Takashi Miike’s First Love Trailer Is a Toxic Cocktail of Call Girls, Boxers & Drugs

If you don’t know the name Takashi Miike, then perhaps you’re not a true film fan. The auteur made a name for himself in the 2000s pumping out one crazy movie after the next, continually raising the insanity level in each one. Now, he is back with the high-energy blast of shock and awe, tenderly called First Love. But make no mistake, this is not a romantic comedy.

Well Go USA Entertainment is proud to unveil the teaser trailer for Takashi Miike’s crowd pleasing action crime drama First Love. The first look footage actually made its debut this past weekend at Comic-Con during the big ‘Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza’. The Japanese title for the movie is Hatsukoi, and it made its world premiere during the Director’s Fortnight during Cannes 2019. 

Critics are praising First Love with an intensity usually reserved for the most insane pieces of cinematic art. Jessica Kiang of Variety called it, “A BLAST. Hard-boiled and soft-hearted, peopled by characters who are fast with their fists and slow with their wits, “First Love” is mostly remarkable for renewing once again the apparently infinitely renewable resource that is Miike’s filmmaking energy.” David Ehrlich from IndieWire has also fully jumped on the First Love bandwagon, called the movie, “SUBLIME. A piece of work so feral and full of life that you’d never guess it was (at least) the 90th feature its director has made in the last 30 years.”

First Love will first be making a limited appearance in New York and Los Angeles theaters starting September 27. It will then expand throughout the country starting October 4. The film is the prolific auteur, Takashi Miike, at his most fun and anarchic, a noir-tinged yakuza film blending genres in the story of a young boxer and a call girl, who fall passionately in love while getting innocently caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme over the course of one night in Tokyo.

First Love is produced by Muneyuki Kii (A Bride for Rip Van Winkle), Jeremy Thomas (Only Lovers Left Alive, The Dreamers, The Last Emperor), Misako Saka (Blade of the Immortal, Yakuza Apocalypse). Masataka Kubota (13 Assassins) headlines the cast alongside Shôta Sometani (Tokyo Tribe) and Nao Ohmori, who appeared in Takashi Miike’s most seminal work Ichi the Killer.

Born on August 24, 1960, Takashi Miike spent his youth in the Korean district (Yao) of Osaka in Japan, graduating from the Yokohama Film Institute, whose Dean is none other than Shohei Imamura. After some experience in television, Miike was drafted by Imamura who made him his assistant director on Zegen and Black Rain.

Miike’s first films were made direct-to- video thanks to the V-cinema system, which was a way for Japanese studios to develop young filmmakers without using big budgets. Miike was recognized by his peers with Shinjuku Triad Society, and immediately became known for his energetic style. A fierce filmmaker, Miike began to explore new genres and accelerate his output. He has since directed more than 100 features between the late 90s and 2019. In his work, Miike can be seen perverting the Yakusa Eiga (mafia genre), as well as the burlesque comedy (Yatterman), the intimate drama (Visitor Q), the Western (Sukiyaki Western Django), the horror film (One Missed Call), the manga adaptation (Crows Zero 1 and 2, Ichi The Killer, Terra Formars), Tokusatsu – Japanese-style super hero movies (Zebraman) and the action genre (Dead or Alive 1, 2, 3).

Miike expresses the “do it yourself” attitude of punk culture in his films. He has an impulse to send out ideas, and offers to Japanese society a distorting mirror of a particularly violent world. It is also a cinema bathed in a melancholic but humanistic vision of life, perhaps seen most clearly in The Bird People In China. In Gozu, Miike’s famous manifesto film, we can see a global vision of his art: a paranoid Yakuza story under a surreal mythological influence.

Miike shows real pleasure in compiling his favorite themes while building a unique cinematic architecture. After being saluted by Quentin Tarantino, Audition became critically acclaimed in the West. For his 100th film, Blade of the Immortal(2017), an adaptation of the manga by Hiroaki Samura, Miike ascended the Palais steps in Cannes with Takuya Kimura.

Miike presented his new vision First Love (Hatsukoi) in Cannes in May 2019 as part of Directors’ Fortnight. For this film, he enlisted star Masataka Kubota, who he previously directed as one of the 13 Assassins, and Nao Otomo who starred in his notorious film Ichi The Killer. Among his loyal collaborators, Miike has once again collaborated with screenwriter Masaru Nakamura (Bird People in China, Sukiyaki Western Django), composer Koji Endo (13 Assassins, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai) and his director of photography Nobuyasu Kita (13 Assassins, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, Blade of the Immortal). This first trailer comes direct from Well Go USA.

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