The movie is based on a Naoki Prize-winning novel by Kyoko Nakajima. It’s a family drama bridging the Showa and Heisei eras and will mark Yamada’s first foray into the romance genre.
Matsu, who previously co-starred in Yamada’s The Hidden Blade (2004), will anchor the Heisei portion of the film, while Baisho will appear in the Showa portion.
Chiisai Ouchi is set primarily at a small home on the outskirts of Tokyo with a triangular red roof. The Hirai household consists of a toy company employee, his wife Tokiko (Matsu), and their 5-year-old son Kyoichi. The story involves a fleeting love affair between Tokiko and a young man named Shoji Itakura who works at the same toy company as her husband.
Baisho will play Taki Nunomiya, a woman from Yamagata who moved to Tokyo in her youth to work as a maid for the Hirai family. Joining Matsu and Baisho in the film are Haru Kuroki (22), Takataro Kataoka (45), Hidetaka Yoshioka (42), and Satoshi Tsumabuki (32).
After Taki dies, her relative Takeshi (Tsumabuki) discovers several notebooks in which Taki reveals the truth of Tokiko’s affair and other events which she observed in the home before the war.
Filming of “Chiisai Ouchi” began on March 1 and will wrap in May. A release is slated for January 2014.