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Ken Watanabe: Articles


'Memoirs of a Geisha': Great-Looking But Artificial Period Drama

Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Memoirs of a Geisha There are some movies that are released before their time. Only years or decades later, do they come to be appreciated. In the case Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha, based on Arthur Golden's bestseller about the life and love of a young geisha in pre-World War II Japan, it's the other way around. It is a movie released after – way after – its time. Had the filmmakers chopped off about a third of its endless 145-minute running time, Memoirs of a Geisha would have worked beautifully as a silent film, with intertitles decorated with red and blue lanterns, floating kimonos, Japanese scripts, and abstract drawings of Buddhist temples. Tsuru Aoki […]


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'Memoirs of a Geisha': Great-Looking But Artificial Period Drama



'The Unbroken' Tops Japanese Academy Awards

Ken Watanabe, Tomokazu Miura in The Unbroken Setsuro Wakamatsu's drama The Unbroken was voted the best Japanese film of 2009 at the Japanese Academy Awards ceremony, which was held in Tokyo on March 5. In the controversial drama, best actor winner Ken Watanabe plays an airline union leader fighting for stricter safety regulations following an air crash that left hundreds dead. Corporate corruption, however, gets in the way. The Unbroken was clearly inspired by the Japan Airlines flight 123 crash in 1985, the worst in Japan's aviation history. Veteran cinematographer Daisaku Kimura (Tidal Wave, The Beast Shall Die) was voted best director for his directorial debut, The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones, which earned Teruyuki Kagawa the best supporting actor […]


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'The Unbroken' Tops Japanese Academy Awards



Ken Watanabe, Plane Crash Film: Japanese Academy Award Nominations

Ken Watanabe in The Sun That Doesn't Set / The Unbroken (Shizumanu Taiyo) Setsurô Wakamatsu's The Unbroken, inspired by the 1985 airplane crash that killed 520 people in what remains Japan's worst airline disaster, is one of five films in the running for the Japanese Academy's Best Picture award. (See partial list of nominees below.) The film's star, Ken Watanabe, received a best actor nomination. The other four Best Picture nominees are: Isshin Inudou's Zero Focus, a murder mystery set in postwar Japan Daisaku Kimura's The Summit: A Chronicle of Stones, about a group of men who set out to climb the unconquered peak in the early 1900s Miwa Nishikawa's Dear Doctor, in which a village doctor (best actor nominee […]


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Ken Watanabe, Plane Crash Film: Japanese Academy Award Nominations