'Petaru Dansu (Petal Dance)'

Apr 19, 2013

'Petaru Dansu (Petal Dance)'

Friends come and go, don’t they? Years pass, lives change and people we regularly hung out with or were actually close to become no more than memories or, today, updates on Facebook. But as Hiroshi Ishikawa’s “Petaru Dansu (Petal Dance)” shows simply, but rightly ...

'Tsuki to Cheri (Electric Button)'

Apr 19, 2013

'Tsuki to Cheri (Electric Button)'

Director: Yuki Tanada Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Tidepoint Pictures of the United States has announced its DVD release of “Tsuki to Cheri (Electric Button),” previously known in English as “Moon & Cherry.” Yuki Tanada’s slyly funny 2004 feature debut is about a woman ...

Funahashi: 'Good stories don't need happy endings'

Apr 12, 2013

Funahashi: 'Good stories don't need happy endings'

A graduate of the University of Tokyo’s cinema studies course, Atsushi Funahashi studied directing at the School of Visual Arts in New York and shot his first two films, “Echoes” (2002) and “Big River” (2005), in the United States.

'Sakura, Futatabi no Kanako (Orpheus' Lyre)'

Apr 5, 2013

'Sakura, Futatabi no Kanako (Orpheus' Lyre)'

I used to think that religion in Japan was for most a matter of custom, not belief. You clap your hands at the shrine because that’s what people do, not because you think the resident gods are actually listening. But as Minoru Kurimura’s drama ...

'Rentaneko (Rent-a-Cat)'

Apr 5, 2013

'Rentaneko (Rent-a-Cat)'

Director: Naoko Ogigami Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) A good DVD to watch after a tough day (or week or year) is “Rentaneko (Rent-a-Cat),” Naoko Ogigami’s relaxing-yet-entertaining 2012 dramady about a cool cat lady (Mikako Ichikawa) who “rents” felines to lonely people, but turns ...

'Daijobu 3kumi (Nobody's Perfect)'

Mar 29, 2013

'Daijobu 3kumi (Nobody's Perfect)'

Teaching kids is usually not thought of as a physically taxing job, but take it from one who has done it: It is, especially in Japanese schools, where one teacher may have to deal with 40 bundles of not-always-well-behaved energy. I spent much of ...

'Outrage Beyond'

Mar 29, 2013

'Outrage Beyond'

Director: Takeshi Kitano Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Coming out in Japan on April 12 are the English-subbed DVD and Blu-ray of “Outrage Beyond,” Takeshi Kitano’s triumphant return to yakuza-movie form. This film about a devious cop who manipulates two big gangs into a ...

Kids with guns on film, blasting at the culture gap

Mar 22, 2013

Kids with guns on film, blasting at the culture gap

Contemporary Japanese films are often extremely violent; the lives of ordinary Japanese, much less so. According to a multinational study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Japan’s homicide rate in 2009 was 0.4 per 100,000 population, for a total of ...