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Iranian filmmaker seeks Japanese male in his 60s (but not like that)

by Kaori Shoji

Special To The Japan Times

Kiyoshiro Imawano is gone. Kiyoshi Kodama is gone. Yoshio Harada is gone. Some of the rockin’est, rollin’est, hottest/coolest older guys in the archipelago are no longer around to console us with their sizzling presences.

But good news for Japan in general and 60-ish-year-old Tokyo gentlemen in particular: Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (“Where is the Friend’s Home?” “Taste of Cherry,” “Certified Copy”) will be in Tokyo next month to hold an open audition for the male lead of his new movie, tentatively titled “The End.” This is to be a passionate love story between a young woman attending a Tokyo university and a man 40-odd years her senior, and any elder Japanese gent who suits the bill can enter for an audition.

Kiarostami is looking for a man around 60 years old with verve, wit and intelligence, who can hold his own in most situations but is also capable of losing himself in a love affair with a much younger woman.

Kiarostami, 70, is a filmmaker of international repute, and one of the most revered artists working in the Middle East today. His works are defined by an understated but celebratory attitude to life, and a deep insight into human relationships.

His portrayals of men have always been poignant, and his films adventurous. For his most recent work “Certified Copy” (released in Japan as “Tosucana no Gansaku”), he ventured out from his home turf in Iran to Tuscany, and helmed a stellar cast including Juliette Binoche and British baritone singer William Shimell. Shimell had had no acting experience, but delivered a spot-on performance as a slightly cold and distant almost-lover of Binoche, who herself portrayed a Parisian gallery owner who is tired of life and looking for warmth and companionship. The pair had an intriguing chemistry going, and apparently Kiarostami hopes to repeat the magic — this time in Tokyo.

Filming for “The End” is scheduled between Oct. 1 through mid-December, in and around Tokyo. Auditions will start in late August. To apply, visit www.cinebazar-cast.com/boshu (closing date for applications is Aug. 16).