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Mark Schilling

For Mark Schilling's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

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 ...

'Bring on the Melody': The heroic way to strike up the band

/ Mar 8, 2017

'Bring on the Melody': The heroic way to strike up the band

Zero-to-hero movies, usually about athletes or musicians or other folks engaged in something competitive and cinematic (baseball, yes; darts, no), are a staple of the film business in Japan. One reason: Audiences here admire gaman — the perseverance the protagonists display in pursuit of ...

'Snow Woman': chillingly modern

/ Mar 1, 2017

'Snow Woman': chillingly modern

The Japanese folklore story of the “Snow Woman” has been told in many places, in many ways, and in many versions, but best-known is that of Lafcadio Hearn, the Greek-Irish writer who published it in his 1904 collection, “Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange ...

Kanji Furutachi: Reacting to Japan's film industry

Feb 22, 2017

Kanji Furutachi: Reacting to Japan's film industry

Over the years I’ve heard many complaints about the bad acting in Japanese films, from the hammy emoting of over-indulged veterans to the amateurish turns of “idols” cast more for their agency connections than any perceptible talent. I’ve added to this chorus of negativity, ...

Asian Film Festival unspools in Osaka

| Feb 22, 2017

Asian Film Festival unspools in Osaka

Why go to Osaka to see films? I may sound like an insufferable Tokyo snob asking this, but given all the hundreds of movies on offer in the nation’s capital, it’s worth answering to justify the shinkansen ticket. One excellent reason to go is ...

'Close Knit': The pride that breaks the prejudice

/ Feb 22, 2017

'Close Knit': The pride that breaks the prejudice

Japan would seem to be a paradise for LGBT people. Transgender “talents” have been appearing regularly on Japanese TV for decades and LGBT folks can walk the streets here with little fear. But dig below Japan’s surface tolerance for sexual minorities, as Naoko Ogigami ...

'One Week Friends': Groundhog day in the 'friend zone'

/ Feb 15, 2017

'One Week Friends': Groundhog day in the 'friend zone'

Someday soon someone is going to come up with an algorithm for commercial seishun eiga (youth films). Plug in the variables — teenaged love in its more innocuous variations being first and foremost — and pop out a script for another hit. If not ...

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

/ Feb 8, 2017

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

To Hollywood, “dystopian future” usually means invading aliens, exotic technology and gigantic explosions. Shinobu Yaguchi’s “Survival Family” posits an alternative, more mundane cause of civilizational collapse: Japan’s electric grid suddenly freezes up, like a laptop that’s been doused with hot coffee. Televisions go blank, ...

Hiroki Matsukata: a gangster farewell

| Feb 1, 2017

Hiroki Matsukata: a gangster farewell

Hiroki Matsukata, who died at age 74 on Jan. 21, may have been born into an acting family — his father was jidaigeki (historical drama) actor Jushiro Konoe — but in his yakuza films for the Toei studio in the 1960s and ’70s, Matsukata’s ...