'The Old Capital': Stuck on the inside of tradition

Dec 7, 2016

'The Old Capital': Stuck on the inside of tradition

Kyoto would seem to be the most international city in Japan, if the number of foreign tourists were the only criterion. More than a million visit the city annually, giving the 1.5 million locals, especially ones living and working in and near the major ...

'In This Corner of the World': Katabuchi's war film has a human heart

Nov 16, 2016

'In This Corner of the World': Katabuchi's war film has a human heart

Going into “In This Corner of the World” (“Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni”), Sunao Katabuchi’s animation about a girl’s coming of age in prewar Hiroshima and wartime Kure, I was vaguely expecting an anti-war film like Isao Takahata’s classic “Grave of the Fireflies” (“Hotaru ...

Japanese films dive deep at TIFF, but surface without major awards

Nov 9, 2016

Japanese films dive deep at TIFF, but surface without major awards

The Japanese films at this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival were a varied lot, from the multiplex fare in the Special Screenings and Japan Now sections to the indies in the Japanese Cinema Splash, Competition and Asian Future sections. But only one came away ...

'At the Terrace' offers witty, coarse fun

Nov 9, 2016

'At the Terrace' offers witty, coarse fun

“I know that many film fans have an allergy to films based on plays,” writes Kenji Yamauchi on the website for his new film, “At the Terrace” (“At the Terrace: Terasu Nite”). “The never-changing setting and the long conversations bore them.” “Boring,” however, was ...

Tokyo Filmex sharpens its focus

| Nov 9, 2016

Tokyo Filmex sharpens its focus

Is Tokyo Filmex losing its raison d’etre? Opening less than a month after the Tokyo International Film Festival ends, Tokyo Filmex was once the hard-core indie antithesis of the larger, more mainstream TIFF, but the latter is now more welcoming to the kind of ...

'Memories': Remembering the Battle of Peleliu

Nov 2, 2016

'Memories': Remembering the Battle of Peleliu

Japanese films about the war, both fiction and nonfiction, rarely focus on the fighting between Japanese and American forces in the Pacific, though Clint Eastwood’s 2006 hit “Letters from Iwo Jima” proved the subject can make for critically acclaimed and commercially successful drama. Kenichi ...