'Soshite Chichi ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son)'

Sep 19, 2013

'Soshite Chichi ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son)'

The English and Japanese titles of Hirokazu Koreeda’s dual-family drama “Soshite Chichi ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son)” are quite different in meaning, but both express something important about this extraordinary film, winner of the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The ...

'Casshern'

Sep 19, 2013

'Casshern'

Director: Kazuaki Kiriya Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) On Sept. 24, Paramount Catalog will release an English-subbed Region 1 DVD of Kazuaki Kiriya’s “Casshern.” This 2004 sci-fi epic about a mutant revolt in a post-apocalyptic world has the crazed ambition, visionary reach and even ...

Aoyama looks to the 1980s without nostalgia

Sep 12, 2013

Aoyama looks to the 1980s without nostalgia

Shinji Aoyama is the director as cinephile. That is, while winning awards for his own films, including two prizes at Cannes for his 2000 drama “Eureka,” he has long been a serious student of films by others, beginning with his days at Rikkyo University ...

'Tomogui (Backwater)'

Sep 12, 2013

'Tomogui (Backwater)'

In 1971 the Nikkatsu studio, desperate to stave off bankruptcy, switched production to the then-burgeoning genre of softcore pornography. Made mostly by young directors promoted after their elders fled, the films were hardly intended as high art. Instead their main selling point was simulated ...

'Minnasan, Sayonara! (See You Tomorrow, Everyone)'

Sep 12, 2013

'Minnasan, Sayonara! (See You Tomorrow, Everyone)'

Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) On Oct. 14, Third Window Films (U.K.) will release an English-subbed DVD of Yoshihiro Nakamura’s “Minnasan, Sayonara! (See You Tomorrow, Everyone).” Starring Gaku Hamada as a boy who vows to spend his life in his Tokyo ...

Sep 5, 2013

'The Wolverine' draws from other Hollywood hits set in Japan

Director James Mangold has claimed Japanese film influences on his Marvel comic adaptation “The Wolverine,” including Akira Kurosawa’s 1957 film “Kumonosu-jo (The Throne of Blood).” But the film, in which Hugh Jackman’s immortal Wolverine character comes to Japan, falls in love with a local ...

Kobayashi film explores Japan's suicide problem

Sep 5, 2013

Kobayashi film explores Japan's suicide problem

A folk-singer-turned-filmmaker who went to France in 1981 to apprentice under his idol François Truffaut, Masahiro Kobayashi may have failed in his quest (he couldn’t work up the courage to press Truffaut’s doorbell), but after returning to Japan became a prolific scriptwriter for pinku ...

'Nihon no Higeki (Japan's Tragedy)'

Sep 5, 2013

'Nihon no Higeki (Japan's Tragedy)'

What is a good death? For certain Japanese Buddhist priests it was sokushinbutsu — self-mummification. As practiced by members of the Shingon sect, it was a decade-long process that culminated with the priest’s descent into a stone tomb to meditate in darkness, without food ...

'Kibo no Kuni (The Land of Hope)'

Sep 5, 2013

'Kibo no Kuni (The Land of Hope)'

Director: Sion Sono Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) On Aug. 26, Third Window Films of the U.K. released a DVD and Blu-ray of “Kibo no Kuni (The Land of Hope),” Sion Sono’s drama about two families caught up in a near-future nuclear catastrophe that ...

'Soul Flower Train'

Aug 29, 2013

'Soul Flower Train'

Dads, in Japan and elsewhere, never quite believe that their daughters are grown up and gone, do they? On a corner of their desk or in a corner of their mind is a picture of their princess at the school play or the piano ...