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‘Tatara Samurai’ Released in U.S.

Naoki Kobayashi (left) and Sho Aoyagi (center) in a scene from “Tatara Samurai.”

Following a successful festival circuit, Eleven Arts has licensed North American distribution rights to Yoshinari Nishikori’s award-winning period action drama “Tatara Samurai.”

The L.A.-based distribution company, whose recent titles include “The Legend Is Born: Ip Man,” “Uzumasa Limelight,” “Sailor Moon R: The Movie,” and “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale,” released the film, which is produced by Exile Hero, on June 2.

“Tatara Samurai” is the latest feature from director Nishikori, whose films “Konshin” and “Railways” were box-office smashes in their native Japan. His latest historical epic stars Sho Aoyagi (“Yakuza Apocalypse”), pop star Naoki Kobayashi, Akira (“Legend of the Fist”), Tomoko Tabata, and Anna Ishii.

Gosuke (Aoyagi), a young villager in Sengoku Period Japan, is trained to be a blacksmith, but forced to become a warrior. After joining the Oda Army to protect his hometown of Tatara, he begins to question whether swords are a viable defense against the new technology of firearms — but soon discovers that his skill as a blacksmith might very well be the most powerful weapon he has to protect his home.

A premiere with the cast and crew was held last month at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater.

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Pictured at a red-carpet event on May 8 at the Egyptian Theater are (from left) Naoki Kobayashi, Sho Aoyagi, director Yoshnari Nishikori, Hiro, and Akira.

Upcoming screenings in California:

• New People Cinema, 1746 Post St., San Francisco. Friday, June 2, at 7 p.m. Info:

• Ahyra Fine Arts, 8556 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Friday, June 2, at 9:55 p.m.; Saturday, June 3, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, June 4, at 4 p.m. Info: (310) 478-3836,

• Regal L.A. Live, 1000 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. Friday, June 2, at 12, 6:15 and 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 3, to Monday, June 5, at 12, 3:30, 6:30 and 9:45 p.m.; Tuesday, June 6, to Wednesday, June 7, at 12 and 3:30 p.m. Info: (844) 462-7342,

• Angelika Film Center, 11620 Carmel Mountain Rd., San Diego. Opens Tuesday, June 13. Info: (858) 207-2606,

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