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La Biennale di Venezia

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Zan (Killing)

Venezia 75 Competition
Shinya Tsukamoto
Kaijyu Theater (Shinya Tsukamoto)
Running Time:
Main Cast:
Sousuke Ikematsu, Yu Aoi, Tatsuya Nakamura, Shinya Tsukamoto, Ryusei Maeda
Shinya Tsukamoto
Shinya Tsukamoto, Satoshi Hayashi
Shinya Tsukamoto
Production Designer:
Tsuyoshi Endo
Costume Designer:
Harue Miyamoto
Chu Ishikawa
Masaya Kıtada


After about 250 years of peace in Japan, samurai warriors in the mid-19th century were impoverished. Consequently, many left their masters to become wandering ronin. Mokunoshin Tsuzuki is one such samurai. To maintain his swordsmanship skills, Mokunoshin spars daily with Ichisuke, a farmer’s son. Ichisuke’s sister Yu watches them train with a hint of disapproval although there’s an unspoken attraction between her and Mokunoshin. While farm life is peaceful, there is monumental turmoil in Japan. The US Navy has sent Commodore Perry to Japan to insist that it trades with them. This in turn causes civil unrest. Yu is concerned as she senses that Mokunoshin will soon leave to join the impending civil war, and consequently die. One day the three of them come across two dueling samurai. The winner is Jirozaemon Sawamura, a mild-mannered yet skillful ronin. Sawamura stays in the village to look for other potential warriors when a group of outlaw ronin arrives. The villagers have heard terrifying rumors about the outlaw’s leader, Sezaemon Genda. When the hot-blooded Ichisuke takes on the outlaws, the direction of their lives drastically changes.

Director’s Statement

A young ronin who stares at his sword with ardor.
This was the germ of an idea that I’d first had years ago.
How will I kill another person with this sword? How can I?
Some samurai must have thought that.
Even if it’s my master’s order, how can I bring myself to do it?
Wouldn’t some of them have thought so?
In Nobi I explored the ultimate horror of war, so this time I wanted an entirely different theme for my movie. Then that line that had been floating in my head, became the kernel for this movie. As I inhaled the current state of the world I had an urge to let it out like a scream. The single line inflated into a story and, with an incredible cast of performers and a dependable crew, I had a movie. A movie that is simple, relevant, and gives voice to my scream. Travelling back in time from the 1940s of Nobi and condensing all the firearms into one sword drew me a little closer to the essence of man.


PRODUCTION 1: Kaijyu Theater
1-32-4-402, Nishisugamo, Toshima-ku
1700001 – Tokyo, Japan
Tel. + 81 33949507

WORLD SALES: Kawai Emico - Nikkatsu Corporation
3-28-12, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku
1130033 – Tokyo, Japan
Tel. +81 356891014

PRESS OFFICE: Gloria Zerbinati
+33 (0)7 86 80 02 82 (also on whatsapp)
+39 338 12 00 517

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Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema