Interview with the cast and creators of "Topless"

By Yuki Keiser June 2008


1. A queer girls' flick, made in Japan!

A queer girls' flick, made in Japan!
●Shown at Shibuya EuroSpace from June 7 - 27
●Director/Screenplay: Eiji Uchida
●Starring: Mina Shimizu, Erika Okuda
●Original story: Purin Watanabe
●2007, Japan
●Distribution & Advertising:
©2007 Tokyo Sakura Print 
『TOPLESS』:Official website (Japanese)
EUROSPACE:Official website

The ever-lively and upbeat Natsuko tries to mend a broken heart by carrying on with a string of short-lived affairs after her break-up with Tomomi. But when Tomomi announces her plans to marry - a man - Natsuko becomes inconsolable. While all this is taking place, Natsuko's straight male roommate is grappling with his own feelings for her, and a young high school girl comes to Tokyo searching for the mother that long ago left her for a female lover. Each character - queer, straight, male, female, young, old, and in-between - struggles to make peace with him/herself as all their lives overlap. This story captures the power of young love, and the web of the city.

©2007 Tokyo Sakura Print

Just as two TV dramas have become sensational hits in Japan - the Japanese series Last Friends and America’s The L Word, each centering on the lives of characters identifying as sexual minorities - a new, true, and made-in-Japan queer girls' movie was released in theaters in June. The movie, “Topless”, represents the reality that many lesbians in Japan face today. This off-beat film warmly depicts the human drama of bittersweet love, with a special close-up on the friendship between a straight boy and a gay girl. It delivers a lesbian perspective on life with sincerity and honesty. Japanese queer girls will surely be struck by the resonance between the story reflected on-screen and their own lives, while straight viewers will also enjoy this wistful-yet-heartful tale that speaks to the universality of love. Without a doubt, every soul will walk away from this film with more hope and daring.

Director Eiji Uchida is known for his adept visual crafting of stories about modern youth, evidenced in his string of films. The line-up of endearingly, fresh-faced talent in "Topless" is gratifying, with actresses including the young and dynamic Mina Shimizu and the TV-advertising-queen-turned-film-star Erika Okuda.

In the following pages, Tokyo Wrestling talks with director Eiji Uchida, starlet Mina Shimizu, and original story crafter Purin Watanabe about the film. 

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translated by rayna rusenko