Tokyo film festival ups its domestic fare

Oct 22, 2015

Tokyo film festival ups its domestic fare

The 28th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival, which began yesterday, is the biggest event on the Japanese film calendar. And like any such event, TIFF has had its share of critics over the years. One frequently heard complaint has been about the ...

Androids and the avant-garde: The best Japanese films screening at TIFF

Oct 21, 2015

Androids and the avant-garde: The best Japanese films screening at TIFF

The Tokyo International Film Festival offers a once-a-year chance to see Japanese movies, both new and classic, with English subtitles. Getting tickets, however, especially for the films in the Competition and Special Screenings sections, may not be easy. With that caveat, here are my ...

The future of comedy looks bleak in 'Galaxy Turnpike'

Oct 14, 2015

The future of comedy looks bleak in 'Galaxy Turnpike'

Comedy is hard. That’s what many comedians say, at least. Think of Charlie Chaplin filming hundreds of takes per immortal gag. But Koki Mitani — the famously workaholic comic playwright, scriptwriter, director and producer — makes it look easy, with a stupendous number of ...

Restored and rediscovered Kon Ichikawa films to screen at TIFF

| Oct 14, 2015

Restored and rediscovered Kon Ichikawa films to screen at TIFF

With the centennial of his birth this year, Promethean director Kon Ichikawa (1915-2008) is due for a revival. The upcoming Tokyo International Film Festival is accordingly screening three of his films in its new Japanese Cinema Classics section. One is “Enjo” (“Conflagration”), a 1958 ...

'Bakuman' depicts a life-or-death quest for manga success

Oct 7, 2015

'Bakuman' depicts a life-or-death quest for manga success

High school kids dream big dreams, and in Japan one of the biggest is to be a successful manga artist. The financial rewards for a hit manga published in a national magazine and sold in paperback editions are substantial. And the accompanying recognition and ...

Quadruple amputee yakuza raises hell in 'Daruma'

Sep 30, 2015

Quadruple amputee yakuza raises hell in 'Daruma'

Yakuza are not usually thought of as disabled, but more than a few have had their pinky fingers, or a section thereof, sliced off with a blade. Traditionally, this disabling is punishment for violating the gang code. In Hideo Sakaki’s yakuza shocker “Kiyamachi Daruma” ...

Japan through the lens of its film genres

Sep 16, 2015

Japan through the lens of its film genres

As a new reporter for a movie trade magazine, I quickly learned that every film has its genre — even ones that don’t play by genre rules. The industry slices genre-straddling films into discrete categories: action, comedy, sci-fi, etc. Call it crude, but this ...