Mass murder and Sion Sono

Jul 8, 2015

Mass murder and Sion Sono

A disturbed individual kills, and the media searches for reasons why. Sometimes, the killer obligingly cites a pop culture phenomenon as inspiration. Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon, saw himself as the living embodiment of Holden Caulfield, the hero of J.D. ...

Slowing a spiral of negativity in Mipo Oh's 'Being Good'

Jun 24, 2015

Slowing a spiral of negativity in Mipo Oh's 'Being Good'

When I was a student teacher at an elementary school in Livonia, Michigan, I saw some things that shocked me. Once I watched a male teacher grabbing a disruptive fourth-grader by the neck and forcing his head toward the floor, while pouring out a ...

Hirokazu Koreeda on his new drama about women with 'shadows'

Jun 17, 2015

Hirokazu Koreeda on his new drama about women with 'shadows'

When Hirokazu Koreeda’s gently offbeat family drama “Umimachi Diary” (“Our Little Sister”) was screened in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, both audiences and the media were enthusiastic — a story for the Reuters news agency described it as “Palme d’Or material.” But ...

Japan's toxic prophets are revealed in 'Yokokuhan' adaptation

Jun 10, 2015

Japan's toxic prophets are revealed in 'Yokokuhan' adaptation

Directors of the better Japanese commercial films typically carve out thematic or stylistic niches for themselves, so that even if they do a manga adaptation for the masses, it’s their kind of manga filmed in their kind of way. One is Yoshihiro Nakamura, a ...

Director Naomi Kawase has finally made a 'real Japanese film'

Jun 3, 2015

Director Naomi Kawase has finally made a 'real Japanese film'

Sooner or later, many Japanese directors — be they internationally acclaimed auteurs or industry outsiders — end up making what Sion Sono (a noted auteur/outsider himself) once described to me as “a real Japanese film.” To put it simply, this sort of film is ...