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Kaori Momoi

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Film director, actress, singer, essay writer, dancer, professor … listing the multiple talents of Kaori Momoi would take forever.

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KAORI

MOMOI

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[eltdf_dropcaps type=”normal” color=”” background_color=””]K[/eltdf_dropcaps]aori Momoi was born on april 8th, 1952 in Tokyo. At the age of 12, she travelled to London to study at the British Royal Academy of Ballet. Three years later she went back to her home country, where her desire to study acting was sparked by Sidney Pollack’s film They Shoot Horses, Don’t They, about a dancing competition where couples dance day and night in order to face the Great Depression. So it was that Kaori enrolled in the Bungakuza School for Dramatic Arts and launched a stellar career in several artistic disciplines, including the stage. She’s worked tirelessly in film, television and theater from that moment, winning a wide variety of awards in a career that’s spanned 40 years and more than 60 films. Her debut was in 1971, when she played Momoyo in Kon Ichikawa’s Ai Futatabi. She quickly became in-demand by every major filmmaker in Japan, and eventually all over the world. Her rising career led her to films such as Tatsumi Kumashiro’s Seishun No Satetsu (1974); Yoji Yamada’s classic The Yellow Handkerchief (1977); Kagemusha (1980) from internationally lauded director Akira Kurosawa; Shohei Immamura’s Why Not? (1981); Shunji Iwai’s Swallowtail Butterfly (1996); Mitani Koki’s Welcome Back, Mr. Mcdonald (1997); and she starred with Takashi Miike in Sukiyaki Western Django where she played Ruriko. Since 1995 her activities have extended beyond Japan by appearing in Alexander Sokurov’s The Sun and Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha.

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With the roles came the accolades. Kaori Momoi has won a couple of Japanese Academy Awards for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress. She also won Best Actress at the 1983 New York Film Festival for her part in Yoshitarô Nomura’s Giwaku. She’s lived in Los Angeles since 2005 and in 2007 she made her writing and directing debut with her film Faces of a Fig Tree. Her second film as a writer-director is Hee. Now 64, Kaori Momoi likes to constantly face new beginnings. She’s just as eager to conquer the stage as she was when she was 12; she’s as rebellious as she is focused, very open about her opinions about the current film industry. This is what has pushed her to get involved in producing, directing, screenwriting and production design as well as acting. She’s also recorded more than ten albums as a singer, she writes essays and novels, designs jewelry, and is a professor of Art and Design at the Joshibi University in Japan. Kaori Momoi learned to act because of acting itself, her desire to conquer stages, to study characters and break boundaries of dialogue. Now she’s a legend of Japanese cinema, whilst a character that prefers to go unnoticed among the L.A. population where she can stop being Kaori Momoi for a moment, and then come back to give us, whenever she’s ready to, the very ambition of that first screenplay read by a Young woman, that shine of a consolidated actress and the respect that an artist of her stature deserves.

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