Hayao Miyazaki Collection

Oct 29, 2014

Hayao Miyazaki Collection

Director: Hayao Miyazaki Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Now that 73-year-old Hayao Miyazaki has retired from directing feature animations (die-hard fans still hope that his “never” means “maybe”), the time has come for career summations. One comes in the form of the Hayao Miyazaki ...

Spooky tales from beyond the grave

Oct 25, 2014

Spooky tales from beyond the grave

Ghost stories are universal, but Japanese ghost stories, argues Zack Davisson in “Yurei: The Japanese Ghost,” are unique. So much so that Davisson, a translator and essayist who is something of a specialist in the supernatural, uses yūrei, the Japanese word for spook, throughout ...

Vision of anime's future at Tokyo International Film Festival

Oct 22, 2014

Vision of anime's future at Tokyo International Film Festival

The Tokyo International Film Festival, running through Oct. 31, is no longer Asia’s biggest or most important festival — that honor is now claimed by the recently held rival Busan film festival. But its 27th edition — the first to reflect the full influence ...

TIFF Critic's Picks: Japanese directors to watch

Oct 22, 2014

TIFF Critic's Picks: Japanese directors to watch

Despite TIFF’s anime focus this year, its lineup of live-action Japanese films is as wide ranging as ever, with one glaring exception: Classic Japanese movies are almost nowhere on the program, and only one Japanese film, Daisuke Yoshida’s “Kami no Tsuki (Pale Moon),” is ...

Kiyosu Kaigi (The Kiyosu Conference)

Oct 22, 2014

Kiyosu Kaigi (The Kiyosu Conference)

Director: Koki Mitani Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) A historic 1582 conference to decide the fate of the shogunate following warlord Oda Nobunaga’s death may not sound like the stuff of comedy, but Koki Mitani extracts laughs from the schemes and foibles of the ...

Hideaki Anno: emotional deconstructionist

Oct 18, 2014

Hideaki Anno: emotional deconstructionist

With dozens of the renowned filmmaker's works scheduled to be screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival over the next two weeks, we speak to the man behind the 'Evangelion' sci-fi franchise about his apocalyptic influences and prod him on the question that is ...

Two men and a tot make a half-decent film

Oct 15, 2014

Two men and a tot make a half-decent film

When indie directors take a more commercial turn, the usual explanation is the bigger paycheck, but it’s not always so simple. Yuya Ishii’s shift from the raucous films of his early career to the more genteel, mainstream 2013 film “Fune wo Amu (The Great ...

Chisaii Ouchi (The Little House)

Oct 15, 2014

Chisaii Ouchi (The Little House)

Director: Yoji Yamada Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Veteran director Yoji Yamada’s drama about an upper-middle-class family in 1930-40s Tokyo is deeply informed by Yamada’s own acquaintance with the era, from its social mores to its domestic arrangements. Told from the perspective of a ...

Harmonic slips in time, identity and language

Oct 8, 2014

Harmonic slips in time, identity and language

World War II-themed films by elderly Japanese directors with direct experience of the war are not only becoming scarcer, but are also distinctly different from those of younger filmmakers trying to appeal to a mass audience. Kazuo Kuroki’s 2006 film “Kamiya Etsuko no Seishun ...

Majo no Takkyubin (Kiki's Delivery Service)

Oct 8, 2014

Majo no Takkyubin (Kiki's Delivery Service)

Director: Takashi Shimizu Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Horror-meister Takashi Shimizu’s live-action film based on same book as of Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 animation about a young witch’s apprenticeship attempts a visually and psychologically darker approach than Miyazaki’s classic. But a spirited performance as the ...