a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Raise the Castle! / 築城せよ! / Chikujo seyo!

with 2 comments

Yo Kohatsu produced a short version of Raise the Castle in 2005, presenting it at small film festivals and actually releasing it on DVD. He’s returned with a longer, more fleshed out version of the original, making the light and delightful film even better. The thoroughly absurd plot revolves around a trio of long-passed samurai led by the Mifune-esque Ondaiji, returning to the present to galvanize a community to build an unfinished castle on the remains of an old foundation. Short of proper materials a homeless man living in cast off boxes inspires them to build the castle out of cardboard and the quixotic endeavor begins.  Plots and subplots involving bureaucratic shenanigans, a grand love story, a little father/daughter frisson and a whole host of wonderful character types make Raise the Castle not necessarily one of the more substantial movies to grace the screen, but a thoroughly fun summer diversion. Makoto Imazato leads a wonderful cast of unknowns and locals as a nerd inhabited by a samurai soul of Ondaiji.


Originally published in EL Magazine, July 2009

Written by Nicholas Vroman

July 1, 2009 at 12:23 am

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Dear Nicholas, Thanks for these details. I saw the longer version of Raise the Castle on an Air France flight and loved it, wanting to buy the DVD for my teaching on Cities. I did manage to get a DVD version with some difficulty, since I am from and based in Bangalore India — but to my utter surprise found the shorter 60 min version. The shorter version is very ‘thin’ and in contrast the longer one has a very useful metaphoric narrative to help us understand how ordinary people find meanings in cities and towns, far beyond the technocratic planning apparatus that claim to construct (and discipline) them.

    As a professor I am at a real loss how to get the much nicer longer version. Can you advise me how to get hold of the longer version? Is it possible to order this online? If so, I will try to see if friends can post this to me from the US or elsewhere. Several future generations of students will shower their blessings on the director (and also you for helping to make this happen!).
    thanks very much

    solly benjamin

    October 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    • Solly, Sorry about not getting back to you sooner. It appears the long version has been released – but only in Japanese. If you want to follow-up with the distributor and hopefully find an English-subtitled version, check out the links on this page – http://jfdb.jp/en/title/1597. Cheers, NV

      Nicholas Vroman

      November 14, 2011 at 6:26 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: