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Rookie movie director Koichi and his crew travels to the mountain village of Yamamura to film his next movie. The villagers are eventually enlisted to help film the movie and, in particular, 60-year-old lumberjack Katsuhiko helps against his will. Written by
A small Japanese town becomes involved with the film makers who've come to make a zombie movie.
A lumberjack encounters a movie crew who've come to his small town to make a zombie movie. Kôji Yakusho plays the woodsman. I'd seen him in a few other movies over the years, like The Eel, Cure, or Pulse. In TWATR his character is going about his lumberjack duties, cutting away with his chainsaw, when the producer of the film comes over to ask him to hold down the noise. One thing leads to another and the lumberjack reluctantly starts helping out on the production. He comes to enjoy being there and he turns out to be a good resource for the film company. Slowly the woodsman bonds with the young inexperienced director who's cripplingly shy. They both benefit from the others company and each grows from the relationship. The scenes with Kôji and Shun Oguri, the director, work well and they work well together. More and more the locals are drawn into the production by the woodsman. Some become villagers and become some zombies. All seem to enjoy their movie making experience, making me wish I was there. The scenes with the locals are often amusing and not at their expense. There are a good number of jokes, both about the movie business and about life in general. I found a lot of them funny. There's plenty of nice sentiment without being melodramatic or sappy. There's even a bit of drama. The script is well written and the movie is well shot and directed. It's kind of slow moving, the movie runs 129 minutes, but I didn't find it too long. When there wasn't someone to watch there was plenty of great looking scenery to look at. The movie was filmed in the Gifu Prefecture in an area that's very hilly, heavily wooded and beautiful. I liked the people, I enjoyed spending time with them, and I was sorry to see them go. They seemed like real people and the humor seemed real. I sure enjoyed watching it and while it might not be for everyone I'd sure recommend it.
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