THE CHICKEN / short fiction / 14 min

On an unseasonably hot day in November, Hiro, a young Japanese immigrant in New York City, decides to butcher a live chicken for dinner. Showing around his cousin Kei, who is visiting from Japan, they run into a medical emergency on the street. After the pair mishandles the situation—causing more harm than good while trying to help—Hiro cannot bring himself to kill the chicken.

Throughout, Kei observes his cousin’s new lifestyle as Hiro and his wife prepare for their move to New York’s Chinatown ahead of the birth of their first child. Kei is excited for Hiro but can not help noticing the small hypocrisies in his cousin's actions. As the day wears on, the results of Hiro and Kei’s small acts seem to insist on the ways that their lives are witness to, or complicit in, the structural violence happening all around them.

The film is an adaptation of the short story “An Afternoon On November 3rd” by Naoya Shiga, one of Japan’s most venerated writers of the early 20th century. Taking cues from the premise of Shiga’s century-old story, which gave voice to the emotional unease of witnessing a military exercise during a walk with a live duck, The Chicken expands on the ways that structural violence insidiously permeates daily life. Police presence, access to healthcare, gentrification by the well-meaning liberal middle class—the film translates the story into present-day New York through the lens of being Japanese in America.

 

starring JUNSHIN SOGA, TAIJU NAKANE, SANDRA MAREN SCHNEIDER

writer-director NEO SORA

producers ALBERT THOLEN, AIKO MASUBUCHI, JOÃO PERIERA-WEBBER, JACKSON SEGARS, JANE JI, KENTA KOGA

cinematographer BILL KIRSTEIN
editors ALBERT THOLEN, DANIEL WITKIN

 

Festival Selections

Locarno Film Festival 2020

New York Film Festival 2020

Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2021

Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021

Palm Springs International ShortsFest 2021

Hamptons International Film Festival 2020

AFI Fest 2020

Indie Memphis 2020

Champs Élysées Film Festival 2021

San Diego Asian Film Festival 2020

Ajyal Film Festival 2021

Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2021

Press

The Chicken de Neo Sora - Cahier du Cinéma, September 2020

10 Short Films Not to Miss at Locarno Film Festival - Variety

Locarno Competition Filmmaker Neo Sora Prepares Debut Feature ‘Earthquake’ - Variety

The Best Films from Locarno Shorts 2020 - Director’s Notes

What Not to Miss at the 2020 New York Film Festival - Hyperallergic

New York Stories That Play With Connection and Form Hyperallergic

NY映画祭17日から - 週間ニューヨーク生活

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アメガラス (Sugar Glass Bottle) / short fiction / 20 min

In the peripheries of near-future Tokyo, high schoolers Kou and Yuta practice a prank that begins as a faux argument and ends with one bashing the other over the head with a prop glass bottle stolen from their theater department. Yuta coaches Kou to better express his anger to make the prank more convincing until they run into the elderly Deko-chan, a displaced neighborhood friend of Kou’s. The three have a raucous evening smashing bottles that’s cut short when the group is photographed by a police robot dog investigating Deko-chan’s makeshift house.

Energized by the new friendship, but disturbed by an increasingly surveilled and commercialized landscape that is hostile to the unhoused, Kou and Yuta head back to Kou’s mother’s Korean diner for dinner, only to find a real estate shark trying to intimidate Kou’s mother into selling her establishment. As the tensions rise in the eatery, Kou and Yuta seize the opportunity to execute their prank. Finally pushed to the edge, Kou lets loose in a way that blurs the line between performance and actual fury, scaring away the real estate developer.

Initially inspired by a prank that the writer-director Neo Sora (The Chicken, 2020) had pulled on him in his childhood, a sense of warm nostalgia and cold, material reality intermingle to tell a tale set in the not-so-distant future about disappearing spaces and the forces of policing and gentrification that drills this process forward.

 

starring YUTA KOGA, FUMIYA KIMURA, MAKIKO WATANABE, SHIYUN NAKAMURA

writer-director NEO SORA

producers ALBERT THOLEN, AIKO MASUBUCHI, REIKO MORI, DAISUKE UMEYAMA

executive producer KOJI YAHAGI

cinematographer OSAME MARUIKE, JSC
editor ALBERT THOLEN

 

 Currently In Post Production.

Expected release: 2022.