Close this search box.

New Murakami novel adaptation coming to theaters in March

by Joyce Remo

ONE of Haruki Murakami’s most promising books, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, will be coming to life as an animated film and will land in theaters on March 31.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is the debut feature film of director, composer, and painter Pierre Földes.

The animated film adaptation premiered at the Annecy International Animation Festival in 2022 and has won over critics for its enthralling and melancholic depiction of Murakami’s much adored tales.

Murakami has been criticized for his sexist depiction of women in most of his novels, with some critics noting that female Murakami characters exist solely to fulfill a sexual function. Meanwhile, the film is released by a female-led, social-issues-driven film distribution company, Modern Films, which appears to set a balance and makes the production more interesting.

What’s the film about?

Bling Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of short stories that delves into the external and psychological trauma that survivors of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami acquired following the disaster.

Screengrab from Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman’s trailer

Director Pierre Földes said he has always wanted to adapt a Murakami story, and when he received the greenlight from the author, Murakami suggested that he start with short story adaptations. This pushed Földes to produce the film adaptation of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

“It’s several stories in succession with a single through-line story,” said Földes. “As I worked on the script, I started linking together different characters and plotlines, things that resonated with each other, characters that could be interpreted like different facets of the same character.”

The film will feature a lost cat, a gigantic talkative frog, a bank employee without ambition, his frustrated wife, and a schizophrenic accountant out to save Tokyo from an earthquake and find their life purpose. 

Screengrab from Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman’s trailer

Who is Murakami?

The international literary icon is a Japanese novelist known for his best-selling short stories and novels, which have been translated into 50 different languages and sold over a million copies across the globe. These include Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, 1Q84, and After Dark.

Born in 1949, the contemporary Japanese author has been heavily influenced by the western music and literature that inspired him to craft  “easily accessible, yet profoundly complex” novels and short stories.



We have the stories you’ll want to read.

RepublicAsia Newsletter