Acting is a fighting sport in 'Matsumoto Tribe'

/ Apr 5, 2017

Acting is a fighting sport in 'Matsumoto Tribe'

The feature mockumentary doesn’t have many practitioners in Japan. Two who do come to mind are TV comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto (“Big Man Japan,” 2007) and Nobuhiro Yamashita (“Girls in the Psychic Club,” 2014). Both have a dry sense of humor and a bit of ...

'Nekoatsume House': The cat's meow of Japanese comedy

/ Mar 29, 2017

'Nekoatsume House': The cat's meow of Japanese comedy

Japanese audiences never seem to tire of movies about dogs and cats. The millions of devoted pet owners here are certainly one reason, though the Brits, also known for their animal worship, do not express it as often in films. Masatoshi Kurakata’s delightful, blood-pressure-lowering ...

Shinobu Yaguchi can make sparks fly, even off the grid

Mar 22, 2017

Shinobu Yaguchi can make sparks fly, even off the grid

When I met Shinobu Yaguchi at a Chicago sushi restaurant on March 1, I made my usual mistake with well-known directors: mention that I had interviewed him before. He, understandably, blanked, since the interview was 20 years ago for his 1997 indie comedy “My ...

Marty Gross and 'The Lovers' Exile'

| Mar 22, 2017

Marty Gross and 'The Lovers' Exile'

At various times and places in his four-decade career, Canadian native Marty Gross has been a potter, art teacher, film director and a producer, with most of his personal and professional roads leading back to Japan. On March 24, Gross will present an English-subtitled ...

'Slavemen': Men enslaved by juvenile fantasies

/ Mar 15, 2017

'Slavemen': Men enslaved by juvenile fantasies

Noboru Iguchi would seem to be in the enviable position, at least to his mostly male fan base, of doing exactly what he likes and never having to grow up. A veteran director of low-budget exploitation films, Iguchi has an unabashedly adolescent obsession with ...

Fukada's filmmaking a breath of fresh air

| Mar 10, 2017

Fukada's filmmaking a breath of fresh air

Koji Fukada’s black comedy “Hospitalite” (“Kantai”) won best film in the Tokyo International Film Festival’s Japanese Eyes section in 2010 and since then he has become accustomed to stepping up on stages to receive prizes for his work. Fukada is part of a new ...