■ L e o n i e
Isamu Noguchi once said
"Why I became an artist is related deeply to
how my mother lived through her life"
Set in the early 20th century, this is the true life story of Leonie Gilmour, an American editor and journalist, who falls in love with a famous Japanese poet, Yone Noguchi, and gives birth to a son: Isamu Noguchi, the world renowned sculptor and architect.
Acclaimed director Hisako Matsui found inspiration in Leonie's life story seven years ago, when she read Masayo Duus' The Life of Isamu Noguchi. Determined to share the tale of this extraordinary woman with the world, Matsui spent several years working through fourteen drafts of the screenplay. The resulting film, shot on location all across Japan and the U.S., brought together an impressive, international ensemble of talented filmmakers.
Hisako Matsui (YUKIE, ORIUME)
Hisako Matsui and David Wiener
Hisako Matsui, Ashok Amritraj, Yuuki Itoh, Masao Nagai
Director of Photography:
Tetsuo Nagata (LA VIE EN ROSE, BLUEBERRY)
Emily Mortimer (LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, YOUNG ADAM)
Shido Nakamura (LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, RED CLIFF, LIKE ASURA, FEARLESS)
After graduating from Bryn Mawr, a conservative women's university in Philadelphia, Leonie Gilmour was teaching at a girl's high school despite her dream of becoming an editor.
One day, Leonie meets a charismatic young poet from Japan, Yone Noguchi, and begins editing his literary works. With Leonie's help, Yone gains recognition for his novels and poems in the U.S. and Britain, while an intense romantic relationship develops between the two. However, Yone retreats to Japan when Leonie reveals that she is pregnant with his child. Leonie journeys to California to be with her willful mother, Albiana, and gives birth to a boy, Isamu. Eventually, their peaceful life together is tainted by racial discrimination against Isamu influenced by the Russo-Japanese War, and against her mother's wishes, Leonie crosses the Pacific Ocean to improve her son's life.
In Japan, Yone greets Leonie and his child at the Yokohama port, and soon reveals that he has married a Japanese woman. Refusing to submit to a cultural tradition that would have her share a husband with someone else, Leonie leaves Yone and faces absolute loneliness in a strange country. She perseveres, and supports herself and her son by teaching English, while forming strong friendships with a generous group of Japanese people and nurturing Isamu's budding interest in the arts. Leonie eventually bears a second child -- a daughter, Ailes. While she spoke of Ailes' father with great fondness, Leonie never revealed his identity to anyone -- not even to her daughter.
Soon, Japan enters into war again. Fearing that her son will be drafted by the Japanese army, Leonie sends Isamu to the U.S. for schooling. After years apart, mother and son reunite in New York, where Leonie is shocked to discover that Isamu has abandoned his artistic ambitions for medical school. She demands that Isamu pursue the life of an artist, which she is certain is his true passion. This support and determination paved the way for the long and celebrated career of Isamu Noguchi.
to Leonie facebook