Japanese Story

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Japanese Story
Japanese Story movie.jpg
Directed by Sue Brooks
Produced by Sue Maslin
Written by Alison Tilson
Starring Toni Collette
Gotaro Tsunashima
Music by Elizabeth Drake
Cinematography Ian Baker
Edited by Jill Bilcock
Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films
Release dates
25 September 2003 (Australia)
Running time
110 minutes
Country Australia
Language English, Japanese
Budget $5,740,000[1]
Box office $4,050,497[2]

Japanese Story is a 2003 Australian romantic drama film directed by Sue Brooks. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.[3]


Sandy Edwards (played by Toni Collette) is a director in a company designing geological software in Perth, Western Australia. Her business partner manipulates her into agreeing to act as a guide for a Japanese businessman visiting mines in the Pilbara desert, in hopes that the businessman will purchase her product and have a good impression during his trip. When Hiromitsu Tachibana (Gotaro Tsunashima) arrives, he treats Sandy like an ordinary driver, with more intent on discovering himself in the wilderness than on buying computer software. At first Sandy is angered by his private and demanding nature. During their first travel in the desert, Hiromitsu, feeling insecure, speaks more on his phone with friends in Japan than he does to Sandy driving next to him, and insists that she drives farther than planned. The terrain becomes too much for the pair's vehicle which becomes bogged down. After a series of desperate attempts to release the vehicle, including digging a dead man anchor,[4] their winch burns out. Sandy tries to contact other people for rescue through cellphone, but Hiromitsu keeps stopping her from doing so. This forces them to spend the night stranded together. The next day Hiromitsu, conscious that his actions had placed them in danger, wakes up much earlier than Sandy and builds a wooden sticks track over which they can drive out of the sand. Now that they are on the road again, the ice breaks and a friendship starts between them that, in isolated surroundings uninterrupted by their work, grows quickly and honestly. Later on at a motel, they have sexual intercourse. Only after does Sandy learn that Hiromitsu has a wife and children in Japan.

On another travel to other nature spots, Hiromitsu and Sandy share a quiet moment and kiss each other, eventually having sex again. Afterwards, Sandy takes off her shirt and runs into a swimming hole nearby, where Hiromitsu dives into shallow water before she can warn him. After a moment of frantic calling from Sandy, Hiromitsu's corpse resurfaces. In shock at his sudden death, Sandy struggles in extremity with the necessities of the situation, dragging his body into their vehicle then carefully washing it before driving for hours to reach the nearest town. Back in Perth, Sandy cannot comprehend the violent end to her journey. Reality intrudes in the form of Hiromitsu's grieving widow, Yukiko, leaving Sandy attempting to understand how Hiromitsu's life had ended before she had understood his place in hers.


Box office[edit]

Japanese Story grossed $4,520,000 at the box office in Australia.[5]

Reception and accolades[edit]

Japanese Story received mixed to positive reviews, currently holding an approval rating of 68% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Award Category Subject Result
(2003 AFI Awards)
Best Film Sue Maslin Won
Best Direction Sue Brooks Won
Best Original Screenplay Alison Tilson Won
Best Actor Gotaro Tsunashima Nominated
Best Actress Toni Collette Won
Best Cinematography Ian Baker Won
Best Editing Jill Bilcock Won
Best Original Music Score Elizabeth Drake Won
Best Sound Livia Ruzic Won
Peter Grace Won
Peter Smith Won
Best Production Design Paddy Reardon Nominated
AWGIE Award Best Writing in a Feature Film - Original Alison Tilson Won
Bangkok International Film Festival Golden Kinnaree Award for Best Film Sue Brooks Nominated
Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo - New Directors Competition Nominated
FCCA Awards Best Film Sue Maslin Won
Best Director Sue Brooks Won
Best Original Screenplay Alison Tilson Nominated
Best Female Actor Toni Collette Won
Best Music Score Elizabeth Drake Won
Best Editing Jill Bilcock Nominated
Best Cinematography Ian Baker Won
Inside Film Awards Best Feature Film Sue Maslin Won
Best Direction Sue Brooks Won
Best Script Alison Tilson Nominated
Best Actor Gotaro Tsunashima Nominated
Best Actress Toni Collette Won
Best Cinematography Ian Baker Won
Best Editing Jill Bilcock Nominated
Best Music Elizabeth Drake Nominated
Miami International Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize Sue Brooks Won
Satellite Award Best Actress Toni Collette Nominated
Screen Music Awards, Australia Best Feature Film Score Elizabeth Drake Won

See also[edit]


External links[edit]