Trailer of ‘Foujita’, a film about Japanese artist Tsuguharu Foujita by director Kōhei Oguri in 2015.
French and Japanese, modernist and traditionalist, artist and propagandist—Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita lived a life surpassing contradictions. Born in Tokyo, Foujita moved to Paris in 1913 at the age of 27 where he achieved fame for his nudes and cat paintings, befriending luminary contemporaries such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. By 1933 he returned to an increasingly nationalistic Japan and contributed militaristic art that promoted imperialistic expansion. This masterful, elliptical biopic by director Kohei Oguri (Muddy River, The Sting of Death) features a career highlight performance by Joe Odagiri, who perfectly conjures Foujita’s eccentric appearance and mannerisms, illuminating the complicated artist’s roaring desires and fluid ethical center amidst the excesses of bohemian life and bleak ambiguities of war.
“Director Kohei Oguri is literally in a class by himself.” –Tom Mes, Midnight Eye
World Premiere, 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival.
Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita (藤田 嗣治, 1886 – 1968) was a Japanese–French painter and printmakerborn in Tokyo, Japan, who applied Japanese ink techniques to Western style paintings. He has been called “the most important Japanese artist working in the West during the 20th century”. His Book of Cats, published in New York by Covici Friede, 1930, with 20 etched plate drawings by Foujita, is one of the top 500 (in price) rare books ever sold, and is ranked by rare book dealers as “the most popular and desirable book on cats ever published”.
Kōhei Oguri (小栗康平) is a Japanese film director and screenwriter. Born in Gunma, Oguri first became a freelance assistant director after graduating from Waseda University. He made his directorial debut in 1981 with Muddy River, which earned him both a Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year and a citation in the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award. Muddy River was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and won the Silver Prize at the 12th Moscow International Film Festival. In 1985 he was a member of the jury at the 14th Moscow International Film Festival.
His film The Sting of Death won the Grand Prize of the Jury at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. He has also authored several books.