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Osamu Tezuka's Barbara Manga Gets International Live-Action Film in 2019

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Late manga creator's son Macoto Tezka directs adaptation, Christopher Doyle handles cinematography

The Osamu Tezuka's 90th Birth Year Party event held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo revealed on Tuesday that Osamu Tezuka's manga Barbara is receiving a live-action film adaptation titled Tezuka's Barbara. The film will celebrate the late manga creator's 90th birth year and is slated to premiere in 2019. U.K. film distributor Third Window Films began streaming a teaser trailer for the film.

The film is an international co-production between Third Window Films, Japan's THEFOOL (River's Edge), and Germany's Rapid Eye Movies (Ruined Heart). Tezuka's son Macoto Tezka (seen center in image below) is directing the film, and the project marks his first time directing a live-action film adaptation of one of his father's works. Christopher Doyle, who is known for his work on Wong Kar-Wai's Hong Kong films, is in charge of cinematography. Post production of the film was handled in Germany, and the main visual and trailer for the film were designed in the U.K.

Tezka said at the event:

Why I chose to adapt Barbara into a film is because I feel that as a director Barbara is the work of my father, which I felt would be closest to my personal style and taste. The reason why I followed through with this film's production is that it was a rare chance to make a co-production with many large countries and have the film being seen by a large audience across the world. It's very challenging to do international co-productions, though being able to work with other countries and people opens up a world of possibilities.

The film stars Fumi Nikaidō (seen right in image above) as the title character and Gorō Inagaki (seen left in image above) as writer Yosuke Mikura. Other cast members include Shizuka Ishibashi, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Eri Watanabe, Ryousuke Ohtani, Minami, Moemi Katayama, and Issay.

Tezuka's original manga ran in Shogakukan's Big Comic magazine from 1973 to 1974. North American publisher Digital Manga held a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2012 to fund an English release of the original manga. Digital Manga describes the series' story:

Barbara opens with famous author Yosuke Mikura wandering the packed tunnels of Shinjuku Station, where he makes a strange discovery: a drunk woman, her rags caked in mud, who can quote French poetry. Her name is Barbara. He takes her home for a bath and a drink, and before long Barbara has made herself into Mikura's shadow, saving him from egotistical delusions and jealous enemies. But just as Mikura is no saint, Barbara is no benevolent guardian angel, and Mikura grows obsessed with discovering her secrets, tangling with thugs, sadists, magical curses and mythical beings - all the while wondering whether he himself is still sane.

Digital Manga's English release of the manga was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2013.

Sources: Tezuka's Barbara film's website, Third Window Films' YouTube channel, Comic Natalie, The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web (link 2)

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