I feel like I haven’t expressed it enough in this space but know this: I am an absolute Haruki Murakami fan. I’m not sure how many of you are following these type of news but one of Haruki Murakami’s books, “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman“, is getting a feature film. And you know what’s the bigger and better news? It’s an animated adaptation. I can’t get any more psyched!
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of 24 short stories written by Haruki Murakami over a span of years (1980 to 2005), published in 2006. This book holds a very special place in my heart not only because it is my favorite short story collection of his, but because it kick-started my Murakami obsession. This is, in fact, the very first Murakami book that I read and owned (my mom bought me my first Murakami book, which I find really comforting to think about now since she’s no longer here with us). Up to this day, I can still vividly remember when (and where) I first professed my love for this book and for Murakami (it was almost magic, that moment) – and I never looked back.
But I digress. From what I read in the interview of Pierre Földes, the writer and director of the film, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a retelling of Haruki Murakami’s short stories. It was said that he “he initially sought Murakami’s permission to adapt one of his novels, but the author declined, offering his short stories instead.” Which makes me curious as heck. I’m not sure how protective Murakami is of his works in terms of adaptation but I find it really interesting why he chose to offer his short stories for this feature instead. Murakami is a short story writer first before being a novelist – and I feel like, reading his works both novel and short stories – it really shows. So I’m pretty intrigued on how this adaptation would go, given the nature of his stories.
See the full-length trailer (as exclusively premiered on Cartoon Brew) below:
A lost cat, a voluble giant toad and a tsunami help an unambitious salesman, his frustrated wife and a schizophrenic accountant save Tokyo from an earthquake and find meaning in their lives.
There is also a shorter teaser, from way back 2014, which you can view here.
I know I’ve gone absolutely mental capturing stuff but here are the stills from both trailers that really struck a chord with me:
If you’ve read his works before, majority of it give off a very specific vibe. I know I can’t always put them into words, but when you read it, you’ll know. When I was reading this book, I didn’t really visualize it like this – but now, seeing this trailer, I can’t think of it any other way. The art style really worked. Even the scoring is painfully haunting and intriguing. Animation, as a medium (I’d like to believe), would be perfect in demonstrating the existential and surreal (almost psychedelic) feel that Haruki Murakami’s stories give off.
Watching it, I was trying to pinpoint the specific stories I’ve read in the trailer (at least, from those I can remember, because it’s been a long time ago now) but I can’t seem to pin them down. I’ve read that this movie merges stories and characters from the source material – which would mean that this will be a new animal on it’s own. Definitely exciting stuff!
This book literally changed my life (in more ways than one). I know it sounds a bit too much – but its true. I can’t discount its significance both in my personal AND reading life – now that I am looking back. So here’s to this animated adaptation. I know seeing one of the things I absolutely adore be brought to life would no doubt be an experience but I hope this won’t disappoint.
Also, below is a rough mood board, from way back 2013, for the film. Looking at these rough images, I can definitely recognize some elements here – which gives me so much thrill! The original Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman short. Birthday Girl. Even Dabchick! And other stuff.
God, this is making me itch to do a re-read of the book.
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is set to be completed in the first half of 2022.
2 thoughts on ““What the heck’s a blind willow?””
Hi, great article, thx. for your info, the 6 stories I adapted are from three different books. Blind willow is just one of them and I decided to keep that name for the title of the film since it was the first one I chose to adapt. The film is completed and will shown if various festivals before being released. All my best