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Mark Schilling

For Mark Schilling's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Yokudo: Lingering but confused gaze of indie director

Nov 26, 2014

Yokudo: Lingering but confused gaze of indie director

Major film festivals, with their hurry-hurry schedules, are places to polish your sound bites, not launch into nuanced disquisitions. People want your opinion in 25 words or less. When someone asked me what I thought of Kiki Sugino’s “Yokudo (Taksu)” after a screening at ...

Jigoku de Naze Warui (Why Don't You Play in Hell?)

Nov 26, 2014

Jigoku de Naze Warui (Why Don't You Play in Hell?)

Director: Sion Sono Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) This 2013 film by cinematic bad boy Sion Sono about an attempt by a yakuza boss (Jun Kunimura) to rescue the floundering acting career of his smoky-eyed daughter (Fumi Nikaido) is full-bore wacko. Sono’s plot is ...

Filmex brings art and brutality to Tokyo cinemas

Nov 19, 2014

Filmex brings art and brutality to Tokyo cinemas

Now in its 15th edition, Tokyo Filmex is Japan’s leading art-over-commerce festival, offering a lineup packed with films screened earlier this year at major festivals around the world, while disdaining the glitz and glamour of the recently ended Tokyo International Film Festival. The Filmex ...

Hurt-till-you-laugh approach to making comedies

Nov 19, 2014

Hurt-till-you-laugh approach to making comedies

When Yosuke Fujita’s debut feature “Zenzen Daijobu (Fine, Totally Fine)” started making the international festival rounds in 2008, it charmed nearly everyone who saw it. This laugh-until-you-hurt comedy about two outsider pals in pursuit of the same socially awkward girl won the Nippon Cinema ...

Soko Nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku (The Light Shines Only There)

Nov 19, 2014

Soko Nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku (The Light Shines Only There)

Director: Mipo Oh Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Based on Yasushi Sato’s novel about two lost souls who find each other in a gritty Hokkaido port, this romantic drama has deservedly been named as Japan’s nominee for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language ...

Daijobu 3 Kumi (Nobody's Perfect)

Nov 12, 2014

Daijobu 3 Kumi (Nobody's Perfect)

Director: Ryuichi Hiroki Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Based on Hirotada Ototake’s autobiographical novel about teaching in a primary school despite being born without arms and legs, Ryuichi Hiroki’s classroom drama was obviously made to educate and inspire. The film does not gloss over ...

Parasyte: Gory invasion of the cannibal body snatchers

Nov 5, 2014

Parasyte: Gory invasion of the cannibal body snatchers

The closing film of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, Takashi Yamazaki’s “Kiseiju: Part 1 (Parasyte: Part 1),” arrives in theaters with a lot of hype. Based on Hitoshi Iwaaki’s best-selling manga about the stealth invasion of Earth by alien parasites, the film is ...

Eien no 0 (The Eternal Zero)

Nov 5, 2014

Eien no 0 (The Eternal Zero)

Director: Takashi Yamazaki Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Takashi Yamazaki’s 2013 film about World War II kamikaze pilots generated both big box-office receipts and major controversy. Boiled down, it’s about one pilot’s wish to return home alive, despite being branded a coward by his ...