"Great performances." - Chicago Tribune
"An auspicious debut." - Chicago Sun-Times
"An astute psychological drama. Beautifully shot. Wonderful acting." - Chicago Public Radio
Japanese star Erika Oda (Kore-eda's Cannes smash After Life) stars as Tengan Rei, a young Okinawan woman who kidnaps Paris, the teenage son of a U.S. Marine convicted of raping her when she was a girl. Unlocking their shared histories, Rei and Paris are drawn together, even as the boy's father closes in on them. Set against the stunning tropical beauty of Okinawa and the rusted grit of industrial Chicago, The First Breath of Tengan Rei takes viewers on an unforgettable emotional journey.
The First Breath of Tengan Rei is produced, written and directed by Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski, who made the acclaimed short film Homesick Blues and work on the production of films including Street Thief (Tribeca Film Festival, A&E Indie) and Hannah Free starring Sharon Gless.
Chicago stage veteran and Sean Nix, mostly recently seen in Timeline Theatre Company's production of Gore Vidal's Weekend, portrays Nelson. Nelson's partner in crime, Carter, is portrayed by Ric Arthur, who himself served in the Marines in Okinawa. North Carolina newcomer Katori Eason plays Paris.
Mark Messing, leader of circus punk marching band Mucca Pazza, designed the sound for the film with Lou Mallozzi of Experimental Sound Studio and composed the score, featuring music by cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and Califone guitarist Jim Becker.
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