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 that designs 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 he will purchase the software. When Hiromitsu Tachibana (Gotaro Tsunashima) arrives, he treats Sandy like a chauffeur, and he seems more intent on self-discovery in the wilderness than on buying computer software. At first, Sandy is angered by his reserved, demanding demeanor. On their first journey into the desert, Hiromitsu, feeling insecure, talks more on his phone with friends in Japan than he does to Sandy. He also insists that she drive farther than planned. The terrain proves too much for the pair's vehicle, which becomes bogged down in the sand. After a series of desperate attempts to release the vehicle, including digging a dead man anchor,[4] their winch burns out. Sandy wants to use Hiromitsu's phone to call people who can rescue them, but Hiromitsu refuses. This forces them to spend the night stranded together. The next day, Hiromitsu, conscious that his refusal had placed them in danger, wakes up much earlier than Sandy and builds a track of sticks over which they can drive out of the sand. The maneuver is successful. 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, at a motel, they have sex. Only after does Sandy learn that Hiromitsu has a wife and children in Japan.

On another journey to scenic spots, Hiromitsu and Sandy share a quiet moment and kiss each other, eventually having sex again. Afterwards, Sandy runs into a swimming hole nearby. Hiromitsu follows her, diving into the shallow water before she can warn him, and disappears. Sandy frantically calls for him and, after a moment, his lifeless body resurfaces. In shock at his sudden death, Sandy struggles to deal with the situation, dragging his body into their vehicle and carefully washing it before driving for hours to 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, and Sandy tries 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]