One Cut of the Dead

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One Cut of the Dead
Kamera-o-tomeru-na-japanese-movie-poster-md.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Japaneseカメラを止めるな!
HepburnKamera o Tomeru na!
LiterallyDon't Stop the Camera!
Directed byShin'ichirō Ueda
Screenplay byShin'ichirō Ueda
Produced byKoji Ichihashi
Starring
CinematographyTsuyoshi Sone[1]
Edited byShin'ichirō Ueda[1]
Music by
  • Nobuhiro Suzuki
  • Kailu Nagai[1]
Production
company
Enbu Seminar[1]
Release date
  • November 2017 (2017-11) (Japan)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese
Budget¥3 million ($25,000)
Box office¥3.12 billion (Japan)
$31.2 million (worldwide)

One Cut of the Dead (カメラを止めるな!, Kamera o Tomeru na!, transl. "Don't Stop the Camera!") is a 2017 Japanese[1][2] comedy film written and directed by Shin'ichirō Ueda. It follows a team of actors and filmmakers who are tasked with shooting a zombie film for live television, and who must do so in a single take.

Made with a low budget of ¥3 million ($25,000) with a cast of unknown actors, the film opened in Japan in a small theatre for a six-day run. Following its international success at its screening at the Udine Film Festival, the film began getting wider exposure, including a re-release in Japan. It grossed US $27,935,711 (¥3.12 billion) in Japan and $30.5 million worldwide, making box office history by earning over a thousand times its budget.[3] The film also received acclaim from critics, who praised its originality, writing and humor.

Plot[edit]

In the first section of the film, the cast and crew of a low-budget zombie film called One Cut of the Dead are shooting at an abandoned water filtration plant. Director Higurashi, desperate for film success due to mounting debts, and frustrated at the actors' work, arranges for a blood pentagram to be painted to activate real zombies per the plant's haunted past. Cameraman Hosoda turns into a zombie and bites assistant director Kasahara, turning him as well. Actress Chinatsu, actor Ko, and makeup artist Nao lock the zombies out of the plant. Higurashi insists they continue filming using the real zombies. Sound engineer Yamago rushes out of the plant and is infected. Higurashi brings zombified Yamago back in for more footage, throwing him at the other humans. Nao decapitates zombified Yamago and is splattered with zombie blood, possibly infecting her.

Chinatsu, Ko, and Nao attempt to escape, but Higurashi facilitates an attack by zombified Kasahara while he films. Chinatsu is confronted by the zombies and saved by Ko. They reunite with Nao, who suspects that Chinatsu is infected. Nao attempts to kill Chinatsu and chases her, dispatching the zombies in the process during the chase. Offscreen, Ko kills Nao to save Chinatsu. Also offscreen, a zombified Nao infects Ko. An unidentified zombie approaches Chinatsu and leaves. Chinatsu confronts zombified Ko in a repeat of the scene at the start of the film, after briefly being interrupted by zombified Nao, Chinatsu decapitates zombified Ko. Higurashi berates Chinatsu for killing his 'actor'. Chinatsu kills Higurashi, and she ends the first section by standing on the blood pentagram in a trance-like state.

The second section of the film involves the personal lives of the real cast and crew of the One Cut of the Dead production as they prepare to make the one-shot take. One Cut of the Dead is also revealed to be a live show, so no reshoots or delays are possible.

The third section of the film depicts the chaotic shooting of One Cut of the Dead from behind the scenes. Two main actors could not make filming, forcing director Takayuki Hamatsu and his wife Harumi Shuhama to step in to fill the roles of Higurashi and Nao. It is revealed that during the shooting, Harumi Shuhama overacted his first scene by physically accosting his fellow actor, then Manabu Hosoi (who played Hosoda) passed out drunk and later vomited, Shuntaro Yamazaki's diarrhea led to his character Yamago leaving the plant off-script, the main cameraman suffered a back injury and was replaced, Harumi Shuhama went off-script and attacked various real cast and crew during the scene of Nao chasing Chinatsu, forcing Takayuki Hamatsu to choke her out, and later forcibly remove a revived Harumi Shuhama from interrupting the ending scene between Chinatsu and Ko. It is also revealed that the zombie which did not attack Chinatsu was a crew member giving instructions, while the camera crane was broken in an accident, leading to the real cast and crew forming a human pyramid to mimic a crane shot for the end of the first section. The faux-crane shot is successful, and the real cast and crew are elated at the successful filming.

Cast[edit]

  • Takayuki Hamatsu as Higurashi
  • Yuzuki Akiyama as Chinatsu
  • Kazuaki Nagaya as Ko
  • Harumi Shuhama as Nao
  • Manabu Hosoi as Hosoda
  • Hiroshi Ichihara as Kasahara
  • Shuntaro Yamazaki as Yamago
  • Shinichiro Osawa
  • Yoshiko Takehara (Donguri)
  • Sakina Asamori
  • Miki Yoshida
  • Ayana Goda
  • Mao

Production[edit]

The cast and director of One Cut of the Dead in July 2018

Filmmaker Shin'ichirō Ueda directed, edited, and wrote the script for One Cut of the Dead.[1] Ueda, an independent filmmaker, had previously made several short films.[4] For the film, he stated that One Cut of the Dead was partially inspired by Ryoichi Wada's stage play, Ghost in the Box, which Ueda had seen five years prior.[5] Wada, a playwright and theater director, had presented Ghost in the Box from 2011 to 2014.[6]

To make his film, Ueda worked with the Enbu Seminar drama school in Tokyo. Enbu Seminar not only produced the film, but also hosted the acting workshops that Ueda used to help cast its actors, most of them unknowns.[4] According to actress Yuzuki Akiyama, the workshop lasted for two months.[7] She had previously worked with Ueda on his 2011 short film, Dreaming Novelist.[8]

Filming for One Cut of the Dead took place over the course of eight days in June 2017.[8] It was shot at a water filtration plant in Mito, Ibaraki that had been abandoned.[4] Akiyama described the filming process as "very enjoyable but also pretty exhausting", due to the pressure to get a long take right.[8] The long take in particular, a 37-minute-long continuous shot of the zombie film, took six takes.[7]

One Cut of the Dead was made for ¥3 million (approximately $25,000 at the time),[1] and was partially crowdfunded.[9] After the eight days of shooting, it took four months for Ueda to edit the film.[7]

Release[edit]

Producer and Enbu Seminar president Koji Ichihashi stated that the initial target for the film to break even was 5,000 admissions.[4][10] One Cut of the Dead opened in Japan in an 84-seat Tokyo art house theater with an initial theatrical run of six days.[1] The film began garnering international attention after it became the runner-up in the audience vote at the Udine Far East Film Festival.[2] Of the films screening at Udine, it received a standing ovation and the Audience Award at the Udine Far East Film Festival in year 2018.[1]

After receiving positive reviews outside of Japan, the film was released in three cinemas in Tokyo in June with discounts for an audience in zombie costumes to help the film gain attention.[1] Asmik Ace stepped in to co-distribute the film, giving it a wider release in July. It was showing at around 200 screens in Japan by March 2018 where it had officially grossed ¥800 million.[1]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

In Japan, the film sold 2,149,449 tickets and grossed ¥3,040,246,069 in 136 days.[11] It became the seventh highest-grossing domestic film of 2018, grossing ¥3.12 billion ($28.3 million) at the Japanese box office.[12][13] It made box office history by earning over a thousand times its budget.[3]

Overseas, the film grossed NT$53 million (US$1.72 million) in Taiwan,[14] HK$7.06 million (US$900,981) in Hong Kong,[15] $154,123 in South Korea,[16] $52,406 in the United States and Canada, and $2,903 in Iceland,[17] for a worldwide total of $31,178,962.

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 100% "Certified Fresh" approval rating based on 91 reviews, with an average rating of 8.6/10. The site's critical consensus states, "Brainy and bloody in equal measure, One Cut of the Dead reanimates the moribund zombie genre with a refreshing blend of formal daring and clever satire."[18] Metacritic reports an 86 out of 100 score, based on 14 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[19]

Writing for Variety, Richard Kuipers declared the film to be a "marvelously inventive horror-comedy [that] breathes new life into the zombie genre", and attributed its success to "its irresistibly bouncy spirit [...] it positively sparkles with the infectious “C’mon everyone, let’s put on a show!” enthusiasm that’s served the movies so well since the days of Andy Hardy."[2] Elizabeth Kerr of The Hollywood Reporter found the film to be "a breezy and often laugh-out-loud hilarious zombie comedy", noting that although the film "sags in the second act as it sets up the third, it’s not so much that it loses all the steam it generated out of the gate."[1] David Ehrlich of IndieWire, opined that the film was "so heartfelt and hilarious that it’s easy to forgive the contrivances that hold it together, and to overlook how transparently Ueda reverse-engineers most of his best gags. Seemingly unimportant details in the film’s sluggish middle section blossom into killer jokes some 30 minutes later"[20]

Alleged plagiarism[edit]

In August 2018, Ryoichi Wada gave an interview where he stated that One Cut of the Dead was an adaptation of Ghost in the Box, and that he was consulting with his legal representatives.[21] The month before, Wada had remarked on social media that he enjoyed the film.[5] Ueda acknowledged that Ghost in the Box was an inspiration for his film, but denied that he plagiarized the play.[21][22] Both Ueda and Wada eventually came to an agreement, crediting Wada and acknowledging Ghost in the Box in One Cut of the Dead's credits.[6]

Awards[edit]

Award Category Nominee Result
43rd Hochi Film Awards[23] Best Picture One Cut of the Dead Nominated
Special Award Won
Best Director Shinichiro Ueda Nominated
Best New Artist Nominated
31st Nikkan Sports Film Awards[24] Best Film One Cut of the Dead Nominated
Yūjirō Ishihara Award Won
Best Director Shinichiro Ueda Nominated
Best Newcomer Nominated
40th Yokohama Film Festival[25] Special Jury Prize One Cut of the Dead Won
73rd Mainichi Film Awards[26] Best Director Shinichiro Ueda Won
Best Screenplay Nominated
61st Blue Ribbon Awards[27] Best Film One Cut of the Dead Won
Best Director Shinichiro Ueda Nominated
28th Tokyo Sports Film Awards[28] Best Film One Cut of the Dead Nominated
Best Director Shinichiro Ueda Won
Best Actor Takayuki Hamatsu Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Harumi Shuhama Nominated
Best Newcomer Won
42nd Japan Academy Prize[29] Picture of the Year One Cut of the Dead Nominated
Best Director Shinichiro Ueda Nominated
Best Actor Takayuki Hamatsu Nominated
Best Screenplay Shinichiro Ueda Nominated
Best Music Nobuhiro Suzuki, Shōma Itō, and Kyle Nagai Nominated
Best Cinematography Takeshi Sone Nominated
Best Sound Recording Kōkichi Komoda Nominated
Best Film Editing Shinichiro Ueda Won
13th Asian Film Awards Best New Director Shinichiro Ueda Nominated

Sequels[edit]

One Cut of the Dead Spin-Off : In Hollywood [30] (カメラを止めるな!スピンオフ ハリウッド大作戦!, Kamera o Tomeru na! Supin-ofu: Hariuddo daisakusen!, transl. "Don't Stop the Camera! Spin-Off : World-Wide") is a 59-minute feature that was made in 2019 for TV in Japan. Instead of Takayuki Higurashi, this film is about how his daughter Harumi Higurashi makes a film just like what he did in One Cut of the Dead.

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic in Japan, Ueda decided to create a short film One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote [31] (カメラを止めるな!リモート大作戦!, Kamera o Tomeru na! Rimōto dai sakusen!, transl. "Don't Stop the Camera! Remote Operation!") that would act as a sequel to One Cut of the Dead. The filmmaker wanted to create something that would lighten the mood during the pandemic, stating, "I started to wonder if there was anything positive I could do to try to put a smile on people’s faces through some light form of entertainment."[4] After contacting the actors to confirm they would be able to reprise their role, Ueda wrote the script in one night, and gave the actors instructions via video conference. The actors were instructed to take selfie footage while in-character, then send the footage to the director via a smartphone messaging app.[4] In addition, Ueda asked people on social media to upload video of themselves dancing to include in the movie.[4][32]

The overall production of One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote took place in around a month. It was uploaded to YouTube for people to watch for free on 1 May 2020.[32]

Remake[edit]

A French-language remake titled Final Cut, directed by Michel Hazanavicius and starring Romain Duris and Bérénice Bejo, began its production in April 2021.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kerr, Elizabeth (20 March 2018). "'One Cut of the Dead': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Kuipers, Richard (5 May 2018). "Film Review: 'One Cut of the Dead'". Variety. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b Nguyen, Hanh (31 December 2018). "'One Cut of the Dead': A Bootleg of the Japanese Zombie Comedy Mysteriously Appeared on Amazon". IndieWire. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Hernon, Matthew (8 May 2020). "'One Cut of the Dead' director Shinichiro Ueda brings teleworking to Japan's film industry". The Japan Times. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  5. ^ a b Blair, Gavin J. (21 August 2018). "The $27,000 Zombie Film That Refuses to Die at the Japanese Box Office". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b Frater, Patrick (20 March 2019). "Japanese Sleeper Hit 'One Cut of the Dead' Heads for English Remake (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Sahani, Alaka (16 January 2019). "A Cut Above the Rest". The Indian Express. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Hernon, Matthew (11 January 2019). ""One Cut of the Dead" Star Yuzuki Akiyama on the Movie's Surprise Mega-Success". Tokyo Weekender. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  9. ^ Schilling, Mark (31 May 2018). "Japan Debates the Ethics of Making Films on the Cheap". Variety. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  10. ^ Schilling, Mark (23 October 2018). "'One Cut of the Dead' Passes 2 Million Admissions Mark". Variety. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  11. ^ "『カメ止め』30億円突破、サラダパンとタイア". Bunka Tsūshin. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  12. ^ "2018". Eiren. Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  13. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (31 December 2018). "Top 10 Grossing Domestic Japanese, Foreign Films of 2018 Listed". Anime News Network. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  14. ^ "一屍到底-票房收入". Dorama. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  15. ^ "One Cut of the Dead (2018)". EntGroup. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  16. ^ "One Cut of the Dead - Financial Information South Korea". The Numbers. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  17. ^ "One Cut of the Dead". Box Office Mojo. October 2019. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  18. ^ "One Cut of the Dead (Kamera o tomeru na!) (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
  19. ^ "One Cut of the Dead (Kamera o tomeru na!) (2017)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  20. ^ Ehrlich, David (3 August 2018). "'One Cut of the Dead' Review: The Best Zombie Comedy Since 'Shaun of the Dead' — Fantasia 2018". Indiewire. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  21. ^ a b Schilling, Mark (23 August 2018). "Zombie Comedy 'One Cut of the Dead' Attracts Crowds and Controversy". Variety. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  22. ^ Schilling, Mark (19 December 2018). "As two rule breakers gave the Japanese film world hope in 2018, elsewhere eyes turned to China". The Japan Times. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  23. ^ "「カメ止め」報知映画賞の特別賞に、上田慎一郎をキャストが祝福". Natalie. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  24. ^ "「カメラを止めるな!」石原裕次郎賞受賞記念特集". Nikkan Sports. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  25. ^ "『第40回ヨコハマ映画祭 2018年日本映画個人賞". Yokohama eigasai. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  26. ^ "柄本佑&安藤サクラ、主演賞を"夫婦独占" 『第73回 毎日映画コンクール』". Oricon. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  27. ^ "ブルーリボン賞決定 舘ひろし、門脇麦らが受賞 作品賞は「カメ止め」 受賞者作品一覧". Sports Hōchi. 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  28. ^ "たけしが選ぶ東スポ映画大賞で「万引き家族」4冠!新人賞はしゅはまはるみ". Natalie. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  29. ^ "【日本アカデミー賞全リスト】「万引き家族」最多8冠!孤狼の血、カメ止めにも栄誉". Natalie. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  30. ^ Nakaizumi, Yûya (2 March 2019), Kamera o tomeru na! supin-ofu: Hariuddo daisakusen! (Comedy, Horror), Mao, Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama, Sakina Asamori, CyberAgent, ENBU Seminar, St'Blue Co., retrieved 16 February 2021
  31. ^ "One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote | A japanese short film completely made remotely!! - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  32. ^ a b Sato, Misuzu (2 June 2020). "'One Cut of the Dead' sequel captures climate of coronavirus". The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  33. ^ Goodfellow, Melanie (30 April 2021). "Michel Hazanavicius' 'Final Cut' begins shoot in Paris, Bérénice Bejo joins cast (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Retrieved 30 April 2021.

External links[edit]