ASIAN FILM - Article
09:06 - 19th August 2013, by NEO Staff

The Land of Hope

Sion Sono has never been afraid to tackle challenging subjects. His films have looked at serial killers, suicide and religious cults, but The Land Of Hope brings up a subject that too many people in Japan would prefer to simply ignore - the nuclear disaster unfolding in Fukushima.

The story is set in the fictional prefecture of Nagashima, a play on the names of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, home to the Ono family. When an earthquake causes a radiation leak at the nuclear power plant, the government orders the citizens to evacuate. However one man, Yasuhiko Ono (Isao Natsuyagi), decides to stay put so he can look after his wife Chieko, who suffers from dementia. Yasuhiko's son Yoichi (Jun Murakami) evacuates with his wife Izumi (Megumi Kagurazaka), who is pregnant. While he believes they are safely out of danger, she becomes obsessed with the thought that the radiation has affected their unborn child.

The Land Of Hope was co-produced by Adam Torel, the founder of Third Window Films who are distributing the movie here in the UK. Adam has released several of Sono's films in the UK, including Cold Fish and Love Exposure. He was approached about The Land Of Hope as it proved impossible to finance the film solely with Japanese investors due to the subject matter.

"It's a pity that in Japan more people didn't want to discuss such an issue, especially at a time which would have been most important to safeguard many people for the future, but in Japan they like to put on a strong face and hush things to the side," says Adam. "Unfortunately in many areas to the West of Fukushima such as Tokyo and Kansai, people do not talk about and have almost forgotten what is STILL going on in and around Fukushima and how many lives are still being affected."
"It's very hard to find news there or elsewhere which gives the real truth, but it's not like this terrible situation has changed - it's only getting worse - and without more and more people around the world continuing to talk about this tragedy it may just become forgotten."

"This is why we want the film to reach as large an audience as possible. Sono is a very well-known director in the West and hopefully his popularity will help a larger audience to learn and discuss more about Fukushima. It's a topic very close to my heart and the hearts of all involved in this film."

The Land Of Hope comes to DVD and Blu-ray from Third Window Films on 26 August. The release includes a 70-minute documentary about the making of the film and the situation in Fukushima.

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