4 March 2014 5:40 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

A lengthy but big-hearted sports saga set in 1931, “Kano” traces how a ragtag baseball team made up of farm boys from southern Taiwan made it to the finals at Koshien, Japan’s national high-school baseball championship. Co-penned and produced by hitmaker Wei Te-sheng and directed by tyro helmer Umin Boya, this $10 million production reps a landmark feat in the way it revisits Taiwan’s long-suppressed colonial past with great authenticity and resplendent style, yielding a diffuse but nuanced drama anchored by Masatoshi Nagase’s masterful performance as the inspiring coach. Still, viewers will have to really love baseball to stay focused on the games, which take up the lion’s share of the three-hour running time. Pic has earned a terrific $2.2 million domestically in just four days, but overseas biz will be hit-or-miss.

Scripted by Wei and Ruby Chen, the fact-based film is set in the county of Chia-yi, »

- Maggie Lee

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