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TOKYO ZANCE

INTRODUCTION

STORY

CAST&STAFF
DIRECTOR'S PROFILE ACTORS WHAT CRITICS SAY

In the closed banquet room of a posh Chinese restaurant, its owner and a mysterious hitman play out a game of life and death. Becoming hunter and prey, neither can escape the room without killing the other.

Director Yukihiko Tsutsumi, crowned "revolutionary child of the audiovisual image," uses daring camerawork and stylish mise-en-scene to create an action-filled psychological thriller.

A man clad in black enters the banquet room of a posh Chinese restaurant. His name: Ryuichi Hoshino. At a glance, he's just an owner of a Chinese restaurant, but in fact his underworld connections with gangster group Kyokusuikai allow him the power to move black money, by blackmailing firms and laundering bad bonds. Today he plans to have dinner here, while waiting for a 9 pm phone call from political party Minjito's keyman Tamura. It's the finish of a lucrative deal that took a whole year to negotiate. If he pulls it off, it's a cool 5 billion yen. He can already smell the sweet scent of success. This will surely please the don of Kyokusuikai who took him under his wing.

Hoshino sits down at the dinner table and reaches out for his wine glass with a sense of fulfillment. Suddenly, he starts. He feels an icy gaze piercing him--in this room where he is supposed to be alone. As he begins to move towards the source of this gaze, a lone man with a gun appears before him. Obviously the man is here to kill him. But whyc?
The man offers, "Shall we start our meal?" Why doesn't he shoot now? The banquet begins, as if playing with the minutes until death.

The mysterious man toys daringly with Hoshino's life, while Hoshino watches for his chance to turn the tables. Two shrewd survivors of the cutthroat underworld compete in a life-or-death struggle inside the four walls of a closed compound. And an unknown truth is revealedc
Becoming hunter and prey, the two men are destined to a fate in which neither can escape without killing the other.
The countdown to death continuesc

CAST:

  • Hoshino: Toshiro Yanagiba
  • Man: IZAM
  • Waitress: SUIREI

STAFF:

  • Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
  • Executive Producers: Katsuhiko Takemasa, Hirofumi Ogoshi, Mitsuru Ito
  • Producers: Norio Watanabe, Susumu Nakazawa, Yumi Yokoo
  • Screenplay: Manabu Kato, Michizo Kito
  • Director of Photography: Satoru Karasawa
  • Art Director: Hisao Inagaki
  • Lighting: Kenji Ishida
  • Sound Recording: Soichi Inoue
  • Editor: Soichi Ueno
  • Music: Akira Mitake
  • Them song "Nagi" (A Lull in the Storm) by Minako Yoshida

DIRECTOR'S PROFILE

Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Born in 1955. Filmmaker, director, visual artist. Starting out in music video clips, has branched out to a wide range of fields including stage and music events (over 20), TV dramas (over 100 episodes), TV commercials (16), and films (9 to date). His film Keizoku: Beautiful Dreamer recorded a box office hit in Japan.
Filmography includes: Bakayaro! (88; with Kaoru Kobayashi), HOMELESS (89; with Yoko Ono), The Files of Young Kindaichi (97; with Tsuyoshi Domoto), Keizoku: Beautiful Dreamer (00; with Miki Nakatani and Atsuro Watabe)
TV series include: The Files of Young Kindaichi (95&96; NTV), Harmonia/The End of this Love (98; NTV, Galaxy Awards Special Mention), Keizoku (99; TBS), Ikebukuro West Gate Park (00; TBS).
Stage work includes: Creative director of Kyoko Koizumi's concert tour (86-87) and Ichiro Furutachi's talk events (95-99) as well as musicals and fashion shows.

ACTORS

Toshiro Yanagiba
Born January 3, 1961. Debuts as actor in the NHK serial drama Mansaku no Hana (Mansaku's flower). Minamie Hashire, Minamino Michio! (86; Run to the south, take the south road!) marks his first appearance in film. Main films include: Firefly (89), Goodbye, My Dear Friend (90), Bayside Shakedown (98), and Senrigan (00).

IZAM
Born April 23, 1972. Forms rock group SHAZNA in 1993 after finishing high school. In August 1997, debuts on a major label with Melty Love. His bewitching feminine fashion style attracts a large audience. Songs like Sumire September Love (97) and Koibito (98; Lover) among others become commercial hits. His most recent single release is Winter's
Review, while SHAZNA's first best hits album was released on January 1, 2000.

WHAT CRITICS SAY

Nikkan Sports Newspaper (May 19, 2000)
Chilling viper IZAM debuts as hitman.
Tries his hand at film acting in CHINESE DINNER scheduled for an autumn release.

Lead vocal IZAM (28) of the rock group SHAZNA, known for its glamorous so-called "visual-kei" look, will debut as lead actor on the big screen in CHINESE DINNER (directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi), a film scheduled for a fall release by Pony Canyon. This first appearance on film marks a new start for IZAM after the divorce from starlet Hinano Yoshikawa (20). He plays the formidable role of a visually stunning hitman. His blue and black dreadlocks and the fierce action scenes with Toshiro Yanagiba (39) will no doubt become talk of the town.

Compelling!
IZAM, known for his feminine makeup and flashy fashion style surprisingly chose a cool hitman as his debut role. "I'm the curious type when it comes to something I've never experienced, so I was thrilled when they asked me. I can't say I wasn't worried, but there was a sense of solid conviction, like "It's gonna work"--the same I felt right before my debut in the music field," he claims enthusiastically.
With his 182cm-tall large frame and outlandish fashion so unlike an assassin, he looks compelling and photogenic on the big screen. In a pre-production session, director Tsutsumi explained his motive for casting IZAM as: "needing a figure with powerful impact." In response, IZAM declares, "My image of the hitman will be something no one else can emulate." Almost all action scenes with guns and fighting were shot without stun tmen. During the shooting, which started in late January, most scenes were okayed on one take. "I've been a Jackie Chan fan since 4th grade, and even took karate lessons as a child. Maybe that experience helped," reflects IZAM.
Effort went into his trademark multi-color hairstyle. It took 13 hours to braid the black-and-blue dreadlocks at his favorite hair salon, in the image of dangerous South African vipers.

A New Beginning
His enthusiasm passed on to others on the set. They claim, "Day by day, we watched his eyes getting fiercer. You could see that he was getting into the role." Director Tsutsumi raves, "I was astonished at the power of his gaze on the other man. His gun handling was fine, too. And the way he could suddenly switch a gentle face to a terrorist'sc It's the rock musician in him that makes his facial expressions change by the second. He is the perfect actor to convey my image of a hitman who embodies various shades of terror."
After last year's divorce from Hinano Yoshikawa, IZAM "became seriously concerned about (his) future direction." It was around then that he was offered this role. The situation underlines his enthusiasm for a new start. This February, there was talk about a new romance with starlet Kido?? Arisaka (20). IZAM says frankly, "We're really just friends."
"Things are really looking up. I feel I want to try out everything. Next time, I want to try playing the role of a traditional courtesan (oiran)," he says.

Without show or display
CHINESE DINNER is filmmaker Yukihiko Tsutsumi's newest feature following his blockbuster Keizoku: Beautiful Dreamer, which raked in 800 million yen for the distributors. Set in a closed banquet room of a Chinese restaurant, two men play out a thrilling psychological battle in which neither can escape without killing the other, using daring camerawork and running high tempo. Tsutsumi says, "Since my previous films allowed me to use expensive sets and overseas production sites, I was thinking about how I could make this film work without going into lavish show or display."

(C)PONYCANYON