Shiratori Tatsuhiko (Go Ayano) is a no-good bum and a loser. Wandering the streets one day, he meets Matora (Yusuke Iseya), a blond-haired devil who introduces him to a talent agency called Burst. Their specialty? Finding girls to work in the many hostess clubs, love hotels and lurid hole-in-the-walls of Kabukicho, Shinjuku’s infamous red-light district. It’s a dog-eat-dog world like no other, and in a neighbourhood where all sorts of bad people converge, and where sex, money and business mean life and death, Tatsuhiko finds himself in constant trouble. Struggling to stay on top, he soon finds himself caked in layer upon layer of greed, violence and lies, let alone the ever-looming threat of ruthless scouting rivals and the yakuza themselves!
Adapted from Ken Wakui’s long-running and immensely popular seinen manga series of the same name, SHINJUKU SWAN finds Sono working from someone else’s script for the very first time — to surprising results, no less in line with his recurring obsessions with eros, thanatos, and the darker colors of Tokyo’s kaleidoscopic landscape! Here, Sono focuses on Shinjuku’s underbelly with the same unrelenting, deviant energy he brought to his previous romps through the city (be it TOKYO TRIBE, or the rarer BAD FILM). Starring the ever-great Go Ayano (HELTER SKELTER, GANTZ) alongside Takayuki Yamada (13 ASSASSINS, LESSON OF THE EVIL, MILOCRORZE) and Sono’s latest regular Erina Mano (seen in both Sono’s TAG and LOVE & PEACE, also playing this year), SHINJUKU SWAN topped the Japanese box office upon release, and here’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about! — Ariel Esteban Cayer (Fantasia International Film Festival)