A special premiere of “Sougen no Isu” (A Chair on the Plains), a movie by a Japanese award-winning director, was held at the National Art Gallery on Thursday, while the lead actor said the movie will change people’s opinion about Pakistan at a presser at the Japanese embassy.
Addressing a press conference, Masahiko Nishimura said his shoot in Pakistan was a unique experience. The Japanese audience only hears about Pakistan through the news which is not a pretty picture, he added. “Many people do not want to come to Pakistan and a movie like this will change their perception,” he said.
The movie, “Sougen no Isu,” (A Chair on the Plains) which showcases people’s life in Hunza, is based on a novel written by a prize-winning Japanese writer Teru Miyamoto. It is the first-ever Japanese film shot in Hunza valley and Skardu. The film is directed by Izuru Narushima, whose most recent film “Rebirth” won 10 Japan Academy Awards last year. The movie was shot in two months and most of the characters and staff were Pakistani.
“There might be a few terrorists in the country but the world needs to know that they are only a minority,” said Nishimura. “I’m glad to say that the country’s true image is depicted in this movie.” It is indeed in the hands of the Pakistani people today to change the face and fate of their country, he added.
The movie revolves around four individuals who undertake a journey to confront their personal challenges. The film features a middle-aged Japanese man’s quest for hope after the 2011 Japan earthquake through his journey to Hunza with his close friends. The film aims to encourage people to move on and not giving up in today’s Japan.
Japanese Charge d’Affaires Akira Kono said thousands of movie-goers were watching this movie in cinemas in Tokyo, Osaka and all over Japan. “The film is a fruit of the friendly relations between Japan and Pakistan and mutual cooperation between the two nations is eternalised in this movie.”
Pakistani crew members were also present at the premiere, which was organised by the Japanese embassy in collaboration with the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA). The film will be screened for the public at the PNCA on Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2013.