Baseball movie Kano gets standing ovation at Osaka premiere
By Want China Times, Saturday, March 8, 2014
The Taiwanese baseball film Kano received a standing ovation at its international premiere at the Osaka Asian Film Festival on Friday.
The film drew a burst of applause as the film's credits rolled, Christa Chen, an international coordinator of Taipei-based ARS Film Production, told CNA from Japan. "The entire audience stood up" and appeared deeply moved by the film, Chen said.
Kano attracted a full house of 400 people at its international premiere and tickets for its second screening at the festival were also sold out. Earlier in the day, a ceremony marking the premiere was held at Osaka train station.
Taiwanese director Umin Boya — known also by his Chinese name Ma Chih-hsiang — co-producer Wei Te-sheng, Japanese actors Masatoshi Nagase and Maki Sakai, as well as several Taiwanese cast members attended the event.
Set in 1931 when Taiwan was a Japanese colony, the film tells the story of the unsung baseball team of Chiayi Agriculture and Forestry Public School, called "Kano" in Japanese. It chronicles the rigorous training the players underwent as they prepared to travel to Japan for the Koshien tournament, Japan's most prestigious high school baseball tourney at the time, and their incredible run in the tournament against all odds.
Masatoshi Nagase plays the strict Japanese coach Hyotaro Kondo who led the team to glory, and Sakai plays his wife.
Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto, Japanese-Taiwanese all-time home-run king Sadaharu Oh and Chiayi mayor Huang Min-huei also showed up and walked a red carpet surrounded by hundreds of fans.
Touched by the warm welcome, Ma said he hoped the film could create a historic touchstone for Taiwanese and Japanese audiences.
During the ceremony, Huang and Hashimoto exchanged autographed baseballs in a gesture to further promote exchanges between Chiayi and Osaka.
Calling the southern Taiwanese city of Chiayi the cradle of "Kano," Huang said Koshien Stadium in Osaka was the baseball temple where young players dreamed of playing. "It's truly significant" that the Taiwanese film could make its international debut in the city where the legendary stadium is located, she said.
Following the premiere in Japan, Kano will also be screened in Hong Kong from March 27, according to Christa Chen.
Photo: The cast and crew of Kano at the Osaka Asian Film Festival, March 7. (Photo courtesy of Vievision)