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Last Letter (2020) (DVD) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Last Letter (2020) (DVD) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Director Iwai Shunji reunites with Matsu Takako, the star of his 1998 film April Story, for the 2020 Japanese feature Last Letter. Prior to this release, Iwai also wrote and directed a same-titled Chinese version of the film starring Zhou Xun. Last Letter links the love and loss of two generations through stories gradually revealed through letters and looks into the past. Matsu Takako stars as a married woman coping with the death of her sister and the unresolved emotions she left behind. Young actresses Hirose Suzu and Mori Nana take on dual roles as both the daughters and younger versions of the protagonist and her sister. The film's impressive cast also includes Fukuyama Masaharu, Toyokawa Etsushi, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Nakayama Miho, veteran folk singer Komuro Hitoshi, and Evangelion creator Anno Hideaki in a rare onscreen appearance as the protagonist's husband.

Yuri (Matsu Takako) goes to the high school reunion of her older sister Misaki who recently passed away. She intended to inform the others of her sister's death, but instead gets mistaken for Misaki and just goes along with it. There, Yuri encounters her adolescent crush Koshiro (Fukuyama Masahiro), who is now a struggling novelist. Koshiro expresses that still likes her – her being Misaki. After the meeting, the two begin to write to each other, with Yuri continuing to pose as her late sister. To keep the letters a secret from her husband, she doesn't provide her real address. However, one of Koshiro's letters ends up being received by Misaki's grieving teenaged daughter Ayumi (Hirose Suzu), who gradually uncovers the memories of her mother's past.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Last Letter (2020) (DVD) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Last Letter (DVD) (普通版)(日本版) Last Letter (DVD) (普通版)(日本版) ラストレター (通常版) Last Letter (2020) (DVD) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Matsu Takako | Hirose Suzu | Nakayama Miho | Fukuyama Masaharu | Toyokawa Etsushi | Suzuki Keiichi | Kiuchi Midori | Anno Hideaki | Komuro Hitoshi | Kamiki Ryunosuke | Mizukoshi Keiko | Mori Nana 松隆子 | 廣瀨鈴 | 中山美穗 | 福山雅治 | 豐川悅司 | 鈴木慶一 | Kiuchi Midori | 庵野秀明 | 小室等 | 神木隆之介 | 水越惠子 | 森七菜 松隆子 | 广濑铃 | 中山美穗 | 福山雅治 | 丰川悦司 | 铃木庆一 | Kiuchi Midori | 庵野秀明 | 小室等 | 神木隆之介 | Mizukoshi Keiko | Mori Nana 松たか子 | 広瀬すず | 中山美穂 | 福山雅治 | 豊川悦司 | 鈴木慶一 | 木内みどり | 庵野秀明 | 小室等 | 神木隆之介 | 水越恵子 | 森七菜 마츠 타카코 | 히로세 스즈 | Nakayama Miho | 후쿠야마 마사하루 | Toyokawa Etsushi | Suzuki Keiichi | Kiuchi Midori | Anno Hideaki | Komuro Hitoshi | Kamiki Ryunosuke | Mizukoshi Keiko | Mori Nana
Director: Iwai Shunji 岩井俊二 岩井俊二 岩井俊二 이와이 슌지
Release Date: 2020-07-15
Publisher Product Code: TDV-30078D
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: No Subtitle
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1088981480

Product Information

[アーティスト/ キャスト]




宮城を舞台に、手紙の行き違いをきっかけに始まったふたつの世代の男女の恋愛と、それぞれの心の再生と成長を描く。松たか子、広瀬すず、庵野秀明、森七菜、神木隆之介、福山雅治ら超豪華キャストが一堂に集結。『Love Letter』に出演した中山美穂、豊川悦司も参加。


特典: 予告編集 (特報/予告/TVスポット)
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Other Versions of "Last Letter (2020) (DVD) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version)"

YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Last Letter (2020) (DVD) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version)"

December 31, 2020

This professional review refers to Last Letter (2020) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
In 2017, Iwai Shunji achieved a decade-long dream with Last Letter, his first Chinese-language film. Despite being backed by Peter Chan as producer and superstar Zhou Xun as his lead, the dreamy romantic drama was largely met with indifference from Chinese filmgoers. Iwai brought the story back to Japan, publishing his Japanese-language novelization of the story and remaking the film in Japan with an even starrier cast. The new Last Letter is technically a remake, but it feels like the film that Iwai had meant to make all along.

The 2020 version of Last Letter follows virtually the same story as the original film: After the untimely death of her older sister, Misaki, housewife Yuri (Matsu Takako, the star of Iwai's April Story) goes to Misaki's high school reunion to pass the bad news to her old classmates. However, she ends up being mistaken for Misaki by the attendees, including Kyoshiro (Fukuyama Masaharu), whom Yuri had a crush on in high school. Over a series of letters with Kyoshiro, Yuri (writing as Misaki) begins to learn about a secret past between Kyoshiro and her sister.

Made as a thematic continuation of Love Letter, Last Letter revisits many of the themes in Iwai's 1995 beloved classic – mistaken identities, schoolyard crushes, overcoming grief and the romantic nature of letter writing. While Iwai's overly whimsical vision of life in suburban China felt slightly off in the original, the story feels perfectly at home when set in Japan. Iwai's talent for crafting likeable but socially awkward characters and finding humor in everyday situations are more apparent in the 2020 version, thanks to the film being in the writer-director's native language and culture. In a country where fax machines are still widely used, it's less of a stretch to believe that two middle-aged people would exchange handwritten letters in the year 2020.

Though the remake carries over some of the original film's flaws – the story becomes less engaging when the focus shifts from Yuri to Misaki's teenage daughter, Ayumi (Kore-eda favorite Hirose Suzu) – it also enhances the strengths of the original. The characters were already well-drawn in the original film, but Matsu is better at conveying her character's awkwardness than Zhou, and Fukuyama also makes a more likeable choice for the lovelorn Kyoshiro than Qin Hao in the original. Anime fans will get a kick out of seeing Evangelion creator Anno Hideaki as Yuri's husband, who happens to be a manga writer who seems to have no problem with meeting deadlines.

Filming in his home prefecture of Miyagi for the first time, Iwai and his longtime cinematographer Kanbe Chigi have created their most gorgeous collaboration yet with Last Letter 2020. Largely filmed on Steadicam, the constant floating movement of the camera brings a dreamy vibe to the film. The camerawork feels more naturalistic this time around, eschewing much of the oddly distracting camerawork in Iwai's recent outings. If the original Last Letter is the result of a chef trying his hand at fusion cuisine for the first time, the 2020 Japanese remake is the chef going back to making his comfort food while throwing in a few dashes of new ingredients to keep things fresh. Last Letter 2020 doesn't quite reach the height of Love Letter, and it lacks the crazy ambition of The Bride of Rip Van Winkle, but it's a pleasant and welcome reminder of why so many film buffs in Asia fell in love with Iwai's films in the first place.

by Kevin Ma

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