Festivals - Fantasia 2020 : Tezuka’s Barbara, Nort American Premiere

By Mulder, 14 august 2020

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“Barbara is the story about a man obsessed with decadence and insanity” – Osamu Tezuka

An abrasive and jazzy adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's adult manga series Barbara (1973-1974), Makoto Tezuka's most recent film (Legend of the stardust brothers) is a loving tribute to one of his father's most controversial and fascinating works. Combining pinku-style eroticism with an exploration of the creative impulse, with a touch of the occult, it is in many ways the rarely shown "dark side" of the rarely shown anime master and Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka, who was inspired by "The Tales of Hoffman" and the counterculture of the 1970s. Filmed by cinematographer Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love, Hero) with rich colours and textures, the story is transposed into a modern, whimsical and subtly anachronistic Tokyo that moves to the rhythm of the unbridled piano music of Ichiko Hashimoto. A dizzying story of desire and ambition.

Synopsis :
One night, famous novelist Yosuke Mikura (Gorô Inagaki) encounters a young, seemingly homeless woman in an overpass tunnel. Hearing her recite Verlaine’s “Chanson d’automne” out of the blue – a mermaid’s chant in a concrete ocean – he decides to bring her home to his condominium. Her name is Barbara (Fumi Nikaido). She’s bad-mannered, constantly drunk, flirtatious, but nonetheless, she points out the obvious: Mikura – for all his inflated sense of self, friends in very high places and thoroughly successful career as an upscale smut peddler – isn’t all that. He’s the kind of guy to wear sunglasses at night, sure, but his star is fading, and perhaps he could use a change. A muse? How convenient! The encounter with Barbara reignites his confidence and sets him a path of increasingly bizarre sexual encounters. Barbara, never too far behind, seems to exert a strange influence on the writer…

Tezuka’s Barbara
Directed by Macoto Tezka
Produced by Shunsuke Koga, Adam Torel
Written by Hisako Kurosawa
Starring Goro Inagaki, Shizuka Ishibashi, Fumi Nikaido, Kiyohiko Shibukawa
Music by Ichiko Hashimoto
Cinematography : Christopher Doyle
Edited by Macoto Tezuka
Release date : November 3 2019 (Japan)
Running time : 100mns

(Source : Fantasia 2020 official website)