The profession of the hired killer demands an intense coldness that allows its practitioners to be desensitized to the horrors they deal out on a daily basis. In adopting this attitude, the hitman Pierre sees the act of assassination become so routine that a little blood on his hands is no more than the sign of a job well done. When an anonymous letter invites him to Japan for a new mission, he accepts without hesitation, believing that everything will go down without a hitch. After all, the task seems simple - take out the eldest daughter of a former colleague, who is to witness the hit with his own eyes, and then make an escape. Arriving in the Land of the Rising Sun, Pierre finds himself obligated to change his plans. His old partner has apparently left town for several days on business. If Pierre is to complete his assignment according to plan, he will have to await the return of the old man and the target, a beautiful young woman with a striking face. Laying eyes on her, the hitman is slowly and subtly gripped by forbidden feelings. Pierre is confronted with a choice, that of the gun or that of his heart.
After meeting each other at a film festival, Japans Hiroshi Toda and Frances Guillaume Tauveron decided to unite their talents, to bring to life a feature film on a low budget. The culture shock suggested by the artistic alliance becomes one of the central themes of the co-production, as Sakura No kage contains scenes shot in the home countries of both creators. Drawing inspiration from the films of Takeshi Kitano and Robert Bresson, the directors offer a tale of simplicity and silence, with a stark, minimalist approach to dialogue. The striking imagery of Tokyo takes on a hypnotic character, weaving a complex sense of mystery that slowly reveals itself to the audience. In the role of Pierre, Tauveron offers a solid turn as a man striving to conceal his emotions behind an icy, empty stare. Sakura No Kage is a thoughtful, introspective work waiting to be discovered by lovers of authentic independent cinema.
—Simon Laperrière (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)
Hosted by directors HIROSHI TODA & GUILLAUME TAUVERON
Director: Hiroshi Toda, Guillaume Tauveron
Screenplay: Hiroshi Toda, Guillaume Tauveron
Cast: Guillaume Tauveron
Producers: Guillaume Tauveron
Distributor: Totaux Films