Dreams for Sale

Yume Uru Futari

Miwa Nishikawa’s wrenching drama turns on a ruthless young wife who pushes her husband into conning vulnerable women with marriage proposals – in order to make off with their savings.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

Image gallery

  • Director-Screenwriter Miwa Nishikawa
  • Producer Kayo Yoshida, Matsuda Hiroko, Nishikawa Asako
  • With Sadawo Abe, Takako Matsu, Lena Tanaka
  • Japan 2012
  • 137 mins
  • Sales Asmik Ace

When their izakaya restaurant burns down in an accident and their savings are wiped out by a compensation claim, young marrieds Kanya and Satoko don’t know where to turn. Kanya has a drunken one-night stand with a woman he meets on the subway, and emerges from it with a cash windfall. Once she gets past her anger, Satoko sees a way forward: she pushes Kanya into feigning marriage proposals to a series of vulnerable women, fuelling them with hard-luck stories which persuade them to part with their savings... As in her last film Dear Doctor, Nishikawa cunningly exploits the gap between pretence and sincerity. Her emotionally wrenching drama hinges on rich ambiguities and suggests how subconscious feelings may drive immoral behaviour. Four features into her career, she’s clearly one of Japan’s subtlest and most original directors.
Tony Rayns

Director Q&A

How was the idea of ‘marriage fraud’ by a married couple born?

There were several elements. I started thinking of a story of ‘marriage fraud by a married couple’ four or five years before Dear Doctor. Friends surrounding me passed 30 and started to think about their marriages more seriously. Being in love is a wonderful thing but, once you are in love, you feel unstable and someone may take advantage of that instability of yours. On the other hand, I thought marriage to be something very strange. Two humans who have different backgrounds live together for a long time. There must be some shared value pattern and relationship beside love between the two. However, as they have already settled their relationship, they rarely have tricks to make their story go forward and remain interesting. Then I thought that marriage fraud by a married couple could be a trigger for their story to develop. Marriage fraud is not something that you can recommend, but by committing it, I thought in a way, they can keep themselves together.

Have you done research on marriage fraud?

I met victims of marriage fraud. I also met investigators, and they showed me videos related to marriage fraud. However, this is not a film to portray the reality of marriage fraud. I got ideas from what I learned, but I also found that no elements were close to our story. In other words, this is a fantasy marriage fraud in a way.

Your women have the kind of jobs that we rarely see in the film. How about the research for those unique jobs?

I did the research for jobs thoroughly and many of the things I learned from them are reflected in the story. In general, we do not get chances to know women working in the sex industry, or female weightlifters. I wanted to know the differences between them and us and, to my surprise, I found that they do not necessary have unique views of life very far from our own.
Miwa Nishikawa

Director biography

Born in Hiroshima in 1974, Nishikawa graduated from Waseda University with a degree in Literature. An aspiring filmmaker in her student days, she was discovered by Kore-eda Hirokazu, who invited her to work on his film Afterlife. After working as an assistant director with many veteran directors, she made her debut as screenwriter and director in 2003 with Wild Berries, and won many Japanese awards, including Best Film by a New Director.

In 2003, she made a documentary for NHK Hi Vision, featuring the star of Wild Berries, a famous comedian, for which she won a special Prize in the Documentary division of the ATP Award. Her second feature film, Sway was released in 2006, starring Odagiri Joe and Kagawa Teruyuki, two of Japan’s finest, most popular actors. Widely and highly acclaimed by journalists, critics and filmmakers, it dominated the Japanese film awards,presented at The 38th Director’s Fortnight in Cannes 2006. Nishikawa adapted the screenplay into a novel which sold briskly and was nominated for the Mishima Yukio Prize. Her third feature film Dear Doctor in 2009 was chosen as an official competition film in 33rd Montreal World Film Festival and received raving reviews within and outside Japan. The film also received various awards including The Best Film Award of 83rd Kinema Junpo Top Ten Prize and Best Script Award of 33rd Japan Academy Prize.

Nishikawa again wrote a book, Kino no Kamisama, which was nominated for 141th Naoki Literature Award, a side story of Dear Doctor. Dreams for Sales is her 4th feature film after 3 years of interval. It will be world premiered in 37th Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentation) in September, then will be released theatrically in Japan with 165 screens.


1997 Virginia no dice mentiras [s]
1998 Episodio [s]; Yo tuvo un cerdo llamado rubiel [s]
1999 La pecera (The Fish Bowl) [s]
2003 Las horas del día (The Hours of the Day)
2007 La soledad (Solitary Fragments)
2008 Tiro en la cabeza (Bullet in the Head)