'Shanidaru no Hana (The Flower of Shanidar)'

Jul 11, 2013

'Shanidaru no Hana (The Flower of Shanidar)'

Gakuryu Ishii has made something of a career of confounding fans and critics alike with his big shifts in artistic direction, his long silences and, in 2010, his name change from the unusual, if memorable, Sogo to the pretentious, if still hard-to-forget, Gakuryu (a ...

'The Garden of Words (Koto no Ha no Niwa)'

Jul 11, 2013

'The Garden of Words (Koto no Ha no Niwa)'

Director: Makoto Shinkai Language: English (international subtitles) Makoto Shinkai’s 46-minute animation “The Garden of Words (Koto no Ha no Niwa)” is now available on a multi-language subbed DVD from YesAsia. Bonuses include director and cast interviews, storyboards and a soundtrack CD. Fans of the ...

Tsuchiya questions what it means to be human

Jul 4, 2013

Tsuchiya questions what it means to be human

I first met Yutaka Tsuchiya in 1999 when I interviewed him on the release of “Atarashii Kamisama (The New God),” his documentary centering on a rightist punk band and its charismatic lead singer, Karin Amamiya. Despite his left-leaning politics, Tsuchiya was anything but the ...

'Thallium Shojo no Dokusatsu Nikki (GFP Bunny)'

Jul 4, 2013

'Thallium Shojo no Dokusatsu Nikki (GFP Bunny)'

Every once in awhile a movie sees around the corner to where the culture is heading. Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” (1971) was released when baby boomers were still baking granola and dreaming of communal peace and love, but its dystopian vision of ultra ...

'Momo no Tegami (A Letter to Momo)'

Jul 4, 2013

'Momo no Tegami (A Letter to Momo)'

Director: Hiroyuki Okiura Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Hiroyuki Okiura’s 2012 anime “A Letter to Momo” — about an 11-year-old girl coming to terms with her father’s death, with the help of three goblins she encounters on an Inland Sea island — is a ...

'Senkyo 2 (Campaign 2)'

Jun 28, 2013

'Senkyo 2 (Campaign 2)'

In the more than three decades I’ve lived here, I have progressed (if that is the right word) from irritation at the oddness of Japanese election campaigns to something like curiosity. How, I once wondered, could anyone choose intelligently among candidates whose “dialogue” with ...

Documenting Japan's 'strange' election campaigns

Jun 28, 2013

Documenting Japan's 'strange' election campaigns

A native of Tochigi Prefecture and a graduate of the University of Tokyo, where he majored in religious studies, Kazuhiro Soda took an early turn off a conventional career path when he went to New York in 1993 to study filmmaking at the School ...

'Chronicle of My Mother'

Jun 28, 2013

'Chronicle of My Mother'

Director: Masato Harada Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Media Asia has released an English-subbed version (with simplified and traditional Chinese subs to boot) of “Chronicle of My Mother,” Masato Harada’s busily detailed, lushly staged drama about a famous novelist’s vexed relationship with his aged ...

'Sayonara Keikoku (The Ravine of Goodbye)'

Jun 21, 2013

'Sayonara Keikoku (The Ravine of Goodbye)'

What are the limits of forgiveness? Our various gods may forgive our sins, but we humans don’t always find it easy to follow suit. Violations of the body are among the crimes hardest to forgive, since the victims are left with not only scars, ...

'The Complete (Existing) Films of ...'

Jun 21, 2013

'The Complete (Existing) Films of ...'

Director: Sadao Yamanaka Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) This new addition to Eureka’s The Masters of Cinema Series highlights the work of director Sadao Yamanaka. The set collects his three surviving complete films of the 26 that he made before dying in Manchuria in ...