Japan and America have had an interesting cinematic exchange going on ever since the 1950s. Akira Kurosawa’s samurai films – themselves informed by the aesthetics of westerns – were in turn transformed into American westerns. More recently, directors like Quentin Tarantino have helped produce Japanese films that mimic American westerns (check out the crazy Sukiyaki Western Django, if you don’t believe me). That exchange now continues with the Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, now titled Yurusarezaru mono and starring Ken Watanabe.
We already had a teaser for the film awhile back; now we have the full Japanese language trailer. Watanabe plays the lone gunman, now living a peaceful life at home, who takes on bounty hunting work. The film is written and directed by Sang-il Lee, based on David Webb’s original Unforgiven script. It also stars Akira Emoto, Jun Kunimura, Yuya Yagira, Eiko Koike, Shiori Kutsuna and Koichi Sato.
If you’ve seen Unforgiven, you’ll recognize many images from Yurusarezaru mono. It looks like an almost direct remake, not a re-imagining, with Watanabe suitably grungy in the Eastwood role. But this one is indeed set in Japan, not a Japanese imagining of the American West. The images in the trailer are gorgeous and very much in keeping with the source material. At the end of the day, this film looks like exactly what it is: a Japanese version of a latter-day American western.
Warner Brothers produced the remake and will be releasing Yurusarezaru mono (Unforgiven) in Japanese theatres sometime in September 2013.
No word yet on an American release date, but given WB’s involvement and the name recognition for Watanabe in America, there’s a good chance we’ll at least get a DVD release sometime next year.
Check out the (un-subtitled) trailer for Yurusarezaru mono (Unforgiven) below and let us know what you think in the comments.