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We find ourselves in ancient Rome at the time of emperor Hadrian (Masachika Ichimura) . After failing to deliver innovative ideas and fashionable bathhouse designs, Lucius (Hiroshi Abe), a Roman bathhouse architect loses his job. To cheer him up, his friend takes him to a public bathhouse. Once there, Lucius starts thinking about how he can realize his own bathhouse philosophy – a philosophy that does not thrive on decadence – in an innovative way. While thinking hard, he suddenly slips through time and resurfaces in a modern-day public bath house in Japan. The encounter with the Japanese bathing culture and with the ‘flat-faced clan”, inspires Lucius, upon his return to ancient Rome, to reinvent his bathing philosophy in a fashionable way. Not long after his Japanese infused bathhouse designs gets him quite a name, emperor Hadrian, who aims to build a great Thermae as to gain support of his citizens, asks for his services. In modern-day Japan, Lucius’s various visits attract the attention of the aspiring young manga artist Mami (Aya Ueto), who is eagerly looking for a hero for her manga.
Awards of the Japanese Academy 2013
Won Award of the Japanese Academy Best Actor Hiroshi Abe
Nominated Award of the Japanese Academy Best Art Direction Mitsuo Harada
Udine Far East Film Festival 2012
Won My Movies Audience Award Hideki Takeuchi
Release date: 28 April 2012
Production company: Filmmakers
Producers: Hirokazu Hamamura, Minami Ichikawa, Naoto Inaba, Chihiro Kameyama, Miyoshi Kikuchi, Kaoru Matsuzaki, Atsushi Terada.
Cast: Hiroshi Abe, Aya Ueto, Kazuki Kitamura, Riki Takeuchi, Kai Shishido, Midoriko Kimura, Katsuya, Bunmei Tobayama, Kei Iinuma, Tarô Iwate, Takao Kinoshita, Hachirô Ika, Hiroshi Kanbe, Katsuhiro Nagano, Shungiku Uchida, Michiko Hirai, Tomio Suga, Yoshiyuki Morishita, Yoshikazu Ebisu, Satoru Matsuo, Emiko Michii, Chizu Sakurai, Alfredo Benavendo, Walter Roberts, Ananda Jacobs, Pietro Cristo, Renato Ansaldi,Fumiya Onodera, Yoshiyuki Onodera, Mark Chinnery, Masachika Ichimura, Sheryar Khan, Nobu Morimoto, Takashi Sasano, Ton Strottmann, Kendall Carter.
Screenwriter: Shôgo Mutô (based on the manga written by Mari Yamazaki)
Director: Hideki Takeuchi
Assistant director: Katsumi Nojiri
Cinematographer: Kazunari Kawagoe
Special effects: Tiberio Angeloni, Massimo Di Palma, Franco Galiano, Paolo Galiano
Visual effects: Masato Aonuma, Kentarô Nishio.
Editor: Hiroshi Matsuo
Music: Norihito Sumitomo
Music editor: Yoshiyuki Konishi
Costume design:Haruki Koketsu
Art direction: Mitsuo Harada
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If anyone is interested in reading further about the film’s take on resonances between ancient Rome and modern Japan, I have a blog entry on it: https://seaneaston1.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/roman-and-japanese-intersections-in-thermae-romae-takeuchi-2012/