By NORIKI ISHITOBI/ Senior Staff Writer
February 1, 2023 at 07:00 JST
Hideo Jojo has few equals when it comes to portraying jerks on screen.
His latest offering, “Thorns of Love," introduces a trashy man locked in an intense love triangle involving his current girlfriend and a former lover, although the story unfolds in a comical but lyrical manner.
It revolves around Momo (played by Honoka Matsumoto), who works at a library and just had a bad breakup with her photographer ex-boyfriend Kentaro (Keisuke Watanabe).
She finds an Instagram account of Riko (Tina Tamashiro), his current girlfriend, and learns that Riko is a sophisticated person who is her exact opposite.
Momo studies Riko’s movements and follows her onto a bus, asking for her help to delete private photos previously taken by Kentaro.
The movie is adapted from “Beyond Our Ken,” a 2004 Hong Kong film centering around a playboy firefighter.
Kaori Sawai was attached as a co-screenwriter because Jojo wanted a female collaborator for the script.
“He is trash beyond saving,” Jojo said. “(The original movie) was an entertaining story showing how he gets what he deserves, but I wanted to save Kentaro, even if only slightly.”
Thanks to the on-screen presence of Watanabe and Ayumu Nakajima, the male characters are portrayed as good-for-nothing but lovable men.
Born in 1975, Jojo made his directorial debut in 2003 with a porn movie. He has at least 100 films under his belt, including direct-to-video titles.
Last year, he received critical acclaim for films he directed or wrote.
In addition to “Thorns of Love,” now showing nationwide, two more of his films are slated for release this year.
“When I was younger, I was fascinated by artistic and edgy films, but now I give first priority to my audiences,” he added.
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