Picture Bride

Set in Hawaii, circa l9l8, “Picture Bride” is a drama about a young woman travels to Hawaii to marry a man who has lured her with a dated photograph. Riyo (Youki Kudoh), a shy 16 year old travels from Japan to Hawaii for an arranged marriage with Matsuji, her 43-year-old groom, who's an immigrant sugar-cane laborer.

Miramax released the film in April 1995, after showings at the prestigious Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals, where it surprisingly won the Audience Award.

This is the first-time feature from UCLA graduate, writer director Kayo Hatta. Under pressures from Miramax, the filmmaker reedited the movie (a second editor, Lynzee Klingman, was brought), trimming 10 minutes of exposition to get the narrative moving faster. She replaced a lulling classical European music score with a more dominant, upbeat Asian-Pacific Island sound, brightened the sound and overhauled the special effects.

Then the dialogue was looped to produce a more articulate-sounding English; they added a historical prologue; and they reshot a love scene in Japan and a scene with a baby on a Culver City sound stage.

In the process the budget doubled, from the $1.2 million initially raised through grants (and a Japanese investor), to a final $2.5 million. Insistent, sometimes turbulent, but ultimately congenial collaboration with Miramax; everyone agrees the movie blossomed. Miramax sent Hatta back to Japan to reshoot a poignant love scene that marks Riyo's acceptance of her new life. Miramax's honcho Harvey Weinstein pointed out, “That the love scene was not as beautiful and tender as it should be,” said Hatta.