Tokyo Festival Star Hiroki Hasegawa on Getting in Touch With Different Experiences

Variety | 10/26/2018 | Mark Schilling
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One of the many tall, slender, handsome guys who populate (and in some cases over-populate) Japanese TV dramas and films, Hiroki Hasegawa is also not the usual model-turned-actor. After graduating from Tokyo’s Chuo University, he joined the famed Bungei-za theater company, an incubator of acting talent for generations, and appeared in productions by renowned stage director Yukio Ninagawa.

After turning 30, he began to act on TV, and several years later, in films. Now 42, he has worked with such internationally known auteurs as Sion Sono (“Why Don’t You Play In ****?”) and Kiyoshi Kurosawa (“Before We Vanish”), while winning a 2017 Japan Academy best actor prize for his work in the smash “Shin Godzilla.”

Hasesgawa - Stars - Films - Year - Tokyo

Hasesgawa stars in two films at this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival: Junji Sakamoto’s dark drama “Another World,” which screens in competition, and Daishi Matsunaga’s “Hekishu,” the Myanmar-set segment of the three-part omnibus “Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2018: Journey.”

A coproduction of the Japan Foundation Asia Center and TIFF, “Hekishu” centers on Suzuki (Hasegawa) the employee of a Japanese trading company who has been sent to Yangon to speed up the country’s lumbering trains. As he rides those trains and wanders the local market he deepens his acquaintance with the Burmese, particularly a pretty seamstress (Nandar Myat Aung) he hires to make a longyi, a cylindrical cloth worn by both men and women.

Film - Theme - Clash - Chord - Hasegawa

The film’s theme of the clash between old and new, traditional and modern, struck a personal chord with Hasegawa. “We were shooting out in the countryside, where the old ways still hold strong, but where change is coming,” he says. “It reminded me of the Japanese countryside I saw as a kid, but is now totally different.”

His character, Suzuki, starts to feel conflicted as he realizes that his mission may have its downside. “Progress may bring destruction,”...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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