Fog as thick and palpable as cotton hangs suspended over San Piedro Island. On the bay, a flickering lantern signals distress from a crippled fishing boat, while elsewhere a freighter lurches blindly through the chalky mist. By morning, sea and sky are clear, but the tranquil village of fisherman and berry farmers will forever be changed. For one man has lost his life, and another -a childhood friend- has been charged with taking it. An investigation is launched. The trial begins.
A reporter covering the trial, Ishmael Chambers, sits in the courtroom, carefully observing the person with whom he shared the rapturous secrets of childhood, the only woman he has ever loved. Hatsue, the defendant's wife. Their tortured relationship will have an unexpected bearing on the trial of Kazuo Miyamoto, which serves to frame Snow Falling On Cedars.
Universal Pictures presents a Harry J. Ufland/Ron Bass Production, a Kennedy/Marshall Production of Snow Falling On Cedars, an elegiac, multi-layered exploration of memory, love and reconciliation. Set in 1950 on an island in the Pacific Northwest, the film is Australian director Scott Hicks' follow-up to the much-acclaimed Shine, a 1997 Academy Award nominee in seven categories, including Best Film and Best Director. The film is produced by Harry J. Ufland (One True Thing), Ron Bass (My Best Friend's Wedding) and Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial), and adapted from David Guterson's acclaimed best-selling novel by Ron Bass and Scott Hicks.
The acting ensemble in Snow Falling on Cedars is headed by Ethan Hawke (Great Expectations) and Youki Kudoh (Picture Bride) as the lovers, with Rick Yune making his motion picture debut as the fisherman on trial for his life. Max von Sydow (Pelle The Conqueror), James Cromwell (Babe), James Rebhorn (Up Close & Personal) and Richard Jenkins (The Impostors) play men whose legal acumen can't quite cut to the heart of this particular matter. Sam Shepard (Crimes of the Heart), in the cameo role of a crusading newspaperman, embodies the best intentions of the Anglo community, but it's not enough to stanch the tragedy.
Rounding out the production is an award-winning cadre of talent, including: Academy Award( winner Robert Richardson as director of photography (JFK);
Oscar® nominee Jeannine Oppewall, production designer (L.A. Confidential); Hank Corwin, editor (The Horse Whisperer); Grammy winner James Newton Howard (My Best Friend's Wedding); and Renee Erlich Kalfus, costume designer (Dead Man Walking).
© 1999 Universal Studios