Toshiaki Toyoda
2003, Japan, 119 minutes

“I’ve wanted to make a prison-break movie ever since I became involved in the film business. It’s a way of escaping my own blocked feelings, society and myself. If you can’t change something just run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. If you succeed in escaping you might find some kind of new world.”

—Toyoda Toshiaki

Award-winning filmmaker Toyoda returns to IndieFest (His Blue Spring was our 2002 Closing Night Gala) with a unique hybrid of two classic genres—the comedy road-movie and the prison-break film.

A convict in an isolated prison stumbles upon a hole in the floor, and nine souls quickly flee. The motley crew were jailed for a variety of crimes, including patricide, pimping, bombing and assisting suicide, but the things they have in common are unfinished business on the outside, freedom, and a treasure map. They hijack a van, and set off to recover a vast fortune stashed by one of their former cellmates. Hilarity ensues.

Brimming with absurdist humor, great characters, an exceptional soundtrack and surreal imagery with a decidedly dark edge, Toyoda’s fourth film marks the arrival of an assured, mature director. The excellent cast includes Ryuhei (Taboo, Blue Spring) Matsuda, Yoshio (Onibi, Party 7) Harada, Genta (Gojoe) Dairaku, and Kee (Ichi the Killer, Pornostar). From the stunning opening shot of the Tokyo cityscape dissolving into an apocalyptic patchwork of ashen gray and green to the shocking and unforgettable climax, 9 Souls is truly visionary filmmaking.

—Bruce Fletcher

In attendance: Director Toyoda Toshiaki