- Director: TOYODA Toshiaki
2000 Japanese Subtitled in English Color 35mm 98 min
Production Company: Film-Makers / Little More Co.
Producer: KIKUCHI Miyoshi, TSUCHII Tomoo
Photography: TOYODA Toshiaki
Editing: KUSAKABE Mototaka
Music: SOUL FLOWER UNION
Sound: KAKIZAWA Kiyoshi
International Sales: Little More Co., Inc.
3-3-24 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062 JAPAN
[Festivals and prizes] Toronto, Vancouver, Pusan, Stockholm 2000, Exground Germany, Hong Kong, Fajr, and others
[Synopsis] Rising director is back with a docu featuring four boxers, a story about dreams and disillusionment.
Even before his striking directorial debut with PORNOSTAR in ’98, Toyoda had been filming a retired boxer, “Unchain” Kaji and three boxer friends. Kaji named himself after the Ray Charles anthem, Unchain My Heart, hoping to live his life unbridled and free. But reality has been harsh. In the ring, he lost six fights out of seven, the last being a draw. He is forced to leave professional boxing without a single win to his record. He starts a con business bumming off workers, but is chased by yakuza and labor unions. One day, Kaji arms his body with explosives, empties a bucket of paint over his head, and storms the workers’ center. He is promptly put in a mental institution.
Born in 1968 in Osaka, Japan. He was member of the prestigious Shogi (Japanese chess) Promotion Association from age 9 to 17. Entered the film industry as screenwriter for Sakamoto Junji with Checkmate (Ote; ’91). After some scriptwriting credits including Biliken (’96), he wrote and directed PORNOSTAR, a hip and fierce feature set on the streets of Shibuya, Tokyo. PORNOSTAR won awards in Japan and was received wildly by audiences in festivals in Stockholm, Hawaii, Helsinki, Leeds, and more. His fourth film as director is 9 SOULS (’03).