Japan Foundation

World Premiere
Selection 2022

Red Shoes

Directed by Toshiro Saiga

Hosted by director, Toshiro Saiga; producers, Toru Emori and Osamu Fujita; and representative, Sakoda Shinji.



Toshiro Saiga


Toru Emori, Osamu Fujita


Shinya Hokimoto, Kyoko Uesugi


Aya Asahina, Hayato Ichihara, Yuki Matsushita, Arisa Mizuki, Win Morisaki, Akari Noda, Nozomi Sasaki


Tomohiko Deguchi

Sound Designer

Masashi Kai


Mimi Del Ray


Yasuhiro Ishii



Japan 2022 121 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English
Genre Drama

As a child, Manami attended her father Takuma's boxing matches and marveled at the scarlet shoes he wore. Unfortunately, he and his wife died in a terrible accident while he was preparing for the long-awaited championship. Now a single mother of a daughter she adores, Emi, Manami has decided to follow her father's footsteps and is back in the ring after her husband died of a long illness. However, her mind and body are not there and she is humiliated. Sinking into poverty, barely able to feed Emi and losing every job she has, her mother-in-law gains custody of her daughter. Overwhelmed by grief and anger, unable to catch her breath, she falls to her lowest point. However, her coach comes to pick her up from the Fukuoka Red Light and promises to make a champion of her so she can reconnect with Emi.

Halfway between Halle Berry's excellent BRUISED, for the visceral aspect of precarious motherhood, and the classic ROCKY saga where opponents let loose without reservations in the ring, director Toshiro Saiga's RED SHOES perfectly balances gripping melodrama and rough punch-ups that make you want to scream your support for Manami. Actress Aya Asahina trained extremely hard for this role and her discipline paid off. Convincing in and out of the ring, her technique impresses as much as her ability to express the drama her character is experiencing. It is impossible not to identify with her fight against fate and, above all, her will to win. To win for her father, her mother, her husband, but above all her daughter, without whom she cannot live. With so much at stake, the final confrontation will keep you on the edge of your seat. – Translation: Rupert Bottenberg