Fukada's 'Sayonara' captures android intimacy

Nov 18, 2015

Fukada's 'Sayonara' captures android intimacy

‘We all die alone” is a thought voiced by the famous (Hunter S. Thompson and Orson Welles among them), but it seems to state the obvious. We also all have toothaches alone, do we not? In Koji Fukada’s “Sayonara” a terminally ill young woman ...

Ryosuke Hashiguchi's inspired drama about love and loss

Nov 11, 2015

Ryosuke Hashiguchi's inspired drama about love and loss

Watching recent Japanese films, I often have the feeling that their makers need an imagination injection, or simply need to get out more. It’s not just that few, especially at the commercial end of the spectrum, work from original scripts. Plenty of great movies ...

'Unbroken' finally gets a break in Japan

| Nov 4, 2015

'Unbroken' finally gets a break in Japan

For the better part of a year, “Unbroken” has been unwatchable in Japanese theaters. Angelina Jolie’s biopic of Olympic athlete and World War II POW Louis “Louie” Zamperini was originally set for release here by distributor Toho-Towa, following its world premiere in Australia in ...

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 ...