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Mark Schilling

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

'Himeanole': The hairline between good and evil

May 25, 2016

'Himeanole': The hairline between good and evil

The moral universe of most commercial films is simple: The good guys prevail, the bad guys are punished — and we are seldom in doubt as to who is who. But what if the bad guys deserve sympathy, even the ones who commit horrific ...

Koreeda discusses before and 'After the Storm'

May 18, 2016

Koreeda discusses before and 'After the Storm'

I’ve interviewed the director Hirokazu Koreeda several times over the years since we first met at a preview screening of his otherworldly drama “After Life” (“Wonderful Life,” 1999). Then and now his answers to even often-asked questions are always thoughtful and considered. Yes, he ...

'Wolf Girl and Black Prince': The dogged persistence of teen love

May 18, 2016

'Wolf Girl and Black Prince': The dogged persistence of teen love

Girls go for bad, abusive guys, while relegating nice, decent ones to the dreaded “friend zone”: A misogynistic lie or the cold, hard truth? Ryuichi Hiroki’s “Wolf Girl and Black Prince” seems to say the latter, starting with its premise. A naive, socially inept ...

'After the Storm': Koreeda's tempestuous family affairs

May 11, 2016

'After the Storm': Koreeda's tempestuous family affairs

Hirokazu Koreeda has a reputation abroad as the one director of his generation carrying on the humanist tradition of Japanese cinema’s 1950s and ’60s Golden Age. This is not totally off the mark — he often returns to that favorite Golden Age theme, family ...

'Hero Mania': Japanese heroes are keeping it real

May 4, 2016

'Hero Mania': Japanese heroes are keeping it real

Why don’t Japanese audiences turn up in big numbers for Hollywood superhero movies? The rare success in Japan of the Spider-Man series suggests one answer: Japanese like superheroes just fine, as long as they’re flawed humans as well as heroic fighters for justice. Another ...

'Terraformars': Miike's life on Mars has its bugs

Apr 27, 2016

'Terraformars': Miike's life on Mars has its bugs

Now that voyages to Mars seem likely in the next generation or so, films about the red planet are moving beyond the “John Carter” (2012) space-opera stage. But for every reality-based “The Martian,” there is still a “Terraformars,” Takashi Miike’s latest extreme entertainment. The ...

'I Am a Hero': Japanese zombies pick up the pace

Apr 20, 2016

'I Am a Hero': Japanese zombies pick up the pace

Horror films here have traditionally featured vengeful female ghosts, but Japanese filmmakers do also take cues from Hollywood, where zombies have long flourished since George Romero’s seminal “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) and “Dawn of the Dead” (1978). Even so, Japanese zombie films, ...

Okita keeps every hair in place

Apr 13, 2016

Okita keeps every hair in place

Millions of Japanese have come from the countryside to find their fortunes in Tokyo, with most arriving in the postwar boom when jobs were everywhere and the future looked bright. But many, like the punk rocker hero of Shuichi Okita’s offbeat, warm-hearted family comedy ...

'Lowlife Love': The shady love of the film industry

Apr 6, 2016

'Lowlife Love': The shady love of the film industry

According to Eiren (Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan), 581 Japanese films were released domestically last year, many of which were low-budget productions shown in small numbers of theaters. Beneath these films “officially” recognized by Eiren is a substratum of straight-to-DVD fare. And at ...