- Shunji Iwai
caption=Shunji Iwai, filming 2004s "Hana & Alice".
birth_date=Birth date and age|1963|1|24|mf=y
Shunji Iwai (岩井俊二 "Iwai Shunji", born January 24, 1963 in Sendai,
Japan, Miyagi prefecture). Iwai is a Japanese film director/video artist, writerand documentarian.
Yokohama National University, graduating in 1987. In 1988 he started out in the Japanese entertainment industry by directing TV dramas and music videos. Then, in 1993, his TV drama, "Fireworks", brought him critical praise and an award from the Japanese Director's Association for his portrayal of a group of children in the town of Iioka.
In 1995 he went on to start his career in feature films, starting with the box-office hit "
Love Letter", in which he cast pop singer Miho Nakayamain challenging dual roles. "Love Letter" also launched the movie career of Miki Sakaiwho won a Japanese Academy Awardas 'Newcomer of the Year' for her portrayal of Itsuki Fujii as a young girl. Iwai collaborated with cinematographer Noboru Shinodato produce a film praised for its evocative winter cinematography. "Love Letter" made an impact in other east Asian countries too, notably South Koreawhere the film's success helped break down the post-World War II barriers to Japanese films being shown there.
In 1996 came the commercial and critical success of "Swallowtail Butterfly", a multifaceted story of the fictional Yen Town, a city of immigrants in search of hope and a better life with three separate and distinct main characters. Ageha (
Ayumi Ito), an orphaned teenage girl, Glico (Chara), a prostitute turned pop star, and Feihong ( Hiroshi Mikami), an immigrant who manages Glico's career and owns the Yen Town club.
Iwai enjoyed another kind of success with this film as well, having teamed up with
Takeshi Kobayashito create the music for the film and the Yen Town Band, headed by Pop star Chara. The band they created became a commercial hit in Japan. He would team up with Kobayashi again in 2001 for the harrowing High School Drama " All About Lily Chou-Chou". Kobayashi would create the music for the titular pop star, Lily Chou-Chou (voiced by Japanese singer Salyu), that is spread through the film (as well as Debussy), and later be released as an album entitled "Kokyu (Breathe)".
In 2002 he released a short, "ARITA", in which he composed his own film score for the first time. In 2004 Iwai released "Hana & Alice", his first comedy. He once again composed the film score himself.
His next project, a piece he's written about the Japanese indie Rock scene in the mid 1990s called "Bandage", is slated for release in late 2006. It will be helmed by
Ryuhei Kitamura, of Azumifame. Curiosity has spread over why Iwai is not directing his own script, but no answer has been revealed. He has recently directed a commercial airing in Japan featuring Matsu Takako, whom he has not worked with since 1998.
October, 2006 sees the Iwai produced film
Rainbow Songreleased in Japan. The film is directed by Naoto Kumazawa and was written by Ami Sakurai. It stars previous Iwai actors Hayato Ichihara, Yu Aoiand Shoko Aida. Also in 2006, Iwai spent time documenting and interviewing Kon Ichikawawhile filming The Inugamis(Inugamike no ichizoku - 2006) to create a feature length documentary about the director's life.
New York, I Love You" (2008)
Hōtai Club" (2007) (Writer only; credited as Aminosan)
The Kon Ichikawa Story" (2006)
Rainbow Song" (2006) (Producer and Writer)
# "Hana & Alice" (2004)
30 days with the Japanese National Football Team" (2002)
Jam Films" (2002) - segment "ARITA"
All About Lily Chou-Chou" (2001)
The Kids Who Wanted to View Fireworks from Another Perspective" (1999)
April Story" (1998)
# "" (1997)
# "" (1996)
# "Swallowtail Butterfly" (1996)
# "Picnic" (1996)
Love Letter" (aka " When I Close My Eyes " (US)) (1995)
Lunatic Love" (1994)
Undo (Film)" (1994)
The Snow King" (1993)
Fried Dragon Fish" (1993)
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?" (1993) - (Abbr: Fireworks)
Omelette (Film)" (1992)
A Summer Solstice Story" (1992)
A Tin of Crab Meat" (1992)
Maria (Film)" (1992)
Ghost Soup" (1992)
The Man Who Came to Kill" (1991)
Unknown Child (Film)" (1991)
"Hana & Alice"
* Best Actress:
Yû Aoi, 2005 - Japanese Professional Movie Award
All About Lily Chou-Chou"
* 2002 -
Berlin International Film Festival: The C.I.C.A.E. Panorama Prize.
* 2002 -
6th Shanghai International Film Festival: Special Jury Award / Best Music.
* 1998 -
Pusan International Film Festival, Audience Award.
* 1998 -
Fant-Asia Film Festival, Best Asian Film.
Montreal Film FestivalAudience Award.
Houchi Cinema Award: Best Director.
Nikkan Sports Movie Award: Best New Comer.
Kinema Junpo Best 10: Reader's poll for Directors.
Mainichi Movie Competition: Best Japanese Movie.
Yokohama Film Festival: Production Award, Director Award.
Osaka Film Festival: Production Award, Best New Director.
Academy Award in Japan: Best Production.
ACA Film Award: Best Film Production.
Arts Recommendations: New Comer Award from the Ministry of Culture.
Takasaki Film Festival: Grand Prix of young directors.
* 1996 -
Berlin International Film Festival, Forum of new cinema Prize of the Readers of the Berliner Zeitung.
* 1995 -
Berlin International Film Festival, Forum of new cinema, Netpac Award.
* 1993 -
Japanese Film Directors Association, Best New Comer Award.
* 1991 -
Galaxy Award, Dranma dos Award.
Cinema of Japan
* [http://yentown.co.jp/ The Yen Town Report (Official Website)]
* [http://www.jmdb.ne.jp/person/p0387030.htm Iwai Shunji's JMDb Listing] Ja icon
* [http://www.csfd.cz/herec.php?3673 Iwai Shunji's CSFD Listing] Cs icon
* [http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/007195.html Twitch Film on Niji no Megami Rainbow Song]
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