First Images Arrive From Tran Anh Hung's Adaptation of Murakami's NORWEGIAN WOOD!

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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First Images Arrive From Tran Anh Hung's Adaptation of Murakami's NORWEGIAN WOOD!
When word of the upcoming adaptation of Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood first came out my only response was "Perfect. Just perfect." While there is very much a aprt of me that would love to see someone tackle one of his more surreal pieces - A Wild Sheep Chase or The Wind Up Bird Chronicle could be stellar in the right hands - the reality is that it makes far more sense to start with one of his more accessible and realistic novels for a first adaption, the only previous Murakami to make it to the big screen being based on a short story.  And of Murakami's more straight forward works Norwegian Wood is a great favorite, a melancholic riff on young love.  And the news that Tran Anh Hung - the Vietnamese director of Cyclo and The Scent of Green Papaya - was the man bringing Murakami to the screen ... well, I couldn't imagine a better choice.

But things have been quiet since.  Shooting began long ago and, I presume, wrapped a good while back as well but the film has been kept well out of the public eye.  No more!  Wild Grounds has just unearthed an extensive collection of stills from the picture and they deliver just what I'd hoped for. 

"I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me."

The melancholy tune and sentiment of this classic Beatles song seems to have taken the life of Toru Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama), who is similarly uncertain as to how he should view his relationships. At heart, a quiet and serious young Tokyo college student in 1969, Watanabe, is deeply devoted to his first love, Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their mutual passion is made by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Watanabe lives with the influence of death everywhere, while Naoko feels as if some integral part of her has been permanently lost. On the night of Naoko's 20th birthday, they finally made love to each other. However, shortly thereafter Naoko decided to quit college and become a recluse. It is at that time Midori (Kiko Mizuhara) - a girl who is everything that Naoko is not - outgoing, vivacious, supremely self-confident - marches into Watanabe's life and he has to choose between his future and his past.

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Tran Anh HungHaruki MurakamiKen'ichi MatsuyamaRinko KikuchiKiko MizuharaKengo KôraDramaRomance

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mrhibbertJanuary 13, 2010 2:44 PM

Yes. Definite yes. Can't wait.

Matthew LeeJanuary 13, 2010 3:03 PM

See, at one point I would have squealed like a little girl, but that was before I saw I Come with the Rain and now I just don't know any more. I practically worship Murakami, though, so I'll more than likely give it a shot regardless.

Todd BrownJanuary 13, 2010 3:16 PM

I think Murakami suits Tran better than a big action thriller does, though.

Matthew LeeJanuary 13, 2010 4:05 PM

Oh, this may well be true. I freely admit I haven't actually seen anything else by him, I just know of his career prior to ICwtR. Still, my point was more 'If he can go that far off the rails...'

ApplecartJanuary 15, 2010 11:54 PM

love them stills :)

brassynJanuary 17, 2010 6:56 AM

These look right and absolutely feel right. Ken'ichi Matsuyama is a great casting choice. Really looking forward to this. Although, Norwegian Wood isn't not my favourite Murakami, I prefer the less straight forward novels.

zipbangboomFebruary 9, 2010 3:45 PM

"the only previous Murakami to make it to the big screen being based on a short story."

'hear the wind sing' (kazuki omori, 1980)
trailer viewable here: