On the centennial of Masaki Kobayashi and 50th anniversary of his film Kwaidan based on Lafcadio Hearn’s novel, Sugino reinterprets one chapter, “Yuki-onna” as director and titular lead. Helming her third feature, she leads a stellar cast including Munetaka Aoki, Mayu Yamaguchi, Shiro Sano, Kumi Mizuno, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Takeshi Yamamoto, Koudai Matsuoka, and Nagisa Umeno. Shot in Hiroshima with the cooperation of Onomichi city, the film includes crew members such as cinematographer Shogo Ueno, production designer Masami Tanaka who trained under Yohei Taneda, and composer Seigan Tominomori.
One snowy night, in a mountain hut, Minokichi, a hunter, sees a snow woman kill his mentor Mosaku.
“Should you tell anyone, I will take your life” she says, then drifts off. A year later, Minokichi meets and marries a beauty named Yuki. She bears him a daughter, Ume. 14 years pass and Ume blossoms into a radiant lady who befriends a sickly Mikio, the village leader’s son and Mosaku’s distant relative. Mikio soon dies in the same hut as Mosaku, with his body showing the same frostbite scars. Minokichi is reminded of that horrid night, and wonders what it was that he saw, and who Yuki really is.
Kiki Sugino profile
Sugino boasts an already prolific career as actress and producer with films like Hospitalité , Au revoir l'été, Odayaka, and Chigasaki Story to her credit. TIFF and Taipei Film Festival have held showcases of her work. Her directorial debut Kyoto Elegy premiered at TIFF in 2014, and her second directorial feature Taksu won her the Rising Director Award at the Busan International Film Festival.