Neo Sora’s concert documentary “Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus,” a standout at the Venice Film Festival, has sold for theatrical distribution in North America to Janus Films ahead of its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival.
The theatrical release will be followed by a Blu-ray Disc release on the “Janus Contemporaries” label.
This is the latest deal inked by London and Paris-based production, finance and sales outfit Film Constellation, following a slew of sales to Spain (Filmin), Portugal (Midas Filmes), Germany and Austria (Rapid Eye), Scandinavia (NjutaFilms), Baltics (Kino Pavasaris), South Korea (Media Castle), China (JL Vision Films), Hong Kong and Macau (Edko Films), Taiwan (Cai Chang) and Singapore (Anticipate Pictures). Bitters End will release the film in Japan in 2024.
On March 28, 2023, legendary composer Sakamoto Ryuichi died after his struggle against cancer. In the years leading up to his death, Sakamoto could no longer perform live. Single concerts, not to mention sprawling global tours, were too taxing. Despite this, in late 2022, Sakamoto mustered all of his energy to leave the world with one final performance: a concert film, featuring just him and his piano.
Curated by Sakamoto himself and presented in his chosen order, the 20 pieces performed in the film wordlessly narrate his life through his music. The selection spans his entire career, from his popstar Yellow Magic Orchestra period to his Bertolucci film scores and meditative final album, “12.”
Intimately filmed in a space he knew well, surrounded by his most trusted collaborators, Sakamoto bares his soul through his music, knowing this may be the last time that he can present his art.
Variety’s Todd Gilchrist praised the film after its Venice premiere calling it “a glorious final performance,” and “a gift to the world — both commemorating an incredible life and career, and chronicling a performance rich and sophisticated enough to inspire dozens more.”
Sakamoto had a prolific career spanning over four decades, from techno-pop stardom to Oscar winning film composer with scores for films including “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” “The Last Emperor” and “The Revenant.” Equally comfortable in futuristic techno, orchestral works, video game tracks and intimate piano solos, Sakamoto was awarded an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Grammy and two Golden Globes in recognition of his work.
“Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus” is produced by Norika Sora and Eric Nyari (“Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda,” “Ryuichi Sakamoto: async Live at the Park Avenue Armory”), Albert Tholen (“Bruiser”) and Aiko Masubuchi (“The Chicken”). The film is executive produced by Academy Award winning producer Jeremy Thomas (“The Last Emperor,” “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence”), with whom Sakamoto collaborated on some of his most iconic film scores.
Film Constellation’s fall slate also includes Venice Days’ closing film “Coup!,” starring Venice Volpi Cup winner Peter Sarsgaard; Telluride, TIFF, San Sebastian and BFI LFF Bossa Nova themed animation “They Shot the Piano Player” by Academy Award winner Fernando Trueba and Academy Award nominee Javier Mariscal; TIFF Discovery adventure drama “Hajjan” by “Yomedinne” director Abu Bakr Shawky; TIFF Industry Selects and San Sebastian closing film “Dance First” by Academy Award winner James Marsh; and San Sebastian Competition drama “Un Amor” by Isabel Coixet, starring Laia Costa.
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