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Mark Schilling

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

'Honnouji Hotel': Drama on the wrong side of history

/ Jan 25, 2017

'Honnouji Hotel': Drama on the wrong side of history

Is Haruka Ayase the Japanese version of Anne Hathaway? In everything from their perky public personas and sterling work ethic to their toothy smiles and flawless complexions, the two stars symbolize a type of good-girl perfection. And yet they also rub some imperfect types ...

Sion Sono swan dives into Shinjuku's chaos

Jan 19, 2017

Sion Sono swan dives into Shinjuku's chaos

Celebrated abroad for films that mash up everything from extreme sex and gore to Christian imagery and classical music, Sion Sono has emerged as one of the most distinctive directors in Japanese cinema this century. His breakthrough came in 2001 with "Suicide Club," in which ...

Shinya Tsukamoto and the song of 'Silence'

Jan 18, 2017

Shinya Tsukamoto and the song of 'Silence'

Since his early films, such as "Tetsuo: The Iron Man" (1989) and "Tetsuo II: Body Hammer" (1992), pioneered the cyberpunk genre with a crazed energy and invention, Shinya Tsukamoto has had a reputation as Japanese cinema's outlaw. While doing the occasional work for hire, ...

'Hamon: Yakuza Boogie': Dancing around the gangster issue

/ Jan 18, 2017

'Hamon: Yakuza Boogie': Dancing around the gangster issue

Over the years, acquaintances of mine have boasted of their brushes with local gangsters. But few, I would wager, have become pals with one. Yakuza and katagi (straight citizens) tend to move in separate circles, with the former often viewing the latter as sheep ...

'A Drop from Tomato': Planting the seeds of reconciliation

/ Jan 11, 2017

'A Drop from Tomato': Planting the seeds of reconciliation

For independent filmmakers from elsewhere in Asia with high censorship or distribution hurdles, Japan must look like paradise. Last year, most of the 581 local films released here were low-budget indie titles. Hardly any of their makers got rich, but at least their films ...

'Our Meal for Tomorrow': Changing roles in romantic drama

/ Jan 4, 2017

'Our Meal for Tomorrow': Changing roles in romantic drama

Gender-bending comedy certainly exists in Japanese films, though it may not be mainstream. In Yosuke Fujita's "Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats" ("Fukufukuso no Fukuchan," 2014), popular female TV comedian Miyuki Oshima starred as a male house painter who becomes allergic to the opposite sex after ...

'Tampopo' has blown back to our screens

| Jan 4, 2017

'Tampopo' has blown back to our screens

Released in 1985, Juzo Itami's "Tampopo" was famously a flop in Japan, but a hit abroad, especially in the United States, where it became the second-highest-earning Japanese film ever. This "noodle Western" about a rough-hewn truck driver (Tsutomu Yamazaki) who helps a spunky widow ...

'14 That Night': Not quite abreast of teenage angst

/ Dec 28, 2016

'14 That Night': Not quite abreast of teenage angst

Japanese films about high schoolers are many; junior high schoolers, few. One reason is that producers can cast a film about 17 year olds with 27-year-old actors who have massive fan followings. The result: bigger box office than if they had used newcomers barely ...

A new wave of Japanese filmmakers matches the old

Dec 21, 2016

A new wave of Japanese filmmakers matches the old

Nearly two decades after the Japanese New Wave of the 1990s, the directors who led it, including Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Hirokazu Koreeda and Naomi Kawase, are still the local industry's most prominent faces abroad. But this year a new generation of filmmakers has finally started ...

Is Southeast Asia now Japan's competition?

Dec 14, 2016

Is Southeast Asia now Japan's competition?

Japan is an Asian entertainment powerhouse, is it not? This October's Japan Contents Showcase, which was held in Tokyo's Odaiba and Shibuya areas, included markets for film and TV (TIFFCOM), animation (TIAF) and music (TIMM), with 356 Japanese companies selling to 1,539 registered buyers, ...