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Fish Story

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Fish Story

(Fisshu sutori)
Sponsored by: Sympatico

Montreal Premiere

  • Japan 2009
  • 112 min
  • 35mm
  • Japanese with English subtitles
Official Selection, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2010
Official Selection, New York Asian Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Hong Kong International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Udine Far East Film Festival 2009



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"Compelling, creative... a rare example of throwing out filmmaking rules and still building something beautiful and understandable" — Cole Abaius, FILM SCHOOL REJECTS

"So genuine, loving, dramatic, and funny that the mystery, when solved, engages, delights, and surprises" — Peter Martin, CINEMATICAL


Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura
Screenplay: Tamio Hayashi, from Kotaro Isaka
Cast: Atsushi Ito, Kengo Kora, Mikako Tabe, Gaku Hamada, Mirai Moriyam
Producers: Yasushi Udagawa
Print Source: CJ Entertainment



Can a punk song save the world? 2012: A huge comet is five hours away from hitting Earth and annihilating mankind. Two young music fans and an old man await doom in a record store… 1975: A punk band called Gerikin struggles to record their third album a year before the Sex Pistols are formed and make punk rock popular… 1982: A shy record label assistant who’s constantly bullied by his boss is told by a girl that he’ll end up saving the world if he stands up for himself… 1999: A group of religious fanatics await the end of the world, which ends up not happening… 2009: A schoolgirl is stuck on a hijacked ferry and encounters a boy who’s been trained to become a Champion of Justice.

How are all these events connected? Saying anything more would spoil the fun of seeing the puzzle get pieced together by maverick director Yoshihiro Nakamura. The film skips back and forth between the periods and characters, using the band’s process of recording their song, “Fish Story,” as the key plot device. The ways key elements and small details are interconnected are at once far-fetched and logical, giving an extraordinary purpose to people who can’t see which way their ordinary lives are going. The film may be entertaining as hell and revolve around a punk song whose title and lyrics that can’t be taken too seriously, but it has big things to say about the Butterfly Effect and our purposes in life.

FISH STORY is Nakamura’s tenth film, but the first of his creations to really get out of Japan and travel the festival circuit extensively, earning raves around the world. He also co-wrote the better known DARK WATER and QUILLS, which shows his varied range. With FISH STORY, he adapts a novel by Kotaro Isaka, as he did with his follow-up project, GOLDEN SLUMBER (also at Fantasia this year, a further chance to observe his trademark manner of plot development). Saito Kazuyoshi is the one responsible for the catchy title song, which will be stuck on repeat in your head for ages after seeing the film.

—Stephanie Trepanier

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