talent. Since then she has gone from strength to strength becoming one of Japan’s most acclaimed actresses. She most recently starred in Isao Yukisada’s “RIVER’S EDGE” which was in competition at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival.

Goro Inagaki
as Yosuke Mikura

Born in December 8, 1973 in Tokyo. Goro Inagaki is one of the former members of “SMAP”, the most famous and largest selling music group in modern Japanese history, who have been breaking all sales records for more than 20 years with over 40 million record sales in Japan alone.

In 1993, Inagaki made his solo debut under the name of Goro Inagaki partnering Jody Watley to release the single ”If You Give Your Heart”. In 2005, Inagaki made his voice acting debut in the huge box-office success ”One Piece the Movie- Meka Kyohei of Karakuri castle” which is based on the famous manga series. Inagaki also starred in and won many acting awards for the Takashi Miike film “13 Assassins” which played in competition at the Cannes Film festival and received worldwide distribution.

 

 

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On paper I am an Italian living in London, in reality I was born and bread in a popcorn bucket. I've loved cinema since I was a little child and I’ve always had a passion and interest for Asian (especially Japanese) pop culture, food and traditions, but on the cinema side, my big, first love is Hong Kong Cinema. Then - by a sort of osmosis - I have expanded my love and appreciation to the cinematography of other Asian countries. I like action, heroic bloodshed, wu-xia, Shaw Bros (even if it’s not my specialty), Anime, and also more auteur-ish movies. Anything that is good, really, but I am allergic to rom-com (unless it’s a HK rom-com, possibly featuring Andy Lau in his 20s)"

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